The Great Race: The cyclist beat both car and bus; here's why (2024)

The Great Race: The cyclist beat both car and bus; here's why (1)

The Great Race: Is the car still king in LA?; Credit: KPCC (via Vimeo)

We sent out three staffers in rush hour traffic. The mission: To race from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica Pier via bike, bus and car. The winner: The bicyclist.

Jacob Margolis biked there in 65 minutes, while Sue Carpenter drove and parked in the span of 70 minutes. Leo Duran spent 94 minutes using public transportation.

The car may be king in Southern California, but there are plenty of challenges to getting around. As we found out, driving can actually slow you down.

Here's an overview of what went down.

The route Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to the ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier.

The racers

The time Morning rush hour, starting at 8:30 a.m. sharp.

The rules Use whatever tools and technology you have at your disposal. The final route you take is up to your discretion.

Dispatches from the racers Sue Carpenter by car Sue was driving what's technically a motorcycle: a Polaris Slingshot.

She drove out of Union Station with her helmet on and disregarded Waze's suggestions to take side streets. Instead, she made a beeline for the 10 freeway.

"My thought about Waze is if you're on the freeway and it's even moving at all — unless it's completely jammed stopped — it's better to be on the freeway," she says. "There's no really good shortcut around that."

She may also have had it the easiest because she just needed to drive, but then Sue also knew that she'd run into hurdles in Santa Monica.

"Does parking factor in? Yes it does, because actually I had to park mine."

Plus, her really cool car inadvertently slowed her down.

"I was driving this crazy vehicle and some guy wanted to stop and talk with me about it!"

Jacob Margolis on bike Jacob wore spandex (he races regularly on the weekends) and hopped aboard his Ritte Bosberg, a serious racing bike.

But the roads didn't let him go as fast as he'd like along the entire route.

"Trying to get out of downtown was really hard from Union Station to Venice Boulevard, which I took all the way down," says Jacob. "The bike lane was really good in downtown, and then it got really bad when I was transitioning from downtown to Venice Boulevard."

He says some of the lanes didn't connect with each other, if they existed at all. He got a little lost at times in downtown. At other points, cars were parked in the bike lane or potholes threatened to knock him off balance.

Jacob says he made a point to stop at all stoplights and signs, but he still pushed hard to win.

"The entire time, I was completely out of breath," he says. "I actually did strain my quad."

Leo Duran on mass transit Leo used his phone to check Google Maps, which told him the fastest route would be taking the R10 route on the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus.

That bus picked him up directly across the street from Union Station.

Apps also told him how many minutes away it was.

"In fact, that's why I said, 'We should start at 8:30!' I was checking my app and seeing that the bus would pick up at 8:36 a.m.," he says. "There are many different ways that technology was helping me to not so wait long at a bus stop or a train stop."

The bus's last stop dropped off in downtown Santa Monica at the corner of Broadway and 2nd street, just blocks away from the foot of the pier. After that, it was footrace to the finish.

Why the bike won Cyclist Jacob Margolis narrowly beat out car driver Sue Carpenter by 5 minutes.

"I would not have pushed as hard if this was a daily commute, if I had been carrying more gear than just recording equipment, if it was hot outside," he says. "I think Sue would have won if everything hadn't fallen into place."

Jacob clocked in at 65 minutes and Sue reached the finish line in 70 minutes.

Leo Duran lagged behind after spending 94 minutes en route.

"I was surprised [Leo] made it here that fast, actually," says Sue.

"It was pretty calm and casual for me," says Leo. "I was mostly posting to Facebook, Instagramming and answering some emails."

What could have made Leo's trip better?He has more details and tips for riding public trans here.

Jacob Margolis had such a tremendous lead on his bike that he stopped for coffee on the way!

"If it weren't for traffic, I think Sue would have won," he says.

Here's Jacob's route, including the time he spent en route pedaling (minus the time he was stopped at lights).

The Great Race: The cyclist beat both car and bus; here's why (2024)


How long is 8 minutes by car biking? ›

If the driver of the car found a free flowing freeway, doing 60 mph, in 8 minutes he would cover 8 miles. The bike rider would do 15 mph (not pedaling hard) and in 8 minutes would go 15 mph * (8min/60min/hr) = 2 miles.

How fast was Lance Armstrong? ›

Fastest Tour de France: 41.7 kph

Unsurprisingly, the fastest ever race, overall, came in the Armstrong years. Lance rode 3592.5 km in 86 hours 15 minutes 02 seconds - at an average speed of 41.7 kph (25.9 mph). He had some support.

How to overtake a cyclist on a country road? ›

give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders and horse drawn vehicles at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car (see Rules 211 to 215). As a guide: leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.

How many miles is a 1 hour bike ride? ›

So anywhere from 8 miles to 14 miles in one hour for the average cyclist on an average bike. A fit rider on a road bike can do 18 or more miles in an hour if they are not interrupted very often.

Can you bike 10 miles in 30 minutes? ›

For example, if you were to aim to cycle 10 miles in 30 minutes, you would require an average speed of 20 mph (32.19 kph). That sort of speed is manageable under the right conditions, especially if you're riding on a flat or with a group of other cyclists.

Have cyclists overtake cars in Paris? ›

More than twice as many journeys are made by bicycle than by car, namely 11.2 percent. Car use is at 4.3 percent. David Belliard, the deputy mayor responsible for transport, said on X: "Who could have predicted ten years ago that bicycles would overtake cars?

How do cyclists cross intersection? ›

Approach the intersection staying on the right. Stop and cross as a pedestrian in the crosswalk, or make a 90-degree left turn and proceed as if you were coming from the right. If there is a signal light, wait for the green light or WALK signal before crossing.

How long would it take to bike a 10 minute drive? ›

How long is a 10 minute drive on a bike? 30 km/h × 10 mins = 5 km . time = 5 km/15 km/h = 15 mins .

How long of a walk is a 10 minute car ride? ›

These shorter journeys are a great opportunity to walk more and boost your health and wellbeing. For example, one ten minute car journey could equate to a 20 minute walk and could burn up to 100 calories. Here are some examples of shorter, regular journeys that you could try walking instead of driving.

How far can you cycle in 15 minutes? ›

Cycling is a simple way to stay fit and healthy at any age, or to shed those extra winter pounds. At a relaxed pace you can bike 3.5 km in just 15 minutes and burn off some calories.

How many miles is 30 minutes biking? ›

However, as a rough estimate, a moderately fit person can cover around 6 to 12 miles (9.7 to 19.3 kilometers) in 30 minutes on a flat terrain with a standard road or hybrid bike. It's important to note that this is just a general range, and individual results may vary.


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