Big dipper and ferris wheel on Santa Monica's pier
 
Del.icio.us   Digg!
 

Los Angeles' South Bay Bicycle Trail

-- click on thumbnails for larger image --

Will Rodgers State Beach Will Rodgers State Beach

Los Angeles has two major off-road bike paths alongside the Pacific Ocean.

Empty volleyball court

The northern one runs from Pacific Palisades down to Redondo and the southern one runs from Long Beach south to Naples.

One of the many lifeguard shelters which line the shore

I chose to do the first route ... which is called the South Bay Bicycle Trail ... on a very misty late October day.

Bike Trail running across the beach

A few weeks later Los Angeles was to experience record November temperatures of 36°C (97°F) ... so perhaps it was just as well it was misty.

Want an ocean view?

I started the Trail on the Will Rodgers State Beach opposite Temescal Canyon Road.

Flats alongside Santa Monica Beach

Apart from the odd jogger the beach was empty.

No takers for the beach parasols today
Palm tress on the bluff above Santa Monica beach Bikes waiting for riders

At this point California Highway 1 ... the Pacific Coast Highway ... runs alongside the beach.

As you cycle south a large bluff appears above the highway.

Large apartment blocks overlooking Santa Monica's beach Apartment block on the cliff at Santa Monica

The edge of bluff is lined by tall palm trees and large apartment blocks. This is the first sign of Santa Monica.

From here on the Pacific Coast Highway is hidden behind pastel coloured beach side houses.

Houses on the beach

Ahead the massive Santa Monica pier looms through the mist.

Santa Monica's pier emerging from the mist

As you get closer you can see that the pier houses a fun fair containing a big dipper and a ferris wheel as well as restaurants and an aquarium.

Big dipper and ferris wheel on Santa Monica's pier

The bike trail passes under the pier and heads on towards Venice Beach.

Trikes for hire

This section of the trial is probably the most appealing to visitors and there are several outlets offering bikes and skates for rent ... and fortunately plenty of cafés as well.

One of four Perry's Cafes

The Venice Boardwalk attracts masses of tourists attracted by the lively beach scene.

Trial winding through palm trees on the approach to Venice Beach

The boardwalk is lined with shops and cafés ... in front of which street performers and vendors ply their trade

Bungalow in all the colours of the rainbow

One particular Venice speciality seems to be roller-skating guitar players who serenade tourists ...

... mostly unsuccessfully as far as I could see.

Bikes ready for hire Some of Venice's beach side shops
Venice Beach murals Venice Beach murals Serenading on skates Beachside building for let
The Candle Cafe has seen better times Palm and tarot card reader

Another Venice trademark is the colourful murals which are plastered over the sides of buildings.

The official Bike Trail turns inland up Venice's Washington Boulevard to circle around Marina del Rey ... but I was interested to visit to the southern tip of the Beach.

Mini murals Venice's pier
One of Venice's less glamorous back streets ... called Speedway Venice's Grand Canal

My diversion took me through some of Venice's less glamourous back streets.

Southern tip of Venice Beach Venice's Grand Canal

It also gave me the chance to see some of the remaining canals.

Venice was established by property developer Abbot Kinney at the start of the 20th Century as a replica of its Italian namesake.

View across to Playa del Rey

Many of the original canals have been filled in but ... the Grand Canal remains ... looking a little sorry for itself.

From the southern end of the Beach you can see across the entrance to the marina and Ballona Creek to Playa del Rey ... where I was headed next.

Playground overlooking Marina del Rey

The trail now loops round the exclusive Marina del Rey ... which is filled with luxurious yachts and surrounded by expensive apartment blocks.

Space age boat?

The path round the marina is rather disjointed ... crossing roads and car parks before turning to join the Ballona Creek Bike Path.

This path runs inland as far as Culver City ... but I was to follow it back to the Ocean at Playa del Rey.

US Coastguard View back to Venice
Promontory carrying the Ballona Creek Bike Path Playa del Rey from the Ballona Creek Bike Path

The southernmost end of this trail runs along a long narrow promontory between Ballona Creek and the entrance to the Marina.

Bridge carrying bikes over Ballona Creek

At the ocean's edge a bridge takes the Trail over Ballona Creek and you arrive in Playa del Rey.

Playa del Rey contrasts with Venice Beach ... as it is mainly a residential area.

Bike path at Playa del Rey Bike path at Playa del Rey Beach side houses at Playa del Rey
Sand threatening to bury these houses Family group tackles one of the (modest) slopes
Trail snaking across the beach
Approaching Scattergood Steam Plant Scattergood Steam Plant

Beyond Playa del Rey industry intrudes on the coast. Cyclists are treated to views of a power station and a sewerage treatment works.

Watch out for hang gliders

Alongside the power station is a sign warning of hang gliders.

Hang glider

When I returned they were practicing launches from a 20' high sand dune and gliding down onto the beach.

Winding through the palm trees

Just beyond the power station lies Los Angeles International Airport.

Every few minutes a plane would take off ... I could only hear them as even a short distance from the runways they had climbed and disappeared into the low cloud.

The trail now crosses into the City of Manhattan Beach.

House disguised as a submarine conning tower A more classical style A normal house
Submarine from the side

In Manhattan houses again begin to front the ocean side ... including a number of 'interesting' designs.

Manhattan Beach Pier

One house was covered by a mutilcoloured tent. Were the owners having a makeover and wanting to keep it secret from the neighbours? ...

Modest building in a tent

... or was it just being treated with chemicals to kill termites which threaten the most wooden houses in California?

Hermosa Beach Pier

Manhattan has it own pier as does Hermosa the next city on the trail south.

Surfing statue

I was beginning to loose track of all these piers ...

Hermosa Beach Pier

This is surfing territory ... although today the air was still and there was little swell ... so the surfers were staying at home ... except one that was cast in bronze.

A busy King Harbor Emerging from the car park
Redondo Beach Pier at King Harbor Redondo Beach Pier
Multicoloured flags at King Harbor Ling Harbor

I then followed the trail along a rather tortuous path around King Harbor.

The harbour itself was packed full of both leisure and fishing craft.

The bike trail disappears from the sunlight into the darkness of a multi-story car park ...

Redondo Beach Pier

... before emerging at the entrance to Redondo Beach Pier ... I don't think I can cope with any more piers.

Kite shop ... King Harbor Fancy a crab? ... end of the pier ...
Shops lining the pier Plan of the pier

At least the pier provided a refreshment stop ... I wasn't too keen on the live crabs so I settled for an ice cream.

Leaving the pier behind Birds

Beyond the pier lies Redondo and Torrance Beaches.

Southern end of the bike trail

At the southern end of Torrance Beach the South Bay Bicycle Trail ends.

All that was left to do was to return the way I had come to the start. Even though I was having difficulty keeping track of the piers ...

... I knew where all the cafés were.

 

Return Sequence ...

sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
sequence sequence sequence sequence sequence
 

Kirby James

 
Del.icio.us   Digg!