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The path of least resistance

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June 16, 2010|Dan Evans

About a year ago, I wrote in this space about the wonders and occasional trials of cycling to work. I'm proud to say I'm still doing it, more frequently now that the air is warm and the sun sticks around later.

The six miles between my home in Burbank and the Burbank Leader world headquarters in Glendale is flat and downright pleasant. The exercise puts me in a better mood once I get to work — something my reporters like — and allows me to blow off steam before getting home — something my wife loves.

The week before last, I biked to work every day. And, because I couldn't get enough, I cycled to Chavez Ravine that Sunday for a day game. I'm pleased to say drivers in Burbank and Glendale along my route, both on weekdays and weekends, were largely respectful and courteous.

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The good residents of Silver Lake, as I discovered on my way to Dodger Stadium, are less generous. The vast majority of honks and dirty looks were received in that most hipster of enclaves. Perhaps anything outside of a Vespa or bio-diesel Benz confuses the locals.

As I said, the route I took to work is easier. The people are nicer, and the hills are far less steep. (An elderly woman overtook me, walking, on Silver Lake Boulevard. Maybe that's why they were honking.)

It was inspired, in part, by Colin Bogart, a local force behind two-wheeled, self-propelled transportation. Bogart, who is with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, suggested taking more residential streets, even if it makes the ride a bit longer.

This is good advice, as Victory and San Fernando boulevards are not only some of the ugliest ribbons of asphalt in our fair area, but are also usually clogged with belching semis, lumbering delivery vehicles and distracted commuters.

I live near the Burbank Costco, and our offices are in downtown Glendale. I can't really avoid Victory, but I generally take it only as far as Olive Avenue. I head toward Burbank Water & Power, turning on Lake Street. Lake is a not exactly a quiet street, but it's far more sedate than Victory. As a plus, I can take it all the way to Sonora Avenue.

I make a left on Sonora, going under the Golden State (5) Freeway, and make a right on Flower Street. I follow Flower past the DreamWorks building and toward the railroad tracks. I cross the tracks at San Fernando, picking up Pelanconi Avenue, and begin the residential portion of the ride.

I follow Pelanconi to Burchett Street, making a right. I take Burchett to Concord Street, where I make another right, and nearly immediately make a left onto Patterson Avenue. I follow Patterson to just past Fremont Park, a tunnel under the Ventura (134) Freeway connects Patterson to Kenilworth Avenue.

I follow Kenilworth south into downtown Glendale, making a left on Wilson Avenue, and finally a right onto Orange Street. The good people of the taller of the two Orange lots on that block have provided a bike lock-up area, which I use.

I take off my helmet, unplug my headphones, and use the back entrance (past the FedEx Kinkos) to get into work.

I change into my work clothes, freshen up, and transform from commuter to editor. The whole process takes a bit more than a half-hour, or about twice the time it would take to drive.

Send me a note about your biking route. I'd love to hear it.

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