Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bike to Work, Suburban L.A. Version

Between the time I left home this morning at 7:15 on my new bicycle and when I left the Campus Center at the end of my ride share event, the temperature must have gone up about 35 degrees. It is now bloody hot and I dread the trip home because there isn't a lot of shade along the way.

Pierce College recorded the hottest temperature ever recorded in Los Angeles County in July 2006: 119 degrees. The people who held a horse show here that day were very unhappy, even with a covered arena. According to Google, it is 95 degrees here right now. The thermometer in the shade outside my office says it is 100 degrees--and it feels like it. There's a big difference in the temperature from one part of the campus to another, and where the weather station is tends to be cooler than over here on the Farm. So it may well have been more than 119 degrees on the day of that record heat.

The bike ride took maybe 10 minutes, but I have no confidence when crossing streets, so total trip time was closer to 20 minutes because, for me, it was "bike and walk to work day." I stopped at the REI pit-stop near the Orange Line stop along Winnetka Avenue. I guess I expected to find it right near where passengers get on and off the bus, but that was rather silly of me. Adam from REI was situated in the parking lot, which meant leaving the bike path and he was under a black canopy. A more brightly colored one would have been a better idea. When I got there, he was being harassed by a Metro security cop. You'd think Metro would let security know what was going on, but I suspect it was just someone who didn't pay attention to e-mail or print about Bike to Work Week. Metro certainly did a lot to publicize it.

I passed a number of riders going in both directions along the bike path, which runs for most of the length of the Orange Line from North Hollywood to Woodland Hills. My stretch is only about a mile long, from about 50 yards south of our house to maybe 200 yards from the cross street at the Mason entrance of Pierce to the Plant Facilities offices. That last 200 yards is scary: no bike lane and lots of construction vehicles, plus students who don't care about speed limit signs when they drive.

Adam gave me a bunch of puncture repair kits, so I was able to add them to the goodie bags we made up to give away. The bags are Pierce logo book bags with draw string shoulder straps. You don't want to put anything in that's too heavy, but I got one a couple of months ago and I find it very useful for carrying my chaps, gloves, and hard hat when I walk Ace between our barn and Gayle's training barn.

The bags aren't very expensive, but we added granola bars, a 32 ounce water bottle, a Metro map of bike routes throughout L.A., and the patch kits. We prepared 20 of them, but someone took two of them from the box last night. I didn't have a place to lock them up, but I was still disappointed that my co-workers would do that. The box was covered and it was with the rest of my maps, schedules, and brochures to give out.

Only about two dozen people stopped by, of whom a total of five (including me) qualified for the Bike to Work stuff, so there was plenty in the way of snacks and bags left over. I had ordered danish, croissants, juice, green tea and water for 50 people. A little over-reaching, I guess. I think I would have been better off if I had done this in the faculty-staff resource center. I could have gotten on the phone to remind people about stopping by to pick up schedules and maps. I now have a list of things I know to do for next year--including remembering to bring scissors, tape, table clothes and rubber bands (for repacking.) I'd also like to have some music to listen to.

It will be better attended next time.

1 comment:

Grey Horse Matters said...

This all sounds like a great idea, except for the heat. It's a shame that people think they have to steal something, when they could have just as easily gotten it for the asking. I'm glad you had a good day all in all, it was a nice thing to do.