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11/25/2013: "Let's Make It "Green Friday" Instead!"
Sick of being battered by "Black Friday" ads? Let's go viral with a "Green friday" movement!

What's Green Friday?


For Black Friday, you crawl into your car and struggle through traffic jams to a mall. There, after inching your way through a swarm of nervous metal to a parking slot, you bully through angry crowds to buy cheap crap at corporate stores. Next, the stores funnel most of your money off to parasitic shareholders, usually far from your community. Those then sit on your money.

But for Green Friday, you hop on your bicycle and pedal to a nearby shopping street. You lock it up and stroll among your neighbors to peruse the offerings of local shops who have learned over the years that not everybody wants exactly the same things nationwide. Many of them offer carefully-crafted products made in small quantities, which means that corporate stores, who depend on volume, which requires a standardization of tastes, will never touch them. The money you spend there stays almost entirely within your local economy, as the people whose customer you are will be your neighbors. You have jammed no traffic, fouled no lungs, and frayed no nerves—yours, or anybody else's.

Even many suburbs, especially if they are old streetcar suburbs, have such neighborhood shopping streets.

Bicycle Fixation lives in Los Angeles, the original Ground Zero of Carmageddon, a place once famously characterized as "Seventy Suburbs in Search of a City." Yet even here we have many charming, happy little shopping streets that are easy to pedal to from two or three miles around. We've made a list—far from inclusive—for our fellow Angelenos…and we suggest that you do the same for your own town. Let people know that they don't have to join the destructive frenzy of "Black Friday," and that there's a greener way to shop for winter gifts just a few pedal strokes away....

Here's our list for LA (covering the area south of Mulholland only):

Larchmont Village
A few blocks west of Western Avenue, between Beverly and First. All kinds of boutiques and eateries, including a very good bookstore, a hat store, and an excellent wine shop.
Bike-friendly features: a fair number of sidewalk bike racks.

Atwater Village
Glendale Boulevard just east of the Los Angeles River. Boutiques and eateries.
Bike-friendly features: bike lanes, sidewalk bike racks.

Melrose Avenue
A long stretch of shops of all sorts, including some edgy boutiques, plus decent places to eat.
Bike-friendly features: sidewalk bike racks.

Santa Monica's Main Street
A wealth of small local shops and eateries, often quirky, always good.
Bike-friendly features: sidkewalk racks, bike corrals, bikelanes, bike-friendly street. Probably the most bike-friendly few blocks in LA County.

Redondo Beach's Highland Avenue
Shops and restaurants near the beach.
Bike-friendly features: some bike racks, universal acceptance of cycling.

Downtown Culver City
Lots of eateries and a number of boutiques. Great atmosphere.
Bike-friendly features: lots of bike racks, close to Venice Boulevard bike lanes and Ballona Creek bike path.

Abbot Kinney in Venice
Shops and galleries ranging from countercultural to hoity-toity, and lots of places to eat, all local and individual.
Bike-friendly features: sharrows, lots of racks, close to Venice Boulevard and Mian Street bike lanes. Swarms with bikes most days.

San Vicente in Brentwood
From the VA to Bundy. upscale boutiques, lots of eateries.
Bike-friendly features: sidewalk bike racks, close to San Vicente bike lanes.

Montana Avenue in Santa Monica
Upscale boutiques, midscale eateries, good variety.
Bike-friendly features: bike racks, bike lanes.

Los Feliz Village in East Hollywood
Vermont Avenue between Hollywood and Franklin. Counterculture shops and mainstream boutiques, eateries from very old-school to independent Italian, and Indian. One of LA's best bookstores, Skylight, is here.
Bike-friendly features: bike racks.

Sunset Boulevard through Silver Lake
Every possible variety of boutique and eatery.
Bike-friendly features: sidewalk bike racks, one bike corral, bike lanes; lots of cyclists all the time.

Sunset Boulevard through Echo Park
Used book store, Latino-oriented shipping, quirky little shops, lots of good eating.
Bike-friendly features: sidewalk bike racks, bike lanes.

Leimert Park Village
"The Leimert Park Village, bounded by Crenshaw Boulevard, 43rd Street, Leimert Boulevard and Vernon Avenue, is a pedestrian-oriented shopping core offering goods and services with an Afro-centric theme. A haven for artists, poets and musicians, the Leimert Park Village stands as a tribute to the success of businesses owned and operated by African Americans."
Bike-Friendly features: sidewalk bike racks.

Spring Street downtown
More eateries than shops, but a great place to browse. Many shops are inside the classic Art Deco skyscrapers.
Bike-friendly features: sidewalk bike racks, bike lane.

Broadway downtown (bargains)
Hundreds of shops, most offering jewelry or discount electronics. It helps to speak Spanish.
Bike-friendly features: sidewalk bike racks.

Little Ethiopia on Fairfax Avenue
Almost everything, eateries and shops alike, focusses on Ethiopian goods and grub.
Bike-friendly features: sidewalk bike racks.

South Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills
Lots of boutiques and a couple of jewelry shops. A number of good places to eat. This is the "normal" shopping section of Beverly Hills; you won't need an offshore account to shop here.
Bike-friendly features: none; it's Beverly Hills.

Make your own list, check it twice, post it online, and help make "Black Friday" green!

…And don't worry about how to carry your purchases home. At least not if you have a basket, or a front rack (front racks can carry very large loads), a rear rack and panniers for smaller stuff, or just a large knapsack or messenger bag. If you don't have any of these things, then…make your first purchase a gift to yourself, and get some!

You don't need a cargo bike or a trailer to shop on two wheels. And if you do have to make a second trip…well, any excuse for a ride, I say!

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