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  1. #1
    New Zealand eleanor's Avatar
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    How to cycle out of Los Angeles?

    Hey there,
    Has anyone ever cycled south out of L.A.? I'm going there shortly, en route for Mexico, and I wonder if anyone has any advice on how to leave the city gracefully on two wheels. I've heared that the roads are utterly terrifying, and although I intend to invest in a good map I also fully expect to get horribly lost on six-lane highways. If anyone has any idea how to avoid getting turned into road jam, please let me know.
    Oh, and while I'm about it, does anyone have any pointers for Tijuana. Like, how not to get mugged at ***/knife point? Ha ha.
    Cheers,
    el
    Last edited by eleanor; 10-23-06 at 12:53 PM.

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    You need to tell us where in LA you're riding from.

    The coast is always a good bet - except for a part of Long Beach where you have to go inland a little to avoid the harbor. Daylight - preferably weekends - is best there. Buy an Adventure Cycling map for the area from Santa Barbara to essentially TJ.

    I am a native San Diegan. Most people who live here have not been to TJ since high school. Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Like Cyclesafe said, biking into Long Beach can get a little hairy. If you are coming down the coast (or from LAX), it pretty much avoids the LA craziness and is actually quite enjoyable! (If you are coming from inland, things get more complicated, but you can always hop on the Blue or Green Line to get to the beach).

    Follow Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) down from Malibu, hop on the strand bicycle path for 20 miles or so until you reach Palos Verdes, then take surface streets going into Long Beach. "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" book recommends taking PCH from PV to Long Beach, but it's a bad idea--busy, no shoulder, some sketchy areas. The Adventure Cycling map detours onto Anaheim Street--a slightly better idea.

    PM me if you need detailed info. (If I'm around, I can also guide you through this area.)

    Never been through TJ on a bike...that'll be an "interesting" experience.

  4. #4
    jcm
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    There is a distinct possiblilty you'll be walking back.

  5. #5
    My bicycle is fixed Brian Sorrell's Avatar
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    If you get to TJ fairly early, there won't be many people around. I'd advise staying away from places where you see lots of Americans, because that's where all the mugging will be happening -- like anywhere, tourists are easy targets. If you get a bit off the regular path and get into the downtown area, you can see some fabulous Art Deco architecture and experience some of the city's rich history. (Yes, my wife is an historian). Check out this article for a positive spin on what you might find:

    http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/08/2...?ex=1314158400

  6. #6
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Don't mind being mugged. Follow the LA River to Long Beach. Do they allow bikes on the Metro?Safest probably would be to go to Santa Monica and follow the coastal bike path. Decent. Little hairy going thru Long Beach.

  7. #7
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    You might want to ask in the commuting forum.
    There are crazy people who do bike and survive everyday in LA.
    Breaking bike parts for more than 20 years
    Titus Racer-X AL/Trek 520 (Cracked)/Trek 930

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    hey...i live in Long Beach! it's not that bad....there are bike lanes here once you get into the city...

    like an above poster said, i would suggest taking the LA river trail into Long Beach if you can...beats going down PCH and Anaheim any day...

    yes, you can take the bike on the metro, just not during morning and aft. rush hour...look up the rules on their site....

    www.russroca.com/about.html

  9. #9
    New Zealand eleanor's Avatar
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    Thanks to all who have given suggestions. This is all super-helpful stuff and makes me feel easier about it already. I'll be flying in to LAX and guess I will have to stay in a hostel or something for a night, maybe two, to get my bearings and sleep a bit before heading south. If anyone can recommend a cheap but half-decent hostel somehere convenient to LAX where I can lock my bike inside please let me know.

    And is Tijuana really that bad? That article was interesting reading Brian, and made TJ sound positively new and shiny, but it's hard to know whether to believe what I've heard about the muggings. The advice so far is good, but I'm still **** scared. Then again, I cycle through one of London's poorest/dodgiest suburbs at 3am every night and that doesn't bother me. Perhaps I'm just afraid of the unknown?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by eleanor
    If anyone can recommend a cheap but half-decent hostel somehere convenient to LAX where I can lock my bike inside please let me know.
    The Santa Monica Hostel is located a few miles north of LAX. Not the cheapest or best, but as they say, "Location, Location, Location!" Best to make reservations:
    http://www.hilosangeles.org/

    -----------------

    "Adventure Cycling" maps and the "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" book are your best friends, but here's some on-line info:

    Routing through LA (especially from LAX):
    http://www.briandesousa.com/bicycling/info/thru_la.htm

    Good general bike map of LA. Follow the "blue" bike paths and "red" bike lanes if you can. The "green" bike routes offer no benefit. If you are a tourist and on your bike, best to stay away from South Central LA. Riding the trains are ok, though. (The hostel workers can clue you in):
    http://www.mta.net/riding_metro/bike...a_bike_map.pdf

    Continuing to San Diego, there are a few detours you need to be aware of. Great directions here:
    http://www.efgh.com/bike/old101.htm

    If you are planning to camp, Doheny, San Clemente (my favorite), San Onofre and San Elijo State Beaches offer hiker/biker sites for a few dollars.

