This weekend I'll be taking a quick trip with no more than a small backpack, and am thinking about heading to the airport by bicycle (starting from the Pasadena area). Has anyone else done this? Can you just approach via Century Blvd, head up the ramp to the departures loop, and lock the bike up somewhere in the parking garage? I'll be leaving from Terminal 4.
Unfortunately a Google search didn't turn up much info, just a couple pages from a few years ago without many specifics.
I have biked to LAX many times. I usually approach from the beach area: Ballona Creek bike path to the beach, then up Westchester Parkway to In-N-Out Burgers, and then Sepulveda to 96th Street (the continuation of Century Blvd on the lower level entrance). There is a bike rack right outside the arrival level of Terminal 1. Security doesn't seem to be an issue as there are plenty of bikes parked there every time I go; and of course the Airport Police stands right there by the vehicle entrace. It does appears that many other people do the same... bike to LAX for quick short trips without luggage.
I have no idea what kind of bicyclists you are but I will assume you are moderately intrepid... meaning you can confidently negotiate shared lane on less busy streets and have no problem riding on busy roads with marked bike lane. If you are starting from Pasadena, I suggest the following routing:
Take the Gold line from Old Town (you can bring your bike on Metro on weekends) to Downtown LA Union Station
From Union Station, take Broadway or Spring St to Venice
Take Venice (which has a bike lane) to Overland
Take Overland to Ballona Creek bike path
Take Ballona Creek bike path to Lincoln Blvd near Playa Vista
Take Lincoln (which has a bike lane, although be aware of steep grade) to Layola Blvd and then onto Westchester (which has a bike lane)
Eat something at In-N-Out for making it all the way there
Take Sepulveda to 96th lower level approach to Terminal 1 (don't go up the departure ramp)
Edit: Note that some mapping service will tell you to take Ballona Creek bike path from Downtown Culver City instead from Overland. Don't do that... the Ballona Creek bike path near Downtown Culver City is closed right now due to Expo line construction. Follow the route I highlighted for you and it will be open 100% all the way this weekend.
Sepulveda has no bike lane in Culver City and cars move a lot faster so safety becomes an issue. You also have to deal with the underpass to 405 freeway. But it is shorter distance wise and probably only suitable for people who are fearless about negotiating the same traffic lane as crazy drivers.
Lincoln has bike lane from the creek to Manchester. And Westchester Parkway has practically no traffic. It's a safer route for bicyclists of moderate ability.
When my alarm went off at 5:30 this morning I thought "this is stupid, no way am I cycling all the way to LAX at this ungodly hour." But after another half hour or so I reconsidered. Door-to-In'n'Out time was 1 hour 40 minutes. Not bad at all for a rush-hour trip from south Pasadena to LAX. Biking around the Arrivals loop (which I've only driven before, dozens of times) felt surreal and fun. Paid $50 for an Admirals Club day pass in order to take a shower - didn't really seem necessary, but since you can't always smell your own B.O. I figured it's best to play it safe. Bike is locked to a railing in the T4 garage; hopefully it'll still be there Monday.
Thanks again for the route bzcat, it worked out really well! A couple notes - the Ballona Creek trail at Overland is now CLOSED. There's a "bike detour" sign indicating a right turn on Ocean, but no follow-up signs to show you how to get back on the trail. Hate it when they do that. I ended up cutting over to Jefferson and taking that to Lincoln instead; it was a little scary at the 405 interchange, but otherwise not too bad. Would've preferred the creek though.
Venice between downtown and San Vicente was a little dicey in spots (no bike lane, narrow with a few patches of really bad pavement). Might try Pico or Olympic for that part on the way back. West of San Vicente (where the bike lane started) it was great. Worst part was having to stop at EVERY BLOODY TRAFFIC LIGHT on Broadway through downtown. I think they must time them to frustrate bicyclists. Since I didn't make use of the Gold Line anyway, maybe routing through Silverlake and coming down on Vermont would be a bit quicker.
Wow, that's really good time you made. 1:40 from Pasadena is just about the same time as driving
The temporary Overland entrance to Ballona Creek bike path is actually in the Faragut Elementary school right there behind the library. I forgot to mention that to you... you have to cut across the school yard. Maybe the gate was closed during school hours. Who knows. You should be alright going back that way from the bike path.
Yes, part of Venice is a little bit dicey but I think keeping it straight on Venice was better than switching to Pico and back. Pico does not have bike lane either so it's a toss up.
I'm catching the 4:50 pm AA flight to Vegas today... getting on my bike in about 30 minutes. Good day for a leisurely ride to LAX.
Wow! Can't believe that I only just found this thread. (Then again, I haven't been on FT much lately. )
rjw, I am very impressed with your time down to LAX! Then again, when I ride from Pasadena, California, out to the West Side,Mulholland Drive is a large part of the journey. I've thought about taking Mulholland west and then coming back on Venice, but I've never bothered to figure out how to negotiate downtown back to Pasadena.
The ride from Pasadena to LAX will become even easier next year when the Expo line bike path opens (tentatively around August 2011). There will be a continous bike lane or path basically from Downtown LA all the way to LAX.
Downtown to USC via Hoover (marked bike lane).
USC to Culver City via Expo line (sparated bike path)
Culvery City to Lincoln Blvd via Ballona Creek (separate bike path)
Lincoln Blvd to In-N-Out via Lincoln and Westchester (marked bike lane)
Great exercise, but with the $50 for the Admirals Club, did it really save much time over a shuttle? I know a taxi would have been more. The exercise value is priceless, of course.
Nope, taking a shuttle or even parking in Lot C would've been cheaper and a bit faster. I mostly wanted to see if it could be done. It'd be nice if there were a way to get a cheaper shower though; then I'd be inclined to do this more often.