I am a native Angeleno and I love my city.

Cycling is in my blood. One of my first memories on a bicycle was chasing my older brothers as we rode laps on our bmx bikes around the cul-de-sac. As I grew up, I branched out into mountain biking, then road riding, and most recently, cyclocross. If it has two wheels, I want to ride it.

I’ll never get tired of exploring Los Angeles on the seat of my bicycle. I share my adventures on my blog, The Engaged Observer, where I write mostly about cycling, Los Angeles and the people, places and things I encounter. To that end, I find on a bike that I am much more aware of the lives being lived all around me, whether it’s taking in the smells of fresh food being cooked at the restaurant across the street or making eye contact with the people walking along the sidewalk. A car removes you from this direct connection to the place you’re in.

Any conversation about Los Angeles inevitably leads to talk of traffic. L.A. is being strangled by decades of mismanagement and poor urban planning. We are now paying the price with our overdependance on the private automobile as the primary transportation option. This is hopefully changing, and the bicycle has a role to play in that transition away from cars.

When I first saw the STRiDA folding bike in New York, it was as if a light bulb went off in my head. Here was a bike that could help people get out of their cars. Because it is so effortless to bring it on the train or bus, it can allow people to commute with greater convenience that riding alone, or taking mass transit alone. As the public transportation network continues to be built out in L.A., it will only become easier and easier to live carfree with a STRiDA.