Driving in Los Angeles

Before we announced Los Angeles as our newest public route starting point we surveyed 3,000 LA Zimride drivers to find out how they handled the world-famous LA traffic.  We were happy to see that San Diego and Las Vegas (our two newest routes) made the top of the list for LA driving destinations. We hope you enjoy this infographic showcasing their pro tips.  The should come in handy the next time you cruise by all those palm trees.

Happy Travels,

Your Zimride Crew

Driving with Dad — Stories from the Zimride Crew

After sharing our favorite pieces of advice from our Moms, we’re back to share great stories about Dad teaching us how to drive. Buckle up!

Paul, Account Manager: “While my Dad was a high school teacher, he taught driver’s education for a few summers. Anyone who’s ever been in a vehicle while my Dad’s been driving would be shocked to learn this fact. “How could this guy teach driver’s ed?!” Although he’s a perfectly skilled driver who’s averted disaster on more than one occasion, he’s still one of the most distracted drivers I’ve ever had the “pleasure” of riding with. And unfortunately for me (and my passengers), I’ve inherited all of it.”

Grayson, Data Scientist: “My Dad first taught me to drive when I was about 8 or 9 years old — he had this old dodge pickup that was stick shift. First, he’d have me sit right next to him while he drove but let me shift. After I got the hang of that I got to share the driver seat and steer — but only ever in parking lots and around the neighborhood.

When it finally came time to teach me to drive for real, my Dad would drive me down to the Idaho State Fairgrounds parking lot and we would practice.”

Zac, Director of Route Development :”My interest in driving began at a very young age.  From my carseat in the back, I would watch with fascination as my dad skillfully worked the clutch, gas, and brake of our family Datsun 210 (we only had a stick shift).  Back home, I would sit at the piano operating the three foot pedals, imagining the world flying by outside the living room window.  My Dad finally acquiesced  to my persistent requests to drive when I was 10 years old.  At first he let me reach my foot over from the front passenger seat to push on the gas pedal; but I wasn’t satisfied.  Soon he let me sit on his lap and steer; that was fun, but I wanted more.  Finally, when I was eleven years old, he pulled the car over when we were a mile or so from home.  He propped me up on some phone books (so I could reach the pedals and see over the wheel) and let me drive home.  My years of practicing at the piano paid off, and despite the rolling hills of Oakland, I was able to operate the clutch fairly smoothly.  Happy Father’s day to a Dad who has always helped me to realize my dreams, including the ones that aren’t officially licensed.”

Jane, Account Manager: “My sister and I normally favored my Mom as the go-to parent of choice for all requests, except driving. Dad was definitely the one to ask if you needed a ride to, or from, anywhere on the weekend and after hours: soccer, friend’s house, the movies.

When it came time to instruct his 15 year old daughter how to drive, Dad was definitely the preferred parent. My Mom would yell and hit the invisible air break secretly hidden in the passenger side foot well. Dad showed almost super-human patience. Dad, a civil engineer, had the ability to list off a series of instructions quickly, but in a very calm voice. His voice was never raised, and I remember him repeating his driving motto over in a monotone, “Okay, slow, slow, slow. Now stop.”

I recently asked him to teach me to drive again, but this time stick shift in a mint green retired Forest Service F-250. There’s nothing like cruising around the Oracle parking lot in Redwood City at 5 miles per hour to feel, I don’t know, humbled, like an awkward teen again.”

Erin, PR Manager: “I was a slow learner when it came to driving, much to the chagrin of my dear father. After passing the permit test with non-flying colors (meaning, I failed the first time), it was finally time to get behind the wheel with Dad. We lived in a residential neighborhood right near the corner of our street, so my first official move as a driver (short of pulling out of the driveway) was to make a left turn off of our street onto the next one. I slowly turned the wheel left…but apparently, it was way too slow, and I remember hearing my father say “turn, turn, turn!” and grabbing the wheel. The passenger side mirror gently crunched into our neighbor’s dumpster sitting out at the street, and detached from the car onto the ground. In that moment, I’m sure my father saw his life flash before his eyes, and we switched spots so he could drive the 50 yards back to our house. He did get out and pick up the mirror off the ground, and gave it to me later that day as a friendly fatherly reminder to drive safe. (He did eventually teach me how to drive, and I’m now a safe driver who can make left turns successfully. Thanks, Dad!)”

Harrison, Brand Jedi: “One of my earliest memories being in a car with my Father was witnessing his uncanny ability to drive without the use of his eyes! This wasn’t an everyday deal, only special occasions. We would be a few streets away from home when my sister and I would beg my Dad to close his eyes and drive. What we believed to be a superhero ability was really my Father squinting his right eye and keeping his left eye wide open. How was I supposed know?! I was five years old and rockin the back seat! When it came time for me to take the wheel, I remember him telling me I should always maintain a good vision of the road. Apparently some superhero traits aren’t hereditary.”

Happy Father’s Day Weekend to all you Zimriding Dads and MAJOR thank you to all those Zimdads (and Zimmoms) for being brave and teaching us the rules of the road.

Disclaimer: We’re all much better and safer drivers than when we were youngins except for Paul.

Your Zimride Crew

It’s Always Sunny When You Zimride to San Diego

Just in time for summer, we’re excited to announce our latest public route…Los Angeles to San Diego!

