Most mornings when I walk my son to school, I see a neighbor biking with her two kids. I don’t think I would be more impressed if she picked them up and flew away like Supergirl. Biking in some traffic-congested neighborhoods of Los Angeles is not for the faint of heart (well my faint heart anyway), but it can be done. I talked to Sara Villalobos of the app My City Bikes about how to start riding.
My City Bikes is a nationwide public health campaign to support beginning cyclists and get people outside and moving. I downloaded the free My City Bikes Los Angeles app and I love it. It has sections with tips on bike maintenance, kid safety and links to beginning bike routes in LA for trail, street, and commuter rides. Each ride guide includes a map, the distance, and what you need to know about the route.
“It’s really an exciting time to be a bicyclist,” Villalobos said. Especially in Los Angeles. LA was once a city that was all about cars, but now more and more bike routes are popping up and more people are riding.
Villalobos had a few tips for people when they first start riding on the road. First, drive the route and notice how the cars are interacting with bikers. Is there a bike route? Can you leave the main road and travel down side streets to your destination?
“Just because someone wants to bike doesn’t mean you have to bike on the road in traffic,” she said. She also recommended being positive and thinking that one more person on a bike (me) is one less person in traffic.
So let’s say you want to be that one less person in traffic. Villalobos and My City Bikes LA recommends the following 6 routes for beginning bikers. To read about more bike trails, see our post about the Best Bike Trails for Kids in Los Angeles.
- Marvin Braude Bike Trail (aka The Strand) – We bike this route often. This path starts at Will Rogers State Beach and travels South to Torrance Beach. Most of the 22-mile path is along the beach. This popular route is great for beginning bike rides as long as it’s not too crowded.
- Griffith Park – Griffith Park has a 9-mile paved path. It’s also home to the Los Angeles Zoo and the Autry so you make a day of it.
- Gabrielino Trail in La Cañada – A good beginner trail that is both paved and unpaved.
- Tank Fire Road in Wittier – The fire road connects to other trails so bikers can go as far as they feel comfortable.
- UCLA – The college campus area can have less traffic and be fun for kids to ride (especially when school is not in session).
- Metro Orange Line Bike Path – The path is an 18-mile trail that parallels the Orange Line from North Hollywood to Chatsworth.
And don’t forget about CicLAvia. The occasional event is a great way to start riding. Every couple of months the city is blocked off from traffic so riders can enjoy the road car-free. Check the website for times and locations.
My City Bikes serves 300 communities in the United States, Canada and Australia.
Disclosure: I don’t have one. I love biking with my family!