The Los Angeles Experience

I didn’t blog much over the past few months. It’s not that I wasn’t ridding, it’s just that I never seemed to find my kind of rides in time. The difficulty with this plan to frequently move is that it takes me about as long just to hear about the kind of rides I’d love to be on. LA also seemed to have relatively few adventurous riders and no real sense of randonneuring. That’s not to say that I wasn’t riding though.

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I seemed to literally make a circle with my routes. In the beginning, I was riding to the northwest in the Santa Monica mountains. This is excellent grounds for climbs, with very little traffic. My favorite ride here was the Gran Fondo, culminating with a climb on Piuma. Another good one was Tuna Canyon – a one-way descent through a twisty canyon that feels extremely isolated, yet is literally connected to the infamous Pacific Coast Highway.

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Then I meandered more north to the canyons above Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and Hollywood. These were close by, and although they had more traffic, they were fun to ride and still difficult climbs all around. I even did a midnight ride here with a group, overlooking the cityscape of lights.

I moved onto the northeast, aiming for group rides out of Pasadena headed east under the big hills. It’s 20-25 miles away, but this was the only place I could find group rides that weren’t simply up-n-down the coast highway. After riding to a group ride with no group showing up, I ran into Will, who was also into adventurous riding, as he led me through a mountain bike area, and told me about a big fast group ride I would later come back for. We also rode together to Santa Barbara, which was my last long ride in the area.

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To cap off my circle, my final rides were to the southeast. This was the first I heard of #CoffeeOutside, where serious cyclists converge for a very serious coffee drinking party. It wasn’t far, it wasn’t intense ride, but it was a great way to spend a morning with a good group, while we made coffee over camp stoves. More on that to come later.

In a nutshell, I think I now understand the hashtag #LASucksForCycling. There are great opportunities for all sorts of rides, but in order to get to them, you just might need to ride through 25 miles of city, or 25 miles of parked cars on the PCH. And other than some racing groups and some very late night somewhat questionable groups, it’s tough to find others just looking for an adventure. I’m sure more of it exists, but I didn’t find it in time. At least the weather is always perfect.

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3 Responses to The Los Angeles Experience

  1. Harald says:

    Very interesting report — never been to LA myself. I can sympathize with the issue of it taking a while to find the right people to ride with. I’ve just now gotten a clue what kind of rides and riders there are in Madison, and Madison is minuscule compared to LA. I hope the Bay Area will work out better for you.

  2. Andrew Squirrel says:

    I wanna hear about these “very late night somewhat questionable groups”. Sounds like a sister club for Point 83.

    • Andy says:

      There are many subgroups within Midnight Ridazz in LA, and I rode on three. I had heard of Wolfpack Hussle before, as a fast city group, although my one ride with them was just a half dozen riders and we went up into the hills. The Passage appears to be trying to fill in their map, so my ride with them involved some night hiking with the bike. My last ride was with Ktown: it was a huge crowd of maybe 60 fixies, and the ride started at 10:30pm and flew down the LA river trail at 20+ mph until we got to Long Beach, which turned out to be an 80 mile ride for me.

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