Los Angeles is delightful under rain; the low sky, the even light, and scents of happy vegetation combine nicely into an calming massage of the senses. I ambled down Sixth Street to the nearby park (home of the famous Tar Pits and the art museum), and while waiting to cross the street, I saw an elegant fellow riding through the tail end of rush hour on a Brompton folding bicycle.
Rather than sporting the technical gear US "avid cyclists" seem enamored of, the gentleman was wearing a tailored grey overcoat, dress slacks, and a tie, at the least. I couldn't see what else he had on under the coat. He was in the upper reaches of middle-age, and pedaled serenely along through the rain. He had the same bag Gina and I use on our Bromptons, the one that clips on the front (which was one of the factors that decided me to get a Brompton for myself). The light changed, and he rode on past the rows of car commuters waiting impatiently behind each other, heading apparently to one of the many office towers along Wilshire a block south.
I don't know whether he lives in the neighborhood or was just passing through, but if he is a resident, that makes at least four Bromptons besides our own in the Miracle Mile. Since it's an unglamourous and highly utilitarian, not to mention pricey, bicycle, possession of one indicates, I suspect, a commitment to practical pedaling.
I cut through the park to Wilshire myself, where I saw a quite different rider, a young woman on a hybrid with basket in front, riding, for some reason, in half-shorts and a light jersey, though the weather was cold as well as wet. She seemed as content with her lot as the Bromptonist, and off she went towards Beverly Hills.
There were plenty of bikes parked on the sidewalk racks as usual, and lounging on the racks in front of city buses.
Perhaps LA's residents are becoming a little more grown-up in their approach to bicycling for transport, and realize that a little water from the sky is pretty easy to handle…and can make for a delightful ride.