    Quote Originally Posted by eleanor
    And is Tijuana really that bad?
    It's not so much the chance of getting "mugged". Thousands of tourists visit every day. You're safe if you keep to the well traveled sections. If you are a solo traveler (esp. woman), I would be a little cautious. The main problem is navigating your way through the maze of streets and the chaos of the traffic. (Of course, you can also think of this as a challange and adventure) An alternative would be to take a taxi van through TJ and continue your adventure at Rosarito, if you are planning on touring Baja.
    Last edited by rnagaoka; 10-25-06 at 09:59 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    I forgot, you can also subscribe to the warm showers list for places to stay down the coast:
    http://www.warmshowers.org/

  12. #12
    Day Tourer blue steal's Avatar
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    Hey eleanor.
    From LAX you can take the airport shuttle bus, (free), to the 96th street parking lot, 5 minutes away. From there, just walk over to the bus transit center, (25 yards). Hop on the Big Blue heading to Santa Monica, (leave every 15-20 minutes) where you can get off pretty close to hostel. From there you can ride your bike on the south bay beach trail south to Redondo beach, about 17+/- miles or so. Now it does get a bit tricky to travel in Long Beach. I would not go down PCH. But an alternative is at the Redondo Beach pier is the Torrance transit and for .50 you can take the #3 either to the Blue line on Pine street in Long, or over to the Los angeles river trail at PCH. From there head south and pick up the bike trail at shoreline village park. If you take the bus, just head over to the bikestation next to the blue line and pick up a map. this will guide you thru Long Beach, Belmont shores and over the bridge and around the Long Beach marina to seal Beach. From Seal beach, just follow the coast down past Bolsa chica, Huntington Beach, passing the San Gabriel river trail, (ends at Seal Beach), and the Santa ana river trail, then into Newport Beach. I'll skip Laguna beach thru Doheny Beach to San Clemente/Camp Pedeleton for now. Oceanside southward is great, very nice with 2 hostels in San Diego, one is downtown and the other over in Pacific beach area. Get some maps and enjoy as it will be a good trip. I have traveled parts of this for many years using the buses/racks, light rail, metro link, and amtrak.
    Blue Steed

  13. #13
    Member Eurostar's Avatar
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    If you like I could scan and email a route map from "Cycling USA West Coast" by Lonely Planet. It gives you a very detailed inland route between Palos Verdes Estates and Long Beach.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue steal
    Hey eleanor.
    From LAX you can take the airport shuttle bus, (free), to the 96th street parking lot, 5 minutes away. From there, just walk over to the bus transit center, (25 yards).
    Blue,

    That's good info! Seems like you're a South Bay local...sorry for the newbie questions but I don't usually ride the bus. Is the airport shuttle bus a full size bus with bike racks? Do you ever have any hassles getting a loaded bike with panniers/racks onto the bus rack?

  15. #15
    Day Tourer blue steal's Avatar
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    Okay, the airport shuttles, (A,B,C, & D), are designed to haul luggage and does not have a bike rack system and I do not think you can bring your unboxed, or unfolded type bike aboard. However all other buses, (city & Metro), are full size and can handle either 2 or three bikes. Rack systems are very easy and quick to use. I usually do not leave my panniers on the bike when using the racks. Would be to crowded if other bikes on. I've ridden most of the local buses in LA, OC, & SD county as well as metro and never been hassled. I use them for short hops across less than idea riding areas, or to extend my distance for the day rides. Still I'm not quite sure how to get from the airport terminal to the bus transit riding a bike. It would be extremely dangerous by street for that 1 mile distance. It might be possible to walk on the sidewalk to Sepulveda, then left for 2 blocks to 96th street. I've seen some of the airport employees walking to the parking area so it can be done.
    Blue Steed

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    Blue, thanks for the tips...I always thought that it was a major screw-up not to extend the green line one more mile to the airport.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Polaris43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot
    Don't mind being mugged. Follow the LA River to Long Beach. Do they allow bikes on the Metro?Safest probably would be to go to Santa Monica and follow the coastal bike path. Decent. Little hairy going thru Long Beach.

