As you may know, I usually do my riding alone.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company of other cyclists; it’s just that I’ve always loved the freedom and solitude that cycling brings. Somehow at one with the city, yet blissfully alone; ready to follow my handlebars wherever they may lead.
Not to mention I usually do my riding on weekdays, when most people have their noses fastened firmly to the grindstone.
And the few times I’ve been part of a group, I’ve been more than content to take my place in the middle of the mass and follow a route someone else has mapped out.
That changes on Sunday.
While the rest of L.A. is still in church, sleeping in or settling down with massive quantities of beer and bean dip to watch the preshow in advance of the show before the pregame show that will lead up to the introduction to the Super Bowl that comes before the lead-up to the kickoff, I’ll be leading my first ever ride on behalf of the LACBC.
It’s just the second in the Bike Coalition’s new series of monthly Sunday Funday rides for members and guests, in which board members like myself — after a full year, they still haven’t kicked me out yet — plan a ride that shares our love of biking in the greater L.A. area.
That’s why I call this one I ♥ the Westside. Because I’ve planned a route to highlight some of the things and areas I love about West L.A. and its environs. And more specifically, about where to ride and what there is to enjoy while you’re doing it.
Which is not to say we’re going to ignore the problems we see along the way. On this ride, you’re going to see some of the best and worst this massive sun-drenched megalopolis has to offer.
Like Rodeo Drive, which could go either way depending on your perspective.
We’ll also ride Westwood’s abandoned bikeway, so you can see just what happens when a bike path is all but forgotten, yet still remains on the map. And yes, it will be a bumpy ride.
We’re going to start at the Santa Monica pier, assembling at the entrance to the pier at Ocean and Colorado at 9:30 am, with the ride commencing promptly at 10.
And yes, there are public restrooms on the pier.
Then we’ll follow a route that takes in Main Street in Venice, the hard-won sharrows on Abbot Kinney and the Marina Bike Path, before taking the Ballona Creek Bike Path on the way to downtown Culver City. From there, we’ll head north to Beverly Hills before riding back through Westwood, Brentwood and Santa Monica’s Montana Ave on our way to a last leg down the beach.
Along the way, you’ll pass boutiques and farmers markets, protected wetlands and paved creek banks, housing projects and mansions. You could see snowy egrets and snowcapped mountains, fountains, fixies and Ferraris, and even some of the city’s most abundant natural resource as we’ll be passing through their native habitat.
Along the way, we’ll stop to discuss what’s good about the areas we pass through, as well as some of the issues. And what the LACBC and its affiliate organizations are working on to make your next rides through the area even better.
If time allows, we may also offer a few optional side trips, like a quick tour through the mansions of Beverly Hills or maybe add a few easy scenic miles along the beach. And still have you home in plenty of time for the kickoff.
Or the commercials, if that’s what you’re into.
We’ll ride at a moderate pace, around 12 to 15 mph, to allow time for sightseeing along the way and follow a mostly flat route — which isn’t the same as completely flat, so be ready for a few minor hills. And it gets cold at the beach, so dress warmly in layers you can remove as the day warms up.
The ride is free and open to all LACBC members, and you can bring along one guest per member. And if you’re not a member, we’ll sign you up on the spot at a significant discount, which makes this the perfect time to join up.
Pro tip: Bring a friend, and only one of you will have to join — the other can ride along as your guest.
So if you’ve ever want to ride with me — or just get out and have a good time on a lovely morning — this is your chance.
Then again, if you want something a little more challenging, come back next month when fellow board member Alex Amerri will lead a hard-charging 62-mile ride through the north San Gabriel Valley.
No events or links today due to an extended internet outage in my area. I’ll try to put the rest of the calendar and the usual weekend links online tonight, assuming Verizon can keep its act together.