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  1. #1
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    Possibly moving from London to LA - what's the bike scene like?

    Hi all

    I'm wondering what the bike scene is like in LA? Is there a good cycling community around? I'm used to riding steel bikes and all I see in LA are the carbon racers...! Would be good to know also if there are any other forums which are more specific to LA as well. Cheers!

  2. #2
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    yes carbon is very popular in So Cal but that should not stop you - there are alot of us "steel" riders (and Ti too) around. Because of the weather cycling is very popular in the So Cal area. I say So Cal 'cause I don't think you really want to ride in and around Los Angeles - too much traffic; too many people; too many areas to get robbed or hi-jacked. There is alot of cycling activity in or around the coast line or up in the foothills. You will see many threads about "GMR" "Angeles Crest Highway" etc. As you can imagine cycling along the coast in the summer time has challenges.

    The whole Ventura/Camarillo area (north of LA County) is absolutely gorgeous to ride in and around. And Orange County (where I am) is beautiful. San Diego I've been told and believe is "God's country" as cycling there is great and there are many wonderful roads and trails.

    If for sure you are only interested in riding Los Angeles County and the City fo LA proper, then google "bike clubs in Los Angeles" and go from there. Generally club websites have alot of information.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Mitz--Pam hinted at it, but you'll want to narrow down where in LA? Like London, it's a huge metropolitan area that can take anywhere from 1-3 hours to traverse by car. And, if heading south, there's still other bustling communities to deal with (Orange County, San Diego, etc). I live in the San Fernando Valley, about 20-mins north of downtown LA. If you do come out, let me know: I'd love to introduce you to riding friends.

    As for riding in LA, where will depend on how comfortable you are in traffic. Some areas are better than others (less traffic or wider roads or bike lanes). There's also some serious hills (20% +) and a very short distance, some serious mountains (5-8 miles at 6%avg). Then there's the beach: somewhat flat but generally alot of traffic as well.

    There are an enormous amount of clubs, many of them with large numbers of members.

    There is an annoyingly present "fixie/hipster" cycling population, especially in the city limits. There are many places to go for mountain biking, and lots of roadies. Commuting is present, but certainly not in large numbers, although you'll probably see 1 or 2 others on any given commute.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    There are a lot of bike subcultures in LA-- including commuters, weekend distance riders, weekend beach/trail cruisers, mountain bikers, racers of all sorts, and fixie/hipster kids, and more (don't talk bad about the fixie kids! some of my best friends are fixie riding hipsters, and many of them do a lot of work to make urban cycling safer). There's some crossover, but sometimes it's surprising how much there isn't.

    There's probably more commuting than mkadam68 realizes-- there's a lot of mixed mode commuting, and a quite a bit of short distance commuting. Many large employers offer incentives and/or facilities to encourage bike commuting. The City of LA has been making a big effort over the past several years to make bike commuting easier and more appealing. Whenever I ride the metro gold line, there are a lot of people with bikes doing mixed mode (bike-train-bike). It's not Amsterdam, but it's not Detroit, either.

    There are spectacular mountains with nice roads for road riding and fire-roads and trails for MTBing. This past weekend I rode up 5600' Mt. Wilson twice, riding from my house. Once on a road bike, once on a MTB. There's a nice little snack bar at the top that's open on weekends.

    There are two velodromes in/near LA: Encino and StubHub Center (Velo Sports Center) with both recreational riding and racing.

    There's a ton of road racing, but I think not much MTB racing lately.

    There are a few river trails where you can ride 30+ miles and only have to cross one or two roads.

    There are big group rides day and night (the hipsters tend to do night rides, and there are all sorts, including short social rides, big party rides, and late night hammerfests that cover long distances at high speed on nearly empty roads). There are small group rides everywhere.

    As already mentioned - there are tons of clubs, mostly somewhat regional. You can find some of them at SoCalCycling.com SoCalCycling.com - Your Cycling Source

    I moved to LA partly because when I was in the supershuttle riding to my hotel when I came out for a job interview, another guy who got on after me noticed the shaved legs and then proceeded to tell me what an awesome place it is for cycling (the Pasadena area in particular in my case, but it's really everywhere).

    Basically, you can find any type of bike scene you want here.
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  5. #5
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    You've got plenty of great info in the previous replies. As bitingduck said there is more commuting going on. LA is a big place and I'm sure it changes depending on what part you are in. I work near the studios in Burbank/Glendale. There are at least 10+ bike commuters that work in my building and I know there are 50+ in the Glendale/Burbank area because I have attended some bike commuting events and they were well attended. Some people commute by bike every day like me (even though I do own a car and have a valid license!), some commute a couple days a week and some are mixed who take commuter rail from way out and ride from the station.

    There are a hundreds of recreational riders within a few miles of me judging by the Strava leader boards
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  6. #6
    Spit out the back tinrobot's Avatar
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    There's biking of all kinds here and all types of cultures. Steel bikes are typically seen more around the east side/downtown, though it is hardly a rule. Orange 20 bikes and the Bicycle Kitchen are the local hubs for those folks. They're typically casual/urban riders and younger.

