by tillieandcoco

Hi Coco! Thanks for holding the blog fort in my absence. As you know I have been having a whale of a time in California, which was 1 billion times even more awesome than I’d expected. Of course I had a keen eye on the cycling scene on the West Coast (despite getting around in a very uncool hire car, tsk), and you will be pleased to hear that even in a country built for the automobile, cyclists are a fixture on the roads, and a stylish one at that!

This should have been a photo of a cool guy with an Electra. Instead it’s a sign about Boats. But it is in LA OK?

In Los Angeles cyclists don’t have a great deal of designated space, but they do have cycle-friendly flat roads and ELECTRAS! After three years living in socially reserved London I was really taken aback by how genuinely friendly people were. It was a whole new world of street etiquette. I was walking from Abbot Kinney Boulevard (cool street names much?) back to Marissa’s house, and a very cool guy walking a blue Electra on the pavement smiled at me and said hello! I took a hit from the shyness stick at that point, unfortunately. I wish I’d asked him for a photo! The Sartorialist makes it look so easy.

Lombard Street, San Francisco. The “crookedest” (and best!) street in the world (allegedly)

We drove from LA to San Francisco on Highway One, stopping in four different cities on the way. Santa Barbara warrants particular mention as an urban nerd’s paradise! Its main street has beautiful wide footpaths, comfortable street furniture (with pot plants) and of course plenty of two-wheeled Americana. It was so nice to visit places where cycling is just a normal way to get around.

Comfortable street furniture with pot plants, Santa Barbara

You would expect a city famous for its hills to have no cyclists at all, but actually there were many people cycling in San Francisco. Of course the areas like Russian Hill where you have to park at 90º (and it still feels like the car will roll down the hill) are unsurprisingly cycle-free, in the flatter areas of town it’s a viable option. I saw this lovely bike parked outside the Museum of Modern Art. Love the knitted pole.

Fab orange bicycle, San Francisco