Cyclists Win Carmegeddon Challenge

Daily Mail: It was a case of the hare and the tortoise - and of course it was the tortoise who reigned supreme.

A group of cyclists in Los Angeles decided to take on the ultimate challenge and race a JetBlue flight from Burbank to Long beach - the stretch of the closed Freeway 405 (right). The six bicyclists belonging to Wolfpack Hustle beat the jet plane by a long shot, coming in at one hour and 34 minutes. The plane had just taken off when the cyclists arrived at the finish line.

The 'Wolfpack' wanted to prove the power of the pedals and show both 'how feasible cycling in LA is' and 'how ridiculous it is to fly 40 miles', according to Joe Anthony, who was on the 12-minute flight. He told the LA Times: 'You can get anywhere you need to be in Los Angeles by bike. It's far easier than you can imagine.'

The cyclists and a blogger aboard the JetBlue flight left at 10:50am from the same intersection in North Hollywood. The blogger had to drive to the airport, arriving an hour before the 12:20pm flight, then catch a ride to the aquarium in Long Beach, the finish line.

The airline offered the $4 Flight 405 when the announcement was made that the freeway was closing for 53 hours over the weekend. The $4 to $5 flights sold out in three hours.

JetBlue's first 'Carmageddon Fly-Over' flight touched down to cheers from passengers, who said it was a memorable event. According to the Times, spirits were high on the flight, which took off at 12:39pm and touched down 12 minutes later. As the plane flew over the empty 405 Freeway, an announcer joked: 'I think I saw Paris Hilton walking her dog.'

Alfred Pierfax, 36, of West Palmdale said the flight gave him the chance to explore the city, calling it 'awesome'. He said: 'I got to see parts of L.A. I’ve never seen before.'

Though the mood was jovial, some passengers said the flight and freeway closure also made them think twice about L.A.'s notorious freeway system.

Gary Kavanagh also took on a race of his own - by taking public transportation. It took him two hours and two minutes. He said: 'It really became a fun way to illustrate the viability of transportation alternatives in L.A.'

The Freeway opened today again 16 hours before schedule.

Drivers honked their horns and waved from car windows as traffic started moving on Interstate 405 just after noon, for the first time since being shut down at midnight Friday to allow for the partial demolition of a bridge.


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