In countless public hearings about bike projects across the country people stand up and testify that “it is impossible to ride a bike when you have kids and a family.” I’ve been living an “impossible” dream the past few years, I guess. Let’s go one step further. Riding your kid up a mountain to a car-oriented major league baseball stadium: is it possible? What is it like when you do it?
On Sunday, April 19, 2015, I saddled up with my kid and rode my dutch bakfiets cargo bike up to Chavez Ravine to watch the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 7 to 0.
The ride was pretty mellow. We walked through the ball park turnstiles just as the national anthem was playing, grabbed some Dodger dogs and a bag of peanuts, and made our way to our seats.
The ride down the hill after the game was great, though it always gets scary in that one or two block gap between congested stadium traffic and surrounding streets like North Broadway and Sunset Boulevard. On those larger surrounding streets drivers do all sorts of dangerous and stupid things after a game. This wasn’t our first bike trip to a ball game so we knew what to look out for, but it is cause for a little extra anxiety all the same.
The Dodgers have really done a great job of installing quality bike parking all around the stadium. Perhaps they haven’t installed enough! We actually saw a few of their small racks nearly full. I took a picture of a young couple from DTLA after the game unlocking and getting ready to ride home – the novelty of other people riding bikes to the Dodger game has not yet worn off.
I suffered through many a late evening traffic crawl out of the parking lot at Dodger Stadium as a young boy with my dad and brothers. The place still has an other-worldly feel to me when I ride up to it on a bike.
On a previous trip up the mountain, I rode my daughter in a Nihola-brand cargo tricycle. Tricycles and hills aren’t generally a good combination. Even though the Nihola is an excellent tricycle, it was still a slog – but a bearable slog. My bakfiets handled itself quite nicely, though my roller brakes are definitely due for a servicing soon and I should have checked my tire pressure – I found out later I was riding on half-inflated tires.
There are all sorts of cultural barriers that stand between most of us and a life riding a cargo bike around with our kids. Let this video be an inspiration to all you moms and dads out there wondering if you can make it two miles to your kids school in the morning. Generally, the answer is: yes!
I arrived at the upper deck ticket office panting a bit, but the ride was pleasant. All my school run commuting from LA up to Pasadena has got my hill climbing and traffic awareness skills up.
As for the way the Dodgers treated us as visitors to their ball park this was by far the BEST experience I’ve ever had at the stadium, EVER, after riding a bike to it. The bike parking is no longer beside the smoking sections. Parking lot staff are not hostile and everything else just feels relaxing and fun (like baseball games should!). It would be nice if the Dodgers picked one or two entrance routes and designated them as more bicycle or pedestrian friendly to ease up on the frayed nerves of walking and bike riding fans. This might help the local residents in the area around the stadium mellow out about game day traffic as they might get a nicer walking and bike riding experience out of it too in the off season.
So, is it possible to ride a kid in a cargo bike to Dodger Stadium? Yup, it sure is. It is actually a fun and healthy way to get to the stadium and it leaves you more money for Dodger dogs!
Want to know what route we took to get to the game? Riding from Cypress Park (where our shop is located) it took us about 30 minutes to get to the top of Dodger Stadium. Here is the path we took: