I simply couldn’t comprehend cycling in the maze below. Staying with a friend at Venice beach, he offered us the use of his rusty old beach cruiser bikes. We happily accepted his kind offer and discovered we could cycle the Strand cycle path. This path follows the sandy beaches from Santa Monica pier to Redondo Beach. The following morning we headed off with the bicycles clanking and squeaking their way towards Santa Monica. The bicycles funky shape matched the sunny L.A lifestyle and we were excited to be back on two wheels again.
Santa Monica pier was full of busy noise from people and the wild rides that were on offer… with the blue sky above and the squeals of delight from the roller coaster the place appeared to be a combination of magic and happiness.
The rolling lane of concrete path left Santa Monica taking us over the white Californian sands towards Venice beach. We pedalled past bulging muscles being tested in the outdoor gyms to any audience eager to watch, a clutter of tourist shops selling every item possible and a small array of colourful people trying to make a living by busking or begging with the aid of cardboard signs.
Rows of palm trees swayed above us as the path weaved between them like a hammock swinging in the breeze – putting us into a relaxed state of cruise control. Skateboard parks and ball courts were all a hive of activity – people swarming in like bees to play in the sunshine. We overtook the groovy people rollerblading, the dog walkers and the sweaty runners… it was a busy part of town! Our bikes zipped past beach homes eventually turning off the coast and on to a busy road taking us all the way to the boat filled – Marina Del Ray.
We followed the green bicycle signs as we slip in and around parts of the marina and stop for a quick refreshment break. Empty car parks, quiet roads and a bridge took the bike path over Ballona Creek and we arrived back on the sandy beach at Playa del Rey this time with fewer people about. At times the ocean is a far distance from the cycle track and we are reminded of its existence by the number of lifesaving huts dotted beside the water’s edge.
The path has small inclines and as gears are lacking on the designs our cruiser bikes we needed a bit of extra pedal power. The path unravels through Dockweiler State beach and a deep rumble could be heard above our heads.
We looked up to see the underbelly of a plane only feet above us. Los Angeles International airport is close by creating an interesting theatre in the sky for sunbathers using the beach. The planes rattle our eardrums, but we are captivated at their closeness and watch a few more of the noisy creatures land.
The white sand wisps over the quiet path that twists and turns like a single piece of linguine taking us past clusters of pastel coloured beach houses and the sturdy wooden Manhattan Beach pier sitting a top the deep blue waters of the Pacific ocean.
Like pumpkins in the garden houses seem to grow in size until they are enormous. They become more elaborate sitting right on the beach front trying to steal as much of the sea view as the neighbour next door. The sun shines and the seagulls squawk and soar above our heads – the warm breeze tickles our skin as we pick up our pace and whizz towards the hustle and bustle of Hermosa beach. We stop to briefly explore the colourful spot.
It isn’t long after that we soon find ourselves in Redondo harbour at an oyster bar surrounded by black and white photos of life along the waterfront, cosy red booths, a platter of fresh oysters and glasses of bubbly? How that came about I am still unsure – but it was a lot of fun!
Compared with my first impressions I can now say I have seen Los Angeles in a very sunny light…