Cycling and Bicycle Paths in Southern California

A list of popular bike paths, varieties of bicycles, and cycling safety tips for riding in Southern California. "The Strand" and "Ballona Creek" are two routes covered.

Cycling is great exercise, a fun hobby and a more "green" way to get around.  Southern California has some of the best beaches, cities, and weather in the United States.  Cycling in Southern California is a great way to explore these benefits, and this article will cover popular bike paths, varieties of bicycles and safety tips.

  • Popular Bike Paths 
    • The Strand is a twenty-two mile bike path, from the Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles to Torrance County Beach, Redondo Beach.  The Strand follows the Pacific Coast Highway.  This paved path allows sight-seeing of some of the most popular beaches in the United States.  
    • Ballona Creek is a six mile bike path, from Culver City to Marina del Rey.  It follows the wetlands of Ballona Creek, and provides views of endangered wildlife.  There are art installations visible from the path in Playa Vista and Marina Del Rey.  This path connects with The Strand.   
  • Varities of Popular Bicycles  
    • Beach Cruisers are cute, fun, and have a great "retro" feel.  Many of the beach cruisers available are one speed, and for those accustomed to mountain, road, or hybrid bicycles, this may be a large adjustment.  The frame itself can also feel very heavy compared to other types of bicycles.  Beach cruisers are excellent for coasting and are both challenging and rewarding to ride uphill.  The wide tires also provide for a more stable, laid back ride.  Cruisers promote excellent posture and can help exercise back, stomach and leg muscles.  Many cruisers have baskets, which can be useful for planning picnics, beach trips, grocery trips and other outings.  If you are looking for a fun, relaxed yet challenging ride for day-trips and sightseeing, a beach cruiser is for you!
    • Road Bicycles are smart bikes to ride all day.  They are much lighter than beach cruisers, have multiple gears, high pressure tires, and drop handlebars.  They are made for endurance and can be very fast.  They are intended for use on paved roads.  
    • Hybrid and Utility Bicycles are great investments for large varieties of cycling.  They can handle unpaved roads and paths, can carry larger amounts of weight.  They are intended for riding around cities and towns as well as in rural settings.
    • Recumbent and Tandem Bicycles are less practical for everyday use, but are fun, challenging, and a great workout.  Recumbent Bicycles are a very non-traditional ride.  The rider cycles from a reclined position, steering with handlebars often found near the seat.  Tandem Cycling allows for two or more people two ride the same bicycle.  This requires coordination between the riders which can be very difficult.  Tandem bicycles are very popular among families, allowing little ones to ride with adults.  These are excellent bicycles to rent from cycleries, but may be impractical to ride everyday.  Many tourists and recreational cyclists rent recumbent or tandem bicycles in groups along The Strand. 
  • Bicycle Safety 
    • Always wear a helmet.
    • Check your bicycle regularly for maintenance issues.
    • Wear bright, tight fitting clothing without dangling straps.
    • Use a bicycle bell to alert other pedestrians and cyclists.
      • Calling out "On your left" or "On your right" when passing others promotes courtesy and safety for you and others.
    • Stay alert in traffic, and follow all traffic laws.
    • Only cycle at night with proper reflectors and lights.  Be especially alert at night, ready to stop quickly if necessary.
    •  Be courteous and careful, and most of all, use common sense!

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