Los Angeles has two major off-road bike paths alongside the Pacific Ocean.
The northern one runs from Pacific Palisades down to Redondo and the southern one runs from Long Beach south to Naples.
I chose to do the first route ... which is called the South Bay Bicycle Trail ... on a very misty late October day.
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.
I started the Trail on the Will Rodgers State Beach opposite Temescal Canyon Road.
Apart from the odd jogger the beach was empty.
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.
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.
Ahead the massive Santa Monica pier looms through 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.
The bike trail passes under the pier and heads on towards Venice Beach.
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.
The Venice Boardwalk attracts masses of tourists attracted by the lively beach scene.
The boardwalk is lined with shops and cafés ... in front of which street performers and vendors ply their trade
One particular Venice speciality seems to be roller-skating guitar players who serenade tourists ...
... mostly unsuccessfully as far as I could see.
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.
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.
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.
The trail now loops round the exclusive Marina del Rey ... which is filled with luxurious yachts and surrounded by expensive apartment blocks.
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.
The southernmost end of this trail runs along a long narrow promontory between Ballona Creek and the entrance to the Marina.
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.
Beyond Playa del Rey industry intrudes on the coast. Cyclists are treated to views of a power station and a sewerage treatment works.
Alongside the power station is a sign warning of hang gliders.
When I returned they were practicing launches from a 20' high sand dune and gliding down onto the beach.
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.
In Manhattan houses again begin to front the ocean side ... including a number of 'interesting' designs.
One house was covered by a mutilcoloured tent. Were the owners having a makeover and wanting to keep it secret from the neighbours? ...
... or was it just being treated with chemicals to kill termites which threaten the most wooden houses in California?
Manhattan has it own pier as does Hermosa the next city on the trail south.
I was beginning to loose track of all these piers ...
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.
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 ...
... before emerging at the entrance to Redondo Beach Pier ... I don't think I can cope with any more piers.
At least the pier provided a refreshment stop ... I wasn't too keen on the live crabs so I settled for an ice cream.
Beyond the pier lies Redondo and Torrance Beaches.
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.