Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Start watching
Fine Cut

Fine Cut

Start watching
SoCal Update

SoCal Update

Start watching
a large damn with graffiti of a woman with a hammer on it, mountains in the background

Earth Focus Presents

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Professor T

Professor T (Belgium)

Start watching
Artbound

Artbound

Start watching
Emma

Emma

Start watching
Guilt

Guilt

Start watching
Line of Separation Key Art.

Line of Separation

Start watching
Us

Us

Start watching
The Latino Experience

The Latino Experience

Start watching
Key Art of "Summer of Rockets" featuring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens.

Summer of Rockets

Start watching
Death in Paradise Series 10

Death in Paradise

Start watching
millionaire still

KCET Must See Movies

Start watching
Independent Lens

Independent Lens

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Biking Is Good For the Local Economy. You're Welcome.

Support Provided By
The transition from the 55 to the 5 in Orange County
The transition from the 55 to the 5 in Orange County

I just read a piece on GOOD Magazine's blog, analyzing a University of Massachusetts study that shows riding your bike is good for the economy. It was an interesting piece, but, as it happens, I didn't need a study to tell me that. I lived it.

Let me explain.

This Fourth of July weekend, my girlfriend and I took a trip down to San Diego to visit her sister. Instead of driving, we decided to ride our bikes to Union Station, take the train, and then ride to her sister's house in Ocean Beach--about fifteen miles of manual transportation in total.

We woke up at 6:30 in the morning, on a Saturday, to beat the heat and catch an early train. We were out the door by 7:30, cruising down Eagle Rock Boulevard with the cool morning wind in our hair. That was about the only thing that went according to plan.

A few miles into our ride, my girlfriend caught an unexpected nail to the tire. Not good. It was before 8:00 AM on a holiday weekend, we were miles away from our house with a flat tire and weren't carrying any spare tubes. And the temperature was rising. Thankfully, in this era of smart phones, we found a bike shop that was open at 9:00 AM, three miles away. So we walked it, buses seemingly impossible to come by this particular morning.

With the temperature rising above ninety, carrying our luggage and wheeling our bicycles by hand, stops were frequent. We stopped for water, we stopped for breakfast, we stopped at a pharmacy just to get some air conditioning. Of course we eventually stopped at the bike shop to fix the flat. Moments later, after leaving the shop and riding, her tire was flat again. Bum tube. Another mile back to the bike shop.

Overall contribution to the local economy: around 70 bucks. Not including the train tickets.

But here's the thing: I'm not complaining. It was a great day.

First off, I not have a tan. And not just on my driver's forearm. Legs, face, the whole deal. I got to try Pat & Lorraine's unbelievable chile verde omelette. I mean UNBELIEVABLE. Better yet, I got plenty of exercise, so I didn't have to feel bad about eating a 3,000 calorie breakfast. And instead of traffic-induced road rage on I-5, I was drinking a Bloody Mary in the cafe car, watching the coastline fly by.

Yes, we got to San Diego about five hours later than anticipated. But that just meant we were able to take a beautiful, evening bike ride around the harbor.

So yeah, biking is good for the local economy--extracting a few more dollars out of me than I would have spent otherwise. But the day was a journey. It was unexpected. And it was a whole lot more fun than stewing in traffic.

la_vitamin_report-mini

The L.A. Vitamin Report is a column about quality of life issues by Matthew Fleisher. It is brought to KCET's SoCal Focus blog in partnership with Spot.Us, which receives support from the California Endowment.

The photo used on this post is by Flickr user mojoey. it was used under a Creative Commons License.

Support Provided By
Read More
Three people stand looking at the destroyed landscape after a mudflow, one woman has her hands on her head

What Happens After a Mudflow Destroys Your Home? The Hidden Costs of Rebuilding Post-Fire

Even after a wildfire is fully suppressed, the danger may not be over. Fires increase the likelihood of devastating mudflows after a rain. And unforeseen costs place financial burdens on those looking to rebuild.
Operations Section Chief Jon Wallace wearing a yellow jacket looks at and reached out to touch the protective foil wrapping around a big sequoia tree called General Sherman at Sequoia National Park, California

California Moves on Climate Change, but Rejects Aggressive Cuts to Greenhouse Emissions

Drought, wildfires, extreme heat: California lawmakers cast climate change as the culprit in an emerging series of public health threats, setting aside billions to help communities respond. But they stopped short of more aggressively reducing the state’s share of the greenhouse emissions warming the planet.
A wide shot of families walking along the concrete banks of the LA river with a bridge in the background

Near, Far, Wherever They Are, Angelenos Love the L.A. River

In a new, multilingual poll, 91% of L.A. residents supported river revitalization, while only 48% of those would support a tax increase to do it. Meanwhile, 76% of respondents prioritized ensuring that revitalization projects don’t displace locals.