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Recommendations for riding in the Santa Monica area.

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Recommendations for riding in the Santa Monica area.

Old 01-07-13, 01:10 PM
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RIRview
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Recommendations for riding in the Santa Monica area.

Howdy all:

I live in Long Beach, and belong to a Long Beach-based cycling club. I know all the routes in my area (LART, SGRT, SART, and of course, Long Beach to Newport Beach via PCH).

I recently began dating a girl who lives in Santa Monica, and we're begun the deal where we spend the night at each other's place . Given that, on some mornings where I'm at her place, I'll be setting out for uncharted cycling territory. For roadies who live in that area, where do you ride? What about Santa Monica to Malibu? Is PCH as dicey there as it is from Long Beach to Newport? How about that path the runs along the beach from Santa Monica to Manhattan Beach and Redondo? Too crowded with joggers and beach cruisers?

Also, what about Santa Monica-based bike shops that do shop rides, and/or local cycle clubs that would let a visitor ride with them?

Thanks!
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Old 01-07-13, 01:46 PM
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PCH from Santa Monica to Topanga is indeed dicey, and I'd recommend against it. Even the section from Topanga to Malibu Canyon is a bit dicey, IMHO. West of there, it's actually pretty good.

It's worth figuring it out to get the wonderful world of the Santa Monica Mountains is at your disposal. Someone else probably has some good advice on how you can make that transition.

The Braude bike path can be empty or maddeningly crowded. Between MDR and El Porto, it's pretty empty and you can fly to your heart's content. South of El Porto through Manhattan Beach, it separates into a separate pedestrian path, so pedestrians are less of a problem for the most part. Most abide by the rules and stay off the bike path, but YMMV.

In Hermosa, bicyclists and pedestrians share the path. Slow down and be courteous. Expect the unexpected. But the good news is that they installed rockin's sharrows some time ago, so the street is a viable option. Stop at the stop signs, though.

In Redondo, there is technically a separate biking and pedestrian path, but that rule is routinely ignored. I had a dialog with a RB police officer about the subject and he demonstrated his ignorance of California law on the subject ... continued to insist that pedestrians could walk on the bike path at their option.

How crowded they are depends on the season and the time of day. Summer weekend? Packed. Winter night? Empty.

I fought that chilly 20 MPH headwind to work this morning. For some reason, it wasn't crowded at all.
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Old 01-07-13, 02:16 PM
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Riding PCH from Santa Monica to Malibu is probably no more or less risky than riding PCH in Orange County. You can mitigate some of that risk by staying on the bike path up to Temescal (going north) and then hit PCH. There are generally groups of riders of various abilities headed that way, and so you could join one of those groups. Earlier in the morning is better - less traffic. After Temescal to Topanga, and then up to Pepperdine, the ride can be unnerving because of the narrow shoulders in spots. After Pepperdine seems to be the best, although you still need to be on your guard. Go as far as you want. Plenty of places for water/natural stops. Coming back you have to be more wary of cars parked/parking alongside the road. If you're a climber then you have your choice of Topanga, Latigo, Piuma, Stunt, Decker, Encinal and on and on. Look at Strava.

On Sunday mornings, at 8AM, you can meet the Kettle Ride (coming from the Kettle in Manhattan Beach) at the restrooms at Ocean Park, (right where Ocean Park Ave dead ends) which then proceeds up the path to Temescal and then continues up PCH. Riders generally stay together to Pepperdine and then splinter off in various directions.

Also - you can ride up Mandeville Canyon, which runs off Sunset, and Mt St Mary's off Bundy.

Check out La Grange Velo's website which is a local club and has regular rides, as well as descriptions of other local "show and go" rides.

Bike path southward is pretty much what Biker395 says. If you follow the path all the way to the end, you can then ride into Palos Verdes and explore that territory.
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Old 01-07-13, 02:43 PM
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Thanks for the advice, peckma. I've gotten used to riding the really nailbiting stretch of PCH in Orange Country that runs along Bolsa Chica State Beach, so I suppose I could give your routes a try.
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Old 01-07-13, 05:00 PM
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FWIW, I'd consider taking the bike in the car up to Malibu. Then you have a safer entry into the Santa Monica's without dealing with PCH.
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Old 01-10-13, 06:38 PM
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Thats what i do
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Old 01-10-13, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by nesdog View Post
FWIW, I'd consider taking the bike in the car up to Malibu. Then you have a safer entry into the Santa Monica's without dealing with PCH.
Do you mean park in Malibu, ride down to Santa Monica, turn around, and return to your car in Malibu? If so I don't really see the advantage. I just moved to Santa Monica last month and have been meaning to try PCH north but don't want to do it solo my first time out. Looking on Google Maps it doesn't look bad north of Temescal Canyon (and you can use the beach path south of there.) There appears to be a pretty decent sized shoulder but I don't know if the cars respect the white line...

To the OP, this is the route I use heading south to Redondo Beach. You want to avoid the beach trail until you get south of Marina Del Ray (it's slow and littered with people.) South of MDR it hasn't been very busy even on the weekends (ya I know, summer is a different story.) If you're new to the area it's a very straight forward ride. It can be extended to around 45-50 miles R/T if you go down to Rancho Palos Verdes. To keep it simple you can just take Main St the entire way through Santa Monica and move over to Ocean if your GF lives north of the Pier.

https://app.strava.com/activities/34657777

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Old 01-10-13, 11:20 PM
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No, park in Malibu and head into the hills and don't attempt to ride down to Santa Monica at all. Especially not if Mel Gibson is out for a drive.
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Old 01-11-13, 11:14 AM
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and avoid Cher's house, too.
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Old 01-13-13, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
Do you mean park in Malibu, ride down to Santa Monica, turn around, and return to your car in Malibu? If so I don't really see the advantage. I just moved to Santa Monica last month and have been meaning to try PCH north but don't want to do it solo my first time out. Looking on Google Maps it doesn't look bad north of Temescal Canyon (and you can use the beach path south of there.) There appears to be a pretty decent sized shoulder but I don't know if the cars respect the white line...

To the OP, this is the route I use heading south to Redondo Beach. You want to avoid the beach trail until you get south of Marina Del Ray (it's slow and littered with people.) South of MDR it hasn't been very busy even on the weekends (ya I know, summer is a different story.) If you're new to the area it's a very straight forward ride. It can be extended to around 45-50 miles R/T if you go down to Rancho Palos Verdes. To keep it simple you can just take Main St the entire way through Santa Monica and move over to Ocean if your GF lives north of the Pier.

https://app.strava.com/activities/34657777

Thanks for the advice. I looked at your Strava route...my girlfriend lives at 11th and Washington--literally one block from your starting point!
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Old 01-13-13, 02:18 PM
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Your GF must have a good job, rent isn't cheap around here PM me if you want someone to show you the route. The portion on surface streets can be confusing at first but once you get on the beach path it's smooth sailing.
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Old 01-13-13, 02:23 PM
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She's a middle school teacher...been doing that for something like 20 years. I'll send you a PM, thanks for the invite.
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Old 01-13-13, 02:32 PM
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I tried PM'ing you, and I got an error message-I have to have at least 50 posts to send a PM. Whatever...probably an anti-spam thing.

Let me do a series of meaningless posts to get to the magic number, and I'll try again.
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