Biking to LAX with 3 kids and luggage
I started biking to and from LAX 5 years ago, and two years ago Kat joined me for the first time (sans kids). Today, we did our most ambitious ride yet — and transported 3 kids, 2 bags (one checked, one carry on size), a car seat, a car booster seat, and food for us on the plane. Here’s how we did it.
1/ The Setup. My bike is my Riese & Müller Load 75. I installed a Burley hitch on it when I got it, and today I used the Burley Utility Trailer with some bungee cords to tie everything down. On my rack I had an Ortlieb Class Roller Pannier and an Ortlieb Vario — I love this pannier, as it’s also a backpack. Kat’s bike is a RadPower RadMission, with the same Burley hitch. I attached a Burley Touring Trailer to her bike — it’s big enough for a carry on bag, but not a checked bag.
2/ The Route. I followed my normal route from my house, which is residential streets to Venice Bl, Venice Bl to La Cienega Place to the Ballona Creek bike path, and then Ballona Creek to Sawtelle. From there you zig-zag through Culver City residential streets until you get to Centinela/Sepulveda, and then you take the bike lane on Sepulveda to the airport (although the lane ends about 3 blocks before LAX, which really isn’t fun).
3/ The Parking. Terminal 6 has covered bike parking. It’s not great (and lately, it’s gotten super crowded, but they haven’t added more), but it’s functional. I locked everything up with a steel chain lock and covered it. And, of course, there are multiple AirTags on everything, just in case. And it’s free!
4/ The Time. Today it was about an hour, door-to-door. While driving to LAX may have been about 15 minutes faster, once you get to the horseshoe, all the time we would have saved would have been eaten up stuck in traffic inside the airport.
Biking in the bottom of the horseshoe at LAX
This video is part of my Medium post on biking with my family and our bags to LAX…
5/ The Experience. Just awesome. The kids don’t complain or get nauseous, and my 2 year old even took a nap in the bike. We get some fresh air and can move a bit before a flight. And about half the ride is along Ballona Creek — it’s not the Seine, but it’s a nice, car-free path with lots of plants, trees, and some (not super clean) water.
Is this super extreme? Maybe. But the more I bike in LA, especially with my family, the more I am convinced that the real extreme thing is people sitting in cars all day long, often taking longer than it would take to bike, and getting grumpy in the process. Biking is not only healthy for us physically and mentally, it’s a lot more sustainable for the world. And with just a few tweaks, biking to LAX could be even safer and more inviting. It needs bike lanes that go all the way to the airport on Sepulveda, not that stop just short — and the lanes need to be physically protected. Protected bike lanes should also be added on Lincoln. And the airport should reallocate the space 5 vehicle parking spaces take up, per terminal, and create really nice, secure bike parking, including plenty of space for cargo bikes.
Thinking about trying this with your family, or by yourself? If you need any tips or advice, hit me up. michael (at) streetsforall (dot) org.