This was supposed to be the weekend LA ground to a halt. Route 405 (which I assume is significant – not being an Angelino) was closed for maintenance so the prospect of traffic mayhem was hyped to hell and back by CALTRANS and the media as “Carmageddon”. Meh. Whatev.

Jet Blue offered a 22 minute flight Burbank to Long Beach to airlift commuters over the chaos. What is interesting is that a number of Angelinos challenged the Jet Blue trip with their own alternate means.

A group of semi-pro riders called the wolfpack finished the trip in 1 hour 34 minutes while obeying all traffic rules.

Those who flew? 2h 54m!

As the Slate article mentions its not so much that the cyclists won that mattered:

But the moment of folly seemed to provide an aperture for new thinking. In the face of this fanciful idea (a traffic-busting flight!) it became possible to demonstrate that cycling, often taken as a non-serious or marginal or even annoying (to some drivers) form of transportation in the U.S., could seem eminently reasonable: Not only the cheapest form of transportation, not merely the one with the smallest carbon footprint, not only the one most beneficial to the health of its user, but the fastest.

That my friends is what may turn the tide. I don’t want people thinking that I advocate cycling as the only way to get around. No, just consider the alternatives to the car and make sure we build infrastructure that allows multi-modal transportation. That way our communities are not crippled when major infrastructure projects or disasters cut one of the routes.


Carmageddon #flightvsbike challenge: How a team of cyclists beat a Jet Blue flight from Burbank to Long Beach. – By Tom Vanderbilt – Slate Magazine.