Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From the El Rey to SoDo

Out of necessity, I've finally begun to take my hefty, darling rust-bucket of a bicycle on both Metro Rail and on a Metro bus. I don't think I secured my bicycle properly to the Metro 20's rack last night, but I'll consider it a success since it survived the trip from Wilshire & Western to the El Rey Theater.

A couple of friends had come up to LA to see Jay Brannan perform at the El Rey and another friend came up via Amtrak to meet them after the show. I couldn't pass up the chance to hang out with my Orange County pals, especially since one of them took a train to get to LA instead of driving. We met at the Wilshire and Western, the last stop for the Metro Purple Line (which I feel doesn't get mentioned nearly as often as it should considering it goes to K-town where there are still many things to do after 7PM). While walking down Wilshire and waiting for the Metro 20, my friend and I marveled at the fact that we were wandering around Los Angeles via public transit, something that had never even crossed our minds as a possibility less than a year ago.

We waited at the (recently opened?) Doughboys Lite next to the theater and caught portions of songs faintly through the doors. We were tempted to ask the security guards to let us in just for the last portion of the concert, but opted instead to sit and write until our other friends came out. (Yes, I know, we are very exciting people.)

When the concert ended, I spent a few minutes catching up with my friends and then we parted ways, them in a car headed back to Irvine, and me on my bicycle to the bus stop. I waited for the Metro 20 for about ten or fifteen minutes, only to see it whiz right by all of us at the stop, already crammed with people, its bike rack completely occupied. I considered waiting for the next bus for about five minutes before deciding to just ride my bike rather than wait for the next one.

During the thirty or so minutes that it took to get home, no buses passed me. I expected at least a Rapid to go by, or possibly even another 20, but neither did. The ride down Wilshire was cool and peaceful and mostly downhill, for which I was thankful. I had to climb a few hills down Hoover, but it wasn't too bad. I didn't realize that my hip flexors were aching until I got to Pico, at which point I saw the sweet vision of the 10 freeway in the distance. I've come to love the 10 freeway coming into sight and letting me know that I am almost home.

Upon getting home, I looked up the distance from my apartment to the El Rey and realized that "far" wasn't as far as I thought: 6.5 miles is hardly spectacularly long on a bicycle. I'm sure the ride would have been even easier if I a road bike. Every time I ride a little bit farther, or take a new, unfamiliar bus route, my confidence in my ability to get around LA without a car increases.

I doubt I would have ventured out were it not for the fact that I own an EZ Pass, which eliminated any concerns about fumbling with cash or change for fare. Now that I'm over my bike-on-transit phobia, I imagine that I'll be using the pass even more often. As long as the buses have space for me.

Metro 20 (opens a PDF timetable) travels between 7th & Main in Downtown and Pico & Main in Santa Monica via Wilshire.


  1. narinda, your blog is so helpful and inspiring!