The Great California Cycleway That Never Was

Illustration for article titled The Great California Cycleway That Never Was

Bikes are a great way to get around, and before cars, they were even more crucial. They were so popular, in fact, that in the late 1890s, plans were put in place for a grand bicycle highway that would take riders from Pasadena to Los Angeles, but it was never able to make it to its destination.

An idea of Horace Dobbins with support from Ex-California governor Henry Harrison Markham, the California Cycleway was cleared for construction by the state in 1897. Painted dark green and lit with incandescent lights, a 1.3 mile strip of raised wooden bike-way was opened to the public in 1900, though the ultimate plan was that it reach much, much further.

Riders were charged 10 cents for a one-way trip, and 15 cents for a round-trip, but due to the bicycle's waning popularity, and the car's waxing one, the Cycleway was never able to make a profit. Eventually the portion that managed to be built was torn down to make way for the Pasadena Freeway, for cars.


Looking back, it seems impossible that something like that would actually succeed, but imagine if it had. A popular cycle-highway could have really turned modern-day high-density urban planning on its head, and we could have been in for a world where bike lanes weren't the exception, but rather the rule. No such luck though, so be sure to make way for the smog-belching metal behemoths. [Wikipedia via Motherboard]

Illustration for article titled The Great California Cycleway That Never Was

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Nothing to See Here!

Make it wider, and add lanes, then I'll go on it.

It looks fun, but I'm not going to cycle past people going the other way so closely, and I'm not going to overtake slow people with little room.

Does anyone have a similar picture to the second one where you can see the Pasadena Freeway in its place?