August 17 – 53 miles, 666 feet, 2,503 calories
When I last drove south of Santa Monica, I wondered how a bicyclist would survive on the road going south along the coast because of the heavy traffic and lack of any place for a bicycle. Fortunately, that turned out not to be a problem. The beach bike path lasted quite a while south of Santa Monica and avoided most of what I had seen on that drive. In fact, although there was definitely urban riding today, including through some very industrialized areas, probably more than half the ride was on bike paths. Some were literally on the beach with one along the Los Angeles River. It doesn’t exactly challenge any of the many rivers I have seen on this ride aesthetically, but it does have a lot of water. And it had a paved bike path that avoided a lot of traffic and that alone makes it worthwhile.
Along the way out of Santa Monica I had been riding behind a cyclist who was obviously familiar with the route I was then on. His familiarity with the area definitely improved my ride today. We started talking and I told him I was riding to Newport Beach and he said he was riding to Palos Verdes. He made some suggestions while we were riding that contradicted what Google Maps was telling me. He became credible because those suggestions worked out well.
At a stop we introduced ourselves and we got someone to take our photo. Because he, Karlo, wondered why Google was telling me to turn on a street that he disagreed with, I handed him my phone so he could see Google’s route. He said that it had me riding on a portion of the Pacific Coast Highway north of Long Beach that is very unfriendly to cyclists. He suggested an alternative that turned out to be great. It avoided that portion of the PCH by working me over to bike paths that kept me away from cars and were good riding. Included was the one along the LA River and then one that took me along the waterfront in Long Beach that went by launch points for Catalina Island. It was safe and picturesque, a combination I thoroughly enjoyed.
Karlo was also right in that when I got on the PCH south of Long Beach, it was designed to accommodate bikes with wide shoulders and bike lanes. The result was that I went the entire day without really feeling threatened by traffic and that in itself made for a good ride.
When Karlo and I rode through Manhattan Beach on a bike path, we had to walk one stretch because it had been closed to riders as the result of the pedestrian traffic caused by a massive beach volleyball tournament. We didn’t see any of it, but I think it would have been fun to visit. The beach trail in Long Beach also went through areas that I would like to visit when I have the time to just walk around.
The ride finished on yet another beach bicycle trail, this one going along the beach in Huntington Beach. There were so many people that the riding was slow but still fun. Only in part due to some of the women who wore bathing suits that may as well have been backless. And I am referring to the bottom part of the suits.
Today was a gorgeous day to be at the beach and I rode by thousands who were. It was also a glorious day to be on a bike and I was one of a much smaller number who were fortunate enough to be doing just that. Life is good.
Three days to go to Complete this amazing Journey. And $320 to go to reach $10,000. I intend to do the 3 days. I hope those of you who have thought about donating but haven’t done so yet will help us get at least that last $320 by going ahead and donating. If we happen to exceed the $10,000, so much the better. Remember, the money goes directly and entirely to help late stage cancer patients.