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  1. #1
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Best 25 to 40 mi. rides near downtown LA

    I'm going to be staying in downtown LA for two weeks, not including weekends, and I'd like your advice on favored routes. I'm looking for:
    a) relative safety (from muggings and/or super aggressive drivers) between the hours of 6am and 8:30 am
    b) ability to ride ~20mph without running into people
    c) close proximity to downtown LA - I can throw my bike into the back of my car, but I don't want to drive more than 10-15 minutes to get there.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    This is where one would hear the "Mission Impossible" theme music.

    If you had said, "I don't want to drive more than 10-15 miles to get there", then there are a lot of options, such as PCH north or south out of Santa Monica, or Griffith Park. But close to downtown? It will be difficult to maintain 20mph because of all the commuter traffic and traffic signals. You won't get much of a ride. Good luck. Maybe somebody else knows a hidden gem in the area.
    Deut 6:5

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  3. #3
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    I think volosong has got it right. With those qualifications for a ride, you are going to have to drive. The LA river trail may allow you to do 20mph, but I don't know about early morning safety. But you could drive to the Montebello area and pick up the river trail there. On google maps, it looks to be about 11 miles from DTLA.

    For a view, climbing, mountains and less people, I would drive to and ride in the San Gabriel Mountains, either Angeles Crest Hwy or Azusa Cyn rd.

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    Volo and Alloy are correct. There is nothing that close to downtown that permits unfettered 20mph. It sounds like you are more interested in flats, so like Volo suggested, ride North on PCH from Santa Monica into, and perhaps through, Malibu. There is a lot just north of the Santa Monica pier. A 5:45 am departure from your hotel downtown should have you there in about 20 minutes at that time of day.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allroy71 View Post
    I think volosong has got it right. With those qualifications for a ride, you are going to have to drive. The LA river trail may allow you to do 20mph, but I don't know about early morning safety. But you could drive to the Montebello area and pick up the river trail there. On google maps, it looks to be about 11 miles from DTLA.

    For a view, climbing, mountains and less people, I would drive to and ride in the San Gabriel Mountains, either Angeles Crest Hwy or Azusa Cyn rd.
    allroy,
    where exactly does the river trail start in montebello? Malibu is too far. At 6am, I could get there in 20-30 minutes, but after the ride, it would take an hour or so to get back downtown.

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    I cheated!! I used Google maps with the bike mode on. It looks like the river trail can be entered at Grant Rea park. I am not sure on the neighborhood there, but parks are usually a safe place to park. I hope some other forum members will chime in!!

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    From downtown LA at that hour driving out... expect to drive out at 15mph avg... so that 10-15 minutes drive amounts to basically getting into your car and hopefully making it to next drugstore..

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    I think what I'm leaning toward is a route I found on the UCLA Cycling Team's page: http://tinyurl.com/aclpa.
    I can start around Silver Lake Reservoir, go up the LA River Trail to Zoo Drive, then take Griffith Park Drive to Mt. Hollywood Drive and then take No. Vermont Ave. back into town.
    Has anyone done this route?

    My biggest question is about Mt. Hollywood Drive. Is this still shut off to cars? And how is the road condition there?

  9. #9
    Despite all my rage, I am rooftest's Avatar
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    I've done plenty of great rides leaving from Downtown LA. At 7AM on a weekend- there's surprisingly nobody on the road. I've even ridden Wilshire to the Ocean on a few Saturdays.

  10. #10
    Senior Member El Gigante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco View Post
    I think what I'm leaning toward is a route I found on the UCLA Cycling Team's page: http://tinyurl.com/aclpa.
    I can start around Silver Lake Reservoir, go up the LA River Trail to Zoo Drive, then take Griffith Park Drive to Mt. Hollywood Drive and then take No. Vermont Ave. back into town.
    Has anyone done this route?

    My biggest question is about Mt. Hollywood Drive. Is this still shut off to cars? And how is the road condition there?
    Good options but I would avoid Vermont Ave. at all costs - highest rate of cyclist accidents and fatalities of any street in the city. Most of the roads through Griffith Park are open to traffic, but they still get quite a bit of use from cyclists. If you are staying downtown, you could head north on Figueroa, cut over to Broadway, take Broadway through Chinatown to San Fernando Road - hang a left and it will take you to the beginning of the northern section of the LA River Trail. From there, you could head up to Zoo drive, to Mt. Hollywood etc. - there and back should give you between 20 - 25 miles. Have a great trip to LA!
    Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

  11. #11
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    Grab a Silverline bus at Union Station with a $5 daypass and you'll be in El Monte in 15-20 minutes. Get the Rio Hondo Trail from there and go wherever you want...it will be an adventure.


    http://www.labikepaths.com/bike-paths/rio-hondo/
    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Gigante View Post
    Good options but I would avoid Vermont Ave. at all costs - highest rate of cyclist accidents and fatalities of any street in the city. Most of the roads through Griffith Park are open to traffic, but they still get quite a bit of use from cyclists. If you are staying downtown, you could head north on Figueroa, cut over to Broadway, take Broadway through Chinatown to San Fernando Road - hang a left and it will take you to the beginning of the northern section of the LA River Trail. From there, you could head up to Zoo drive, to Mt. Hollywood etc. - there and back should give you between 20 - 25 miles. Have a great trip to LA!
    Mt. Hollywood Drive seems to lead straight into Vermont Canyon Road, which leads right into N. Vermont Ave.

    I'm not sure how you avoid N. Vermont Ave., at least until you get to Hillhurst. Is there a better route?

  13. #13
    aka Josh gjosuem's Avatar
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    LA river bike trail is fine, I have ridden it as early as 4 am and it is safe, although it is better lit in some area than others.

  14. #14
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    If you are 1) fast 2) a little crazy and 3)have good health insurance, you might want to hook up with the wolfpack hustle. They ride all through downtown and surrounding areas and do 50+ miles on a weekday night. Lots of bike messengers and racers in this bunch.

  15. #15
    Senior Member CabezaShok's Avatar
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    Park your car downtown and take your bike on the train to the new Expo line. The Expo line ends about a block from the entrance of Ballona creek bike path (La Cienega) which is around 13 miles? Ballona runs into even more miles of uncrowded car-free bike paths (boardwalk south of Ballona) When you see ocean, turn left onto the bridge (south) heading to El Segundo.....enjoy the ride/view.

    Ive been riding Ballona Creek a lot lately, its safer now that the Expo drops off close to the bike path. More cyclists and more cops around

  16. #16
    aka Josh gjosuem's Avatar
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    +1 on riding the expo or any other line (I work on expo and blue line trains)

  17. #17
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone, for your great suggestions. Since my time turned out to be more limited than I planned, I just stuck to the LA River Bike Trail. But now I've got a good thread to explore when I do have more time.

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