Commuting, I

By cjohnson | November 30, 2005 1:25 am

So I’ve spoken here about my frustrations about the myths about Los Angeles, and the fact that so much is missed by many because they’re in their cars. In particular I’ve spoken about public transport (such as the fact that it exists but almost nobody uses it), and I’ve spoken about walking, and cycling. But it must seem all so abstract. So in a fit of frustration at not being able to bring you all along with me and just show you, I decided the day after I did this post that I’d take you with me on one of those mornings when I decide on the way to the bus stop that I’m not going to stop for the bus….. I’m going to go all the way to work on the bike. Yes….the cute little Brompton that everyone living in a city should have to displace their car activity. (I dream, I know.) (See for example here, and here.)

So anyway…I just thought we’d see what I see routinely as I go into work if I cycle all the way. It’s not all guns and violence, it’s not all highways and concrete, it’s not all empty scary sidewalks…etc. It is thriving….wonderful life! Get out of your car and see it too, some time.

journey to work
We pick up the journey on Hollywood Blvd, where we are passing one of my favourite hole-in-the-wall burrito stands. Dee-licious. (Featured near the end of a journey in an earlier post.) Immediately after is the Barnsdale Sculpture garden, and across the street from that is a nursery of some sort, with wonderful colourful murals on the walls.

journey to workjourney to work

journey to workAfter crossing Vermont Ave and carrying on, we pass the excellent Wacko store in Los Feliz (I had to quickly cross the road to get a better shot of the mural) which is just full of wonderful things. More on that later perhaps.

journey to workAcross the road from that is one of my favourite local food stands. The family in there seem to know me pretty well now, and it is always a pleasure to see them and get a house burrito. Mouth-wateringly delicious. With a cup of horchata, you’ve got an amazing meal for under $6.00…..

journey to workThen there’s the Vista, a block further along, just as we merge with Sunset Blvd. What can I say? One of the early classic movie palaces in this area (Hollywood/Los Feliz) with all the wonderful faux Egyptian stuff inside, which was all the rage. They’ve kept it running as a first run theatre, with one film showing for a while…you buy your ticket from the little man in the booth under the overhanging canopy and then it is torn in half and you go and find a seat. They took out every other row of seats some tiem recently and so you can really stretch your legs and enjoy the huge screen and wonderful sound that they have to offer. These guys appreciate film.

journey to workjourney to workJust after the Vista and just past the local plant nursery (Sunset Nurseries) I point out to you the Kitchen, on Fountain. Excellent food, I hear. Must try it sometime. (Haven’t yet.) Oh, and just a bit further along is that place I go to when my equations get too difficult and I want to get a new solution. Joking……

journey to workThis is the Silver Lake Conservatory of Music (we wandered into that neighbourhood -SilverLake- soon after Kitchen…still going along Sunset Blvd) which was apparently set up and is still supported by Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers (this is their ‘hood)…. This is a rather nice place. Note that we’re moving along the stretch of road which was closed down to accommodate the Sunset Junction street party I went to a while back. Wonderful.

journey to workAnd… oh yes, there are cafes and restaurants with seats spilling out onto the sidewalk. Excellent. This is not supposed to happen in LA, according to the myths. Well, here it is. And on your bike you can stop and get a cup of something and a bit of a think at a moment’s notice. And not worry about journey to workparking. Of course, there’s another hole-in-the-wall place. Mmmmmm Fish Tacos. (Actually, I’ve not tried this one yet…..)

Well, that’s enough to be getting on with. We’re not even ten minutes into the journey yet and we’ve seen so much and the morning is lovely. We’ll pick this up in a bit…..See you in a while.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Miscellany, Personal
  • Moshe

    Ah, good Mexican food…got addicted in Texas (and in Mexico), but now sadly I am in Vancouver, which has good version of every food on the planet, except for one…

    Everything else looks lovely, especially the sun. On behalf of the sunless people, we envy you.

  • Clifford

    Oh…. I forgot to mention…. the sunny skies are just movie backdrops. Large blue paintings. LA myths, you see!


  • Clifford


    Its probably time you came down and gave us a seminar sometime soon….tell us what you’ve been working on. We have that project to discuss too. So pick the worst time in the Winter coming and we should talk about setting up a visit. So you can examine those movie sets up close!


  • Moshe

    I knew that of course, but at this point those would do…

    Incidentally, I would recommend fish tacos, and in fact any food from the Yucatan penincula (where these are common) which is quite different from other kinds of Mexican food. If you find this, I would really envy you…

  • Clifford

    Oh….. I’m sorry to say that there is a wonderful stand with food from that region, called Yucas, in my ‘hood, which specializes. They are so good they get regulalry written up in food magazines.



  • Moshe

    Great Clifford, thanks, let’s discuss this over other channels, I’ll have my people contact your people (as soon as I find out what that actually means).

  • Moshe

    That’s fine Clifford, did I mention that sushi is considered fast food here in Vancouver?


  • Clifford

    Hey…we can hold our own in the sushi department too…. but I suspect that you guys would win that bout…..

    And yes… my people will call your people…… except that I don’t have people….probably neither do you. Email some time then…..


  • Amara

    When I moved to Germany, I sold my car and adapted easily to a bike-only and public transportation way of travel. I never missed the car, even though I spent 25 years driving in California before I moved. Now I’m in Southern Italy and it has proved harder to get along without a car (much poorer public transportation and volcanic hills), yet it’s worth to continue trying. I highly recommend a car-less lifestyle and am happy to see your post.

  • serial catowner

    I think the title you wanted was “I, Commutius”…

  • Henry Holland

    Thanks for this Clifford, I love the stretch of Sunset you were on. Even though I live by MacArthur Park, I’m over in that area a lot and you’ve made me really hungry!

    Bikes….nice in theory, but. With the way people drive in this city, I would never bike where there is major car traffic, I’ve seen too many people splayed on the road after near death experiences with cars.

    One of my major traffic pet peeves is what they did to Silver Lake Boulevard, from the bridge under Sunset to the resevoir. They reduced the number of car lanes and added a bike lane. What that’s done is cause gridlock going north in the evening and south in the morning and I rarely see people using the bike lanes.

  • Clifford

    Henry Holland….. coming by MacArthur Park in part II!


  • Clifford

    Henry Holland: -I forgot to say…. one of the wonderful thigns about LA, as you know, is that there is a huge amount of choice about how to get around, since there are many many streets. You can choose a cycle route that avoids some of the heavy traffic. It is not as bad as all that. Also, the number of cyclists I see cycling at night wearing all black and with no lights…. I wonder how many of those are the splayed ones? On the other hand, I am aware that drivers are too busy talking on their phones and eating breakfast to pay attention to the road….. so that is where a lot of the blame lies. But I still claim that there are ways of avoiding the worst, staying vigilant. Also, I mix cycling with the bus and/or the subway on most days, and tend to do the all-the-way-cycle only early in the monring or later at night. Traffic is not so bad then….But stuff happens, you know? If I got hit tomorrow, it would be terrible…I’m not immune. But I have a right to use the road as a cyclist just like the motorists do, and I will not give up that right.


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