From: Courtney Hayden, Sierra Club Green Home, More from this Affiliate
Published April 5, 2012 09:03 AM

Classes Make Bicycling in Los Angeles Easier

It is 9 am and traffic is crawling on the 101 freeway...and on the 405, and on the 118. Sunshine pours through the windshield, turning your mind to thoughts of walking through the Santa Monica Mountains and biking down to the beach. Minutes are ticking by, marked only by the occasional horn honking loudly behind you. As for the gas you put in the car earlier? It is working its way towards "E."


There is a way to reduce your fossil fuels consumption and make daily commutes enjoyable: bicycling. And a new organization is here to help make biking in Los Angeles easier.

If you are new to biking or if the thought of peddling down crowded LA streets intimidates you, Sustainable Streets offers free safety courses to help ease your transition into biking. Courses are available in Burbank, West Hollywood, and along the beach in Santa Monica. Classes start with four hours in the classroom, followed by one hour on a simulated road, and then almost five hours of actual street riding. Simulated road, designed by city engineers and painted by city painting crews, give apprehensive riders an opportunity to practice real-word riding without fear.

Sustainable Streets' goal is to build knowledge and confidence in biking to reduce miles spent behind the wheel. Why is it important? Bicycling has the potential to reduce traffic congestion, lower noise levels, and reduce airborne pollutants. Replacing driving to work or quick trips to the grocery store with bicycling is a fun way to live a healthy and environmentally-sustainable lifestyle.

Ron Durgan, President of Sustainable Streets, has dedicated countless hours to creating a program which will change the assumption that living in Los Angeles requires a car. Don't think it is possible? Ron hasn't owned a car in 16 years. He instead uses a combination of zip cars, public transit, and his bicycle to transverse Los Angeles. During the workweek his commute starts in Beverly Hills and ends in Santa Monica. He makes the trip with his bike and a little help from the subway.

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