The mere mention of riding a bike on the streets of L.A. is often met with the words “crazy” and “death wish.” While the city recently named the most car-congested in the world is making room for more bicycles – thanks to L.A. Department of Transportation’s added bikeways, Metro’s bike-share program and the individual efforts of bike shops and nonprofits dedicated to the cause — safety in numbers may be key, especially for anyone new to cycling streets.
You don’t have to be a MAMIL (Middle-Aged Man in Lycra), a ripped triathlete or a well-dressed fixie purist to explore our city by two wheels. It’s worth checking out the neighborhood bike shop for organized rides and classes. Here are a few upcoming group rides to get you rolling.
Inspired by Bogota’s ciclovía, the largest open-streets event in the United States closes portions of L.A. to cars, temporarily clearing the roads to Angelenos for use as a public park of sorts. Tens of thousands participate in this regularly occurring art crawl/food tour/consciousness-raising extravaganza. Each of CicLAvia’s casual bike rides is held in a particular section of L.A., allowing cyclists (as well as skaters and pedestrians) to safely experience the city. Culver City–Meets-Venice is the next one, on Sunday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. View the route map ahead of time and drop in or out as you wish — it’s not a race. Plan a feeder ride or take Metro. All wheels welcome.
Long Beach Street Grand Prix and Open Streets
Long Beach has gotten in on CicLAvia mania by organizing its own car-free events, such as the upcoming Beach Street Grand Prix ride on Tuesday, March 28, where Toyota will open its 1.5-mile grand prix track to bikes, strollers, roller skaters and walkers for lunchtime spins. The city’s fourth annual Open Streets event is set for Saturday, April 29, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Long Beach public affairs officer Kerry Gerot says turnout has been phenomenal since the first event, which drew 25,000 to 30,000 participants. “All are welcome, and there’s something for everyone at every cycling level, as well as a lot of family-friendly activities,” she says. More info here.
SGV Bike Train and Women on Wheels
Bike San Gabriel Valley teaches bike repair at its Bicycle Education Center and provides monthly Women on Wheels rides led by volunteers and staff who create a safe, supportive space for women of color interested in biking. Another monthly event, the SGV Bike Train, is family-friendly and includes two electric-powered pedicabs, free for people with mobility issues who want to participate. Bike marshals (League of American Bicyclists certified instructors) ride with the group, ensuring cyclists learn safety on city streets. The route is an easy to moderate one, surrounded by stunning vistas of the San Gabriel Mountains and designed to be “as inclusive as possible.” This month they have a downhill cruise starting at the South Pasadena Gold Line Station at 8 a.m. on Sunday, March 26.