Like our friend Shamu, Zimride is set to make a splash in SD, where over 9.3 million Southern California residents visit by car annually. That’s a whole lot of cars on the road. With this new route Zimride gives residents a way to save (or make!) gas money, meet new friends, and decrease the number of cars on the road contributing to that famous LA traffic. And fewer cars also means less environmental impact on the sunny local beaches; just another reason to book a seat on the route.

In the meantime, just for fun, here are five cool things to do on the ride from LA to SD:

1. Eat at In-N-Out Burger. This SoCal mainstay has a ton of locations along the route, and luckily, Zimride is giving away $5 gift certificates to our first 500 drivers and passengers who complete a ride along the route!*

2. Stop in San Clemente to hike to Trestles, a world-famous surf spot tucked away on the other side of the railroad tracks.

3. Keep an eye out for two huge domes on your right. The San Onofre nuclear power plant serves as an unofficial halfway marker.

4. Shop at the Carlsbad outlets – you’ve saved some cash, so you deserve it!

5. Enjoy the scenery. North County boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country…just don’t get sidetracked at the Del Mar horse races.

Stay classy, San Diego. And stay tuned for more exciting announcements coming from Zimride soon!

Happy Travels!

Your Zimride Crew

*Zimride is not affiliated with In-N-Out, but we love their burgers!

Zimride’s Top 10 Road Trip Movies

Happy Memorial Day weekend, Zimriders! With summer around the corner and a holiday on Monday, this weekend is perfect for a road trip. San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles are just a few of the awesome driving destinations this weekend on Zimride.

To toast Memorial Day weekend we bring you our Top 10 Road Trip Movies* of all time. Enjoy and safe (+shared) travels!

  1. Planes, Trains & Automobiles – John Candy and Steve Martin in a John Hughes film…enough said.
  2. Rain Man – On a Zimride with Charlie Babbitt, pit stops to catch Judge Wapner on People’s Court are a must.
  3. Little Miss Sunshine – This family flick is just as funny as it is heartfelt.
  4. Thelma & Louise – Female bonding at its finest.
  5. Sideways – After Miles famously refused to drink merlot, U.S. sales of the varietal actually dropped.
  6. Easy Rider – Don’t miss the soundtrack in this classic biker movie. R.I.P. Dennis Hopper.
  7. Dumb & Dumber – “We got no food, no jobs…our pets’ heads are falling off!”
  8. The Motorcycle DiariesA young Che Guevara hits the road on his motocicleta.
  9. Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson’s psychedelic desert trek to find the American Dream.
  10. Cars – We love a good Pixar film…especially one with talking Cars!

Rain Man Road Trip

Happy Road Trippin!

The Zimride Crew

*Top 10 Road Trip movies not titled “Road Trip.” (Although we love that one, it’s a little too easy.)

All photos courtesy of MGM. They make awesome movies!

Tips from Zimriders: Picture Perfect

Everyone loves to Zimride in style, which is why it’s important to show off your car on your profile.  We asked an amazingly talented Zimride driver, Matt L, to share his pro advice so you can get that perfect shot.

Matt L Photo Tips

Matt L offers up his photo tips for showcasing your car on Zimride.

I Zimride in a 1996 Subaru Legacy Outback that I’ve customized heavily, so I like to show off my hard work when I get a chance. Here are some tips on how to take fantastic photos of your car with minimal gear.

Tools of the Trade

  • Any camera (one that can do manual settings is best)
  • A tripod or something like a bag of rice to keep a camera steady
  • A nice, interesting background
  • Good light

Location, Location, Location

First park your car in a nice location and make sure the environment fits the car. For example, park an outdoorsy car in the wilderness or a sports car in a city environment.

The Golden Hour

The “Golden Hour” is the hour right after sunrise or the hour just before sunset. Try to take your photos at this time—it makes everything look magical.

Photo Tip: Subaru at night

Get Down Low

You can emphasize the awesomeness of your car by eliminating any distractions in the background. The easiest way to accomplish this is dropping down on a knee or lying on the ground.

Position yourself and your camera at about a 45 degree angle to the car or 90 degrees depending on the look that you want to achieve.

Manual Mode

Check if your camera has a manual mode “M”. When your camera is on manual mode, set the aperture (f/”something”) to around f/8. This will give you an in focus image from foreground to background. If you’re using a DSLR, then you’ll want to switch to f/11.

Adjust the shutter speed so that the part of the car facing you is properly exposed. You’ll also want to keep your ISO as low as possible to get the best image quality.

If you are using a simpler camera without manual features such as a phone, put the box (or tap the screen) on the part of the car closest to you until it is the proper brightness. You may want to use exposure compensation (+2 to -2) to adjust this if your camera offers this feature.

After you have your settings dialed in, hold steady and blast away!

Experiment, Experiment, Experiment

Try different angles and position the car differently in the light. I like to place the car diagonal with the wheels pointing out towards the camera to make the car more engaging.

If you are feeling adventurous and want to experiment with some different techniques, take your car somewhere totally dark, leave your camera on a tripod, set your aperture to f/8 and your shutter speed to 30 seconds or as long as it will allow. After you snap your photo, but before the shutter closes, take a flashlight and “paint with light” on the car and around it. You’ll be surprised at the results.

Ask for Feedback

Share your awesome car photos with your friends and family and get their feedback. It’s important to practice!

Thanks for all the fantastic tips Matt! If you’re interested in checking out more of his work, please visit his Web site.

Got any shots of your car?  You can share them with us by emailing community@zimride.com or Share with us on our Facebook page!

Happy Travels!

The Zimride Crew