    The more serious (and wealthier) people tend to go carbon for performance and/or bling. You'll see those in the mountains and on the faster group rides.

    Many people have both steel and carbon.

    There's an LA Bike group on Reddit with some good info.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
    I say So Cal 'cause I don't think you really want to ride in and around Los Angeles - too much traffic; too many people; too many areas to get robbed or hi-jacked.
    While the riding all over SoCal is excellent, urban riding in Los Angeles can actually be wonderful. In some ways the sprawl makes it more enjoyable than riding in a denser city and there is a lot of work being done right now to improve general infrastructure. As with all urban riding, there are risks and a certain skill level is required but it can be just as enjoyable as some of the back county roads.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
    yes carbon is very popular in So Cal but that should not stop you - there are alot of us "steel" riders (and Ti too) around. Because of the weather cycling is very popular in the So Cal area. I say So Cal 'cause I don't think you really want to ride in and around Los Angeles - too much traffic; too many people; too many areas to get robbed or hi-jacked. There is alot of cycling activity in or around the coast line or up in the foothills. You will see many threads about "GMR" "Angeles Crest Highway" etc. As you can imagine cycling along the coast in the summer time has challenges.

    The whole Ventura/Camarillo area (north of LA County) is absolutely gorgeous to ride in and around. And Orange County (where I am) is beautiful. San Diego I've been told and believe is "God's country" as cycling there is great and there are many wonderful roads and trails.

    If for sure you are only interested in riding Los Angeles County and the City fo LA proper, then google "bike clubs in Los Angeles" and go from there. Generally club websites have alot of information.
    Thanks all for the suggestions. This is an interesting post - are the areas in LA that bad that you'd get robbed or hijacked on a bike??

    Also, wondering if there is a socal specific bike classifieds forum? I don't even see a classifieds forum on this board... odd??

  9. #9
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Los Angeles is a huge City; there are a few nice areas and a lot of bad. Many people confuse the County of LA with the City of LA. I probably would not ride in the City of LA but LA County has many nice places to ride, especially along the coast or up in the foothills.

    While I never recommend it, you can check CraigsList/So Cal area/ for used bikes.
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  10. #10
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    There are definitely places in LA you won't want to ride through or drive through or walk through but there will probably be no reason for you to ever enter those neighborhoods unless you live there or you are a police officer. The biggest danger to cyclist are motorists but I'm sure it's the same way in London.

    Craigslist is the local classified for bikes. Sure there are a lot of shady people and bad deals but there are a lot of great deals to be had. Most people with common sense can tell from CL post and a few communications back and forth whether the seller is on the level. Meet up in a busy shopping center parking lot and all will be well.
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  11. #11
    Despite all my rage, I am rooftest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitzEclipse View Post
    Thanks all for the suggestions. This is an interesting post - are the areas in LA that bad that you'd get robbed or hijacked on a bike??
    That post is overly alarmist. You're from London, so you probably already have the street smarts to avoid people that you should. I've ridden through some of the worst places in LA - sometimes late at night - with zero issues. I have a neighbor who has commuted by bike to downtown LA for 20 years (I live to the east - so he rides through some pretty bad areas) with no problems, either.

    Although I don't like going into LA city (too much traffic), I agree that riding there is pretty cool. My favorite, as has also been mentioned, is the mountains. Start working on your climbing!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rooftest View Post
    That post is overly alarmist. You're from London, so you probably already have the street smarts to avoid people that you should. I've ridden through some of the worst places in LA - sometimes late at night - with zero issues. I have a neighbor who has commuted by bike to downtown LA for 20 years (I live to the east - so he rides through some pretty bad areas) with no problems, either.

    Although I don't like going into LA city (too much traffic), I agree that riding there is pretty cool. My favorite, as has also been mentioned, is the mountains. Start working on your climbing!
    I have a friend that used to ride to work form Lynwood. He was robbed at gunpoint and attacked by a pack of pitbulls on two of his more exciting commutes. I'm certainly not saying that is a typical day in LA and I'm sure OP will not be moving from London to Lynwood, Compton, South Central etc
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  13. #13
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    If you like climbing, the Santa Monica Mountains off Malibu are for you. Many opportunities for roadies and MTB with beautiful ocean views from the mountains. The Santa Monicas are an east-west chain starting in Hollywood and traversing 30 miles to where they run headlong into the Pacific Ocean. Along 30 miles of coast there are 11 major ascents and scads of smaller ones.

    A bike shop in Santa Monica called "Bike Effect" has weekly rides open to all. Check their web site.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesiz View Post
    If you like climbing, the Santa Monica Mountains off Malibu are for you. Many opportunities for roadies and MTB with beautiful ocean views from the mountains. The Santa Monicas are an east-west chain starting in Hollywood and traversing 30 miles to where they run headlong into the Pacific Ocean. Along 30 miles of coast there are 11 major ascents and scads of smaller ones.

    A bike shop in Santa Monica called "Bike Effect" has weekly rides open to all. Check their web site.
    And San Gabriels if you REALLY like climbing
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