Is going car-less in Los Angeles a sign of rebellion? I am not sure. But it is definitely disruptive to some people. Nearly every time I ride my bike or scooter to a social event, be it drinks at a bar or a party in Hollywood, my friends look on with concern and often ask if I want a ride home. At first I didn't care. Also, my mother and friends often offer to let me borrow their cars when they leave town for long periods. (To be fair, I have said "yes" a few times, but often the car just sits in front of my apartment unused.) The frequency and consistency of such offers has me wondering if my car-less status disrupts the status quo of happily existing in the Los Angeles area.*
I am sure that some of these generous gestures stem from concern from my friends and family about the danger of riding a bicycle in the single largest car-culture in the country. (Just to settle this right away, I was injured repeatedly during my first year of riding in Los Angeles. One accident involving a metro rapid bus, and most other mishaps had to do with clip-less pedal problems or flat-out stupidity on my part.) And I also gather that many people don't want to "put me out" and "force me to ride," as though it were a burden for me to exercise to get around town. Yes, riding a bike is exercise, and sometimes it is even dirty. I try to take care of this minor problem by carrying an extra clean shirt or by cleaning up before officially engaging in social activities.
I don't need to spend an entire post telling you, my currently non-existent readers, why I love living car-less in Los Angeles. Nor do I feel compelled to discuss the reasons why I think more people should ride bikes in this town. That isn't my point, rather, I just wanted to officially say "hello."
*Full disclosure: I was a car owner in Southern California for 8 years. Six of those years were spent living in the LA area.