Did you see the news? The weird thing is, you probably did. Los Angeles closed a freeway for a day and a half and it’s international news. It even earned a panic-inducing neologism to ensure it took its rightful place among the other northern summer blockbusters.
Well, if you didn’t follow it (and I swear, I didn’t… at least not intentionally), you’ll know that Carmageddon was a bust. The 405 freeway closed for about 36 hours and LA did not drop into the Pacific. Hold your tears. What did happen is a group a cyclists called the Wolfpack Hustlers beat a Jet Blue plane on a 40-mile haul from Burbank to Long Beach. Actually, they didn’t just beat the plane; they embarrassed it. They arrived an hour and 20 minutes before the plane. How’s that for showing off?
What started out as a joke on twitter turned into a pretty decent example of the superiority of bikes over jet planes for those local errands. Jet Blue was offering $4 seats to Angelenos to help them survive the dire immobility of an entire city. Afterall, if they were in the air, they wouldn’t sink in the calamitous ravines swallowing the city whole in a lash of flames until the freeway reopened. Alas, people managed to actually live a complete weekend without taking the freeway. And a bunch of them got on bikes to enjoy the break while they figuratively flipped a finger at silly notions of travel. That’s cool.
Apparently, other alternative means of transportation managed to best the jet plane as well, including a pedestrian who used public transit and a rollerblader.
The freeway is open again. But the riders (and walkers and skaters) will always know their victory. Vive le velo.