Thanks, Carmageddon: Cyclists Best Airplane in Race Across L.A.

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Photo: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

When the State of Calif. closed down a 10-mile section of the 405 freeway last week for repairs, the people of Los Angeles, well, they freaked out. How would they get to the beach for the weekend? What would they do if they weren’t stuck in traffic for hours each day? The media blitz — which dubbed the incident “carmageddon” — was as frantic as the highway was deserted.

But cyclists seemed to love the desolation, as one fantastic photo in the New York Times indicated, and one group of riders even took the opportunity to put the chaos (or lack of it, on it the roadway at least) to a scientific test.

In a brilliant marketing effort that was also a terrible environmental decision, Jet Blue offered $4 plane tickets from L.A. to Burbank so that weekend warriors could still get out of Dodge. But one group of cyclists, “challenged an airplane to a race to see which vehicle actually offers the better deal,” according to environmental news site TreeHugger (which also a Discovery company).

TreeHugger’s Stephen Messenger writes:

In response to one airline’s offer of ridiculously low fares to fly over LA this weekend, a group of cyclists challenged an airplane to a race to see which vehicle actually offers the better deal. And, perhaps ironically, the best adjective to describe the outcome is to say the zero-emissions travelers handily ‘smoked’ their polluting competition. The challengers in the unique race were six bicyclists from the cycling organization Wolfpack Hustle going head to head with a blogger aboard a JetBlue flight to see who could make it from Burbank to Long Beach the quickest. Only somewhat surprisingly, the spry pedal-powered transport beat out the airplane, with more than enough time to spare. The team of cyclists managed to finish the 40 mile journey in just over an hour and a half.

Cyclists:1. Airplane:0. Touché, Wolfpack Hustle.

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