With an average temperature of about 65 degrees Fahrenheit all year round, Los Angeles almost always has perfect riding weather. The sprawling metropolis, made up of 88 different cities all with diverse bikeway options, might seem overwhelming when you’re looking for the perfect place to ride. To help, we took the guesswork out of planning and put together a list of the top five best bike rides in LA.
From the San Gabriel Mountains to the Santa Monica Mountains and spaces in between (and adjacent, really), cyclists of all ages and levels have found enjoyment in biking. It’s excellent exercise, gives you a reason to get outside, and even serves as a better way to get around for commuters. According to recent LADOT reports, biking has increased 22% citywide compared to their report in 2017. If you’re a new biker interested in riding around LA but don’t know where to start, consider checking out CicLAvia events during which you can bike in certain areas car-free.
Biking in LA can be intimidating. Drivers aren’t known to be especially careful, and not all streets are designed with bicycles in mind. It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings. This includes other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. You might install headlights and tail lights for extra visibility during the day and at night. Always follow local bike and traffic laws. And before you head off riding into the Santa Monica sunset, be sure to keep your head safe with a cool bike helmet.
You might be surprised that dedicated highways for cycling, skateboards and mountain bikes exist in car-centric Los Angeles, but they do – and this is one of them. While the entire pavedLos Angeles River Trail, removed from LA’s infamous traffic, is a good 23.9 miles, there’s a chill 7.2-mile bike path that takes you from Griffith Park to Elysian Park (or vice versa). Break up the journey with a quick drink and a bite at Spoke Bicycle Cafe in Frogtown situated just off the path. There’s a bike repair shop and they offer rentals if you need a bicycle for the day.
So you want a chance to see the Hollywood Sign on two wheels? There are a few options, and cruising around Griffith Park is a solid bet. For a leisurely ride, you might decide to take Crystal Springs Drive, which connects to Zoo Drive and passes sights like the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round and Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn. Or, head up North Vermont Avenue toward Griffith Observatory for a more strenuous uphill burn. This urban escape borders both Burbank and Glendale. You can see both in the distance if you reach the park’s higher peaks (and if it isn’t too hazy). Be aware that not all trails and paths are open to bikes so keep your eyes on the signs.
The Marvin Braude Bike Trail (aka The Strand) is a path that spans the California coastline for 21 miles from Torrance County Beach to Will Rogers State Beach. Here you’ll find bike lanes alongside the run path for those anxious to see the coast on wheels (skateboard, anyone?). What could be better than riding along a smooth cement bikeway that winds you along the ocean? With so many places to stop in between, and the temptation to take a dip in the Pacific, The Strand is idyllic LA.
Nearby Chinatown you’ll find Los Angeles State Historic Park, a 32-acre open space area great for walking, cycling, running and picnicking, with a casual 1.2-mile loop. We added it to our list because you can make an afternoon of it, and it’s accessible by public transportation at Union Station. While you’re there, check out the public art scattered around the park.
If you find yourself in North Hollywood, check out Chandler Bikeway. It used to be old railroad tracks that cut through Burbank and were later converted into an out-and-back trail that spans a few miles. It’s paved, and there are marked lanes for walking and riding. The one tiny downside is the number of red lights along the path. The view of the Verdugo Mountains makes up for the potential stop and go.
Ballona Creek Bike Path is a 7.4-mile paved bike path sans cars that takes you from Culver City straight to the beach at Playa del Rey. It starts at Syd Kronenthal Park, but you might consider getting on at Duquesne Avenue to dodge the first mile of bumps and poor pavement conditions instead. Riders on this bikeway enjoy the calm ocean breeze in the afternoons and take in the beauty and wildlife of the wetlands.
If you’re looking for a challenge, look no further. Mandeville Canyon Road in Brentwood is a 5-mile winding out-and-back with a 1,000-foot elevation gain. (We’re sweating already.) Known around town as the longest dead-end road, you’ll start on Sunset Boulevard at Mandeville and ride your road bike or mountain bike all the way up, up, up. The best part? You’ll share the road with few to no cars or other people.
You may know the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena for a couple of things: football and the flea market. Turns out, it’s actually got a nice 3-mile loop that takes you by the golf course. It’s ideal for those who are looking for a more athletic ride. Be prepared to share the path with joggers, walkers, and other cyclists. It’s well-lit at night if you need to get in that post-work training.
We couldn’t forget our friends in Long Beach. Shoreline Bike Path is a multi-mile paved trail along the beach that was completed in 1988. It offers excellent views of the ocean and features marked lanes for bike traffic. A running path runs (no pun intended) parallel to the bike lanes. It tends to get crowded on weekends so make plans to go early if you want to avoid lots of people.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of great bike routes in and around LA. Here’s a fun idea: Write them on slips of paper, put them into a hat or jar, and pull one out each weekend. You’ll ride your way through LA in no time. Ready to ride? Our bike helmets are here for your stylish bike helmet needs and, of course, your safety.