From CicLAvia to a new comprehensive bike plan, Los Angeles has been imagining new ways to get around the city on two wheels. But perhaps nothing today matches the ambition behind a Pasadena millionaire’s turn-of-the-20th-century scheme: a bicycle freeway connecting the Crown City to Los Angeles.
Southern California was then in the grip of a bicycling craze. A dirt bicycle path ran from Santa Monica to Los Angeles, and clubs from Boyle Heights and Riverside regularly raced on dusty roads. Bicycling, it seemed, might be the future of local transportation. But the rutted roads, rugged terrain, and more than 400 feet of elevation change separating Pasadena and Los Angeles presented challenges to a cyclist traveling between the two cities.