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Carmageddon: Bike vs jet challenge in Los Angeles

Urban riders challenge scheduled flight as major highway closes

This weekend’s two-day closure of a major freeway in Los Angeles has been dubbed by locals, with predictable understatement, “Carmageddon.”

Interstate 405 is one of America’s busiest highways but it will be closed for 53 hours on July 16 and 17 while part of  the Mulholland Bridge above it is demolished.

With around half a million traffic movements on the road on a typical July weekend, the airline JetBlue spotted a nice little promotional and marketing opportunity and scheduled two return overthe405 flights for July 16 between Los Angeles' Long Beach Airport and the nearby Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, for just $4 each way.

As Bikebiz reports, spotting their own promotional opportunity, Wolfpack Hustle, a loose amalgamation of fixed gear, track and road bike riders who get together for a weekly Hustle Ride, have challenged JetBlue to a race to see if their riders could beat the flight, door-to-door.

With the gauntlet thrown down and news of the potential pedal vs jet power challenge going viral, JetBlue, perhaps reluctantly, accepted.

With a flight distance of around 30 miles, JetBlue have scheduled a flight-time of 45 minutes for their overthe405 flights, but added to that will be time spent on check-in and airport security procedures as well as the time is takes to get to and from the airports by car from pre-determined points.

"We're helping Angelenos get over the gridlock altogether and enjoy the Valley or the beach, their favourite soccer match or a food festival, without having to brave the traffic jams to get there," said Mark Rogers, JetBlue's L.A. marketing manager.

Wolfpack meanwhile have assembled their A Team and tweeted: “Mulling over routes. No big. Just deciding how scenic the ride should be,” with a degree of confidence that suggests they feel this one is in the bag.

Either way, the race should be a true, real world test of whether a bike journey can be quicker than a commercial flight across a major metropolis.

Twitter users can follow developments with the hashtags #raceajet
#flightvbike #carmageddon #OverThe405. Better still will be providing live tracking via the GPS of one of the riders, just folowing our link.

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Coleman | 13 years ago

Quality. I'd love to be part of that. Maybe I can fly to the States with my bike in the hold. Oh, hang on. By the time I've got to Heathrow and checked in and got through the security checks...

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