    I live in Long Beach and while the traffic can be ugly, I would not be afraid to bike anywhere in Long Beach during the day - no one is going to mug you in the day time. Most of the muggers sleep all day. There are plenty of places that I would avoid at night but that is true of any city.

    I'll leave the directions to the others but I didn't want you to think you weren't going to get through Long Beach without some kind of problem. Tj may be another story. My recommendation would be to skirt through the north west corner of Tj and head down to Ensenada (another 60ish miles). The food is great, the people are nice and it's as safe as anywhere in Mexico - likely much safer than Tj

  18. #18
    Day Tourer blue steal's Avatar
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    I sometimes take the green line, (light rail), to El Segundo and then transfer to a bus to get to the airport. Sometimes I ride from there straight down grand avenue to the beach, about 2 miles, then either up to Malibu or down to PV or sometimes even back to Long Beach. Our bike club rides in Long Beach quite a bit. There are ways to avoid PCH, but if you are not familiar with the area it would be hard. What Polaris43 says is so, Long Beach no problem, great little eateries all over.
    Blue Steed

  19. #19
    Steel is Real. markw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eleanor
    Thanks to all who have given suggestions. This is all super-helpful stuff and makes me feel easier about it already. I'll be flying in to LAX and guess I will have to stay in a hostel or something for a night, maybe two, to get my bearings and sleep a bit before heading south. If anyone can recommend a cheap but half-decent hostel somehere convenient to LAX where I can lock my bike inside please let me know.

    And is Tijuana really that bad? That article was interesting reading Brian, and made TJ sound positively new and shiny, but it's hard to know whether to believe what I've heard about the muggings. The advice so far is good, but I'm still **** scared. Then again, I cycle through one of London's poorest/dodgiest suburbs at 3am every night and that doesn't bother me. Perhaps I'm just afraid of the unknown?
    Get the Adventure Cycling maps. Worth every $$$. As for TJ, well, can you say 3rd world? Stay away from the tourist traps, try not to get hurt, and have cash to pay off the local cops. Too many horror stories from people I know who go down there. Mostly off road racers, but my wife's boss almost lost a leg after getting into an accident on a scooter. First he had to pay the police to get to a hospital, then they hospital wanted cash, etc... He didn't get back to the US for a couple of weeks and went straight into surgery when he did get here, he almost died and nearly lost his leg. Like most the locals here, I pretty much stay out of Mexico.

  20. #20
    New Zealand eleanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurostar
    If you like I could scan and email a route map from "Cycling USA West Coast" by Lonely Planet. It gives you a very detailed inland route between Palos Verdes Estates and Long Beach.
    Wow, that would be great!
    I'm slowly figuring out the other info everyone has given, which all sounds very confusing as I still haven't had time to go and buy a map. I'm on to it next week, and then I'll be able to work out what you're all talking about!
    Thanks everyone.I'm getting pretty excited about getting to LA now, rather than just horribly nervous as I was before. Tijuana though, that's another story.
    eleanor

  21. #21
    New Zealand eleanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rnagaoka
    Routing through LA (especially from LAX):
    http://www.briandesousa.com/bicycling/info/thru_la.htm
    And that was really useful too. As I say, it should all make sense once I have a map.
    Cheers!
    eleanor

  22. #22
    Day Tourer blue steal's Avatar
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    Haven't been to Mexico in 15 years. We used to camp and surf up and down the baja pennisula, but it had become increasing dangerous. Prices had gone up to high for us. Why bother, when you can get authenic, (and better), goods and food in California. Eleanor, get your maps and enjoy the sights, foods, markets from LA-SD.
    Blue Steed

  23. #23
    Pepperoni Power ROJA's Avatar
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    Are you heading all the way down Baja? Best of luck and have a great trip!

  24. #24
    New Zealand eleanor's Avatar
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    Yeah, the plan is to cycle all the way down baja then cross to the mainland and see what happens. I have a friend in Guadalajarra, so I might head there if I'm still complete with wheels. Thanks for the luck! I might need it, by the sounds of this thread.

  25. #25
    New Zealand eleanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue steal
    We used to camp and surf up and down the baja pennisula, but it had become increasing dangerous.
    Too dangerous in what respect? Too much traffic or too many banditos?

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