No list of bike routes in LA would be complete without this famous beach trail. The California coast provides the perfect scenic view for this 8.5 mile path. Start in the south at quirky Venice Beach, where there’s no shortage of eateries or cafés for both tourists and natives. Head north to Santa Monica’s historic pier and catch your breath by taking a ride on the Ferris wheel. This biking option actually extends farther up the coastline towards Malibu but many riders choose to end their day among the bright lights of the pier.
If crowds of rollerblading tourists seem overwhelming, check out the Bolsa Chica section near Huntington Beach. This 3 mile sandy path is near a lesser-known area of the beach so it’s a quieter coastal option. However, as a multi-use trail, there are pedestrians and beachgoers who cross over the trail as a shortcut to the beach. There are plenty of concession stands and restrooms available along the way, as well as surfboard rentals to switch up your wheels for some waves.
Whittier Narrows Recreational Area
In the San Gabriel Valley lies one of Los Angeles’s largest recreational parks. At almost 1,500 acres, Whittier Narrows boasts tons of wildlife as a peaceful backdrop for any cyclist. Coast along any of the three lakes inside and be on the lookout for the myriad of creatures that call the park home. Whittier Narrows is also the middle part of a 12 mile San Gabriel trail that follows the Los Angeles River south towards the Cerritos area in Orange County.
Not everyone who rides a bicycle is up for a marathon-worthy route. For those bicyclist newbies, the Long Beach trail offers a shorter but equally interesting trail. Following along the wealthier Belmont Shore area to the Queen Mary at the Port of Long Beach, there’s no way this smaller circuit can disappoint. The ocean view makes tasty seafood a tempting choice, and just a few blocks inland is Downtown Long Beach with its virtually endless dining and entertainment options.
Sometimes rivers and beaches are too mainstream for hardcore cyclists. For more of a workout and a change of scenery, try out the Puddingstone Reservoir path at Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas. With its proximity to the (sometimes) snow-covered peaks of San Bernardino, this 8 mile trail puts the “mountain” in mountain biking for a more rigorous cycling alternative.