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BASICS

Total Distance 41 miles
DIFFICULTY Easy-Intermediate

The third part of the Pier to Pier series, we’re continuing our journey down the coast with a ride from Santa Monica to Seal Beach. Depending on your fitness, penchant for urban riding, and size of your party, we’ve outlined some different ways to traverse the horn that separates LA and Orange counties.

SPECIFICS

San-mo Pier – Mile Zero

The safest and most iconic route runs along the beach and parallels the Ocean Front Walk where many vendors and performers set up shop. Follow this path to the Venice Fishing Pier and continue on Washington Blvd to the Marvin Braude Bike Path. This bike path, which is also a part of the 22 mile “Strand Bicycle Beach Path”, will guide you all the way around the marina starting from Washington Blvd/Mildred Ave and ending at Fiji Way. Fiji Way will end in a roundabout where you can start on the Ballona Creek Bike Path.

ALTERNATE Big group? If so, the boardwalk may not be the best option for you. Instead, ride along Main St. which parallels the coast and has a bike lane. Then connect to Admiralty Way (via Ocean) that will take you around the marina.

The bike path that leads you along the beach will weave through the sand past Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. The bike path continues through the harbor in Redondo, to the end of Harbor Dr., into Veterans Park, ending at Miramar Park on the border of Palos Verdes.

ALTERNATE While there is an alternative to riding on the beach path, I can’t recommend it. Even if riding in a large or fast group on Vista Del Mar, the conditions aren’t much better with a minimal shoulder and high traffic.

Crossing Over – Mile 19

Many routes can get you from Redondo to Long Beach via Torrance/Carson or taking PCH (Hwy 1) all the way down, but my route is a bit different. It takes you through Palos Verdes Dr on some rolling terrain that passes the Port of Long Beach via Anaheim St. In comparison to riding along the beach, this section takes you through some neighborhoods and roads with moderate traffic. In particular, some extra attention will be needed when navigating the three-way transition between Palos Verdes Dr West and Palos Verdes Dr North.

ALTERNATE As mentioned, there exists a recommended route that traverses through Torrance via Torrance Blvd and Del Amo Blvd to the Los Angeles River Trail. Both roads have sections of bike lanes, but they are not available the entire way.

The route between these two areas takes you through the City of Wilmington. I’ve ridden through this area many times and there are bike lanes present on West G St, which parallels Anaheim St, and then continues onto Anaheim St when crossing the railroad tracks on Alameda Street. While riding, there are two areas that will need some extra attention:

Caution AREA A 1-mile section at the bottom of Palos Verdes Dr and Anaheim St parallels Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park and has a substantial sized shoulder until you get to underneath the 110 Freeway. At this point the lanes narrow down just before allowing you to cut into the neighborhood onto West G St.

Caution AREA A 1-mile section on Anaheim St just before the 710 Freeway. As the bike lane ends, there are plenty of lanes for traffic to fill so don’t hesitate taking a lane as needed and lawfully allowed.

ALTERNATE If you’ve decided to take the Torrance/Carson route then your most direct shot to Long Beach is to ride down the Los Angeles River Trail.

South of the LA River – Mile 32

Once you’ve crossed the bridge over the Los Angeles River turn onto Daisy Avenue and then cross over to Chestnut, which turns into a shared lane. Follow this through to the bike path at Shoreline and Chestnut that will take you past Rainbow Lagoon Park and along Junipero Beach to Bayshore Park.

From here, it is a quick ride over Alamitos Bay on 2nd St to Marina Drive where you will pass by the harbor and cross over the San Gabriel River at the end of Alamitos Bay. From here you can find the pier easily after following Central Ave straight to Main Street and then take a right.

ALTERNATE Instead of going straight through Chestnut, the dedicated bike lanes which run westbound on 3rd and eastbound on Broadway will take you along a more direct route through the neighborhood. I’ll usually cut up to 3rd street after Alamitos Ave to visit one of my favorite coffee shops Lord Windsor Roasters! After about 2 miles you’ll encounter Bixby Park which is usually where I continue on 2nd St through the neighborhoods all the way down to and through Belmont Shores and around the marina the same way as described above. – JM

LISTEN TO JUSTIN MACIAS ON the weekly Bicyclist podcast, BICYCLIST.FM OR VISIT HIS WEBSITE WWW.CYCLISTTHINGS.COM