Sunday, November 18, 2012

Where To Bike Los Angeles...

Ever find yourself getting a little bored of riding the same old routes every weekend, saddling up with the same old group, seeing the same old faces? Well I hope not. But if you do, I suggest checking out the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition's (LACBC) monthly rides. They may provide you with a different pace, likely a different place, and certainly different faces riding next to you.

heading up Washingtonia robusta-lined Azusa Avenue

regroup atop the Santa Fe Dam, with distant views all around

Touring Los Angeles County is, I believe, a new series of monthly rides around the county hosted and led by the LACBC and Where To Bike Los Angeles authors, Jon Riddle and Sarah Amelar. This morning's ride provided a great little escape from the Sunday norm. Yesterday's rain gave way to dramatic clouds and on-again, off-again sun - perfect conditions really, for a ride through the San Gabriel Valley. Starting and ending in Glendora, the route took us through some of the foothill communities, down along the San Gabriel River Trail (SGRT), up the Rio Hondo and, even further up, into Monrovia Canyon Park. Having lived in the general area for the past sixteen or more years, most of the roads and paths were familiar. The one stretch that was new to me, the path along the Rio Hondo from the bosque del Rio Hondo, through El Monte and up to Peck Road Park was a nice surprise. Another nice surprise were my fellow riders. I expected mostly locals, but people came from, not just near, but from further afield too. That is a nice thing about the LACBC rides - they attract riders from all over, providing opportunities to ride places we may rarely ride, or may not be at all familiar with. Three quarters of the way through the route we took a short break at Merengue, a Cuban bakery and cafe in Monrovia, which has become a cycling favorite for many group rides through the area. With the one real climb of the day (to Monrovia Canyon Park) coming right afterward, it was a perfectly timed stop.

distinctly un-urban section of the route through the bosque of the Rio Hondo

what is it? guess (and see below for answer)

concrete channel of the Rio Hondo, and a nice smooth path

Lake at Peck Road Park, northern end of the bike path

I want to give a special thanks to Jon Riddle, not just for leading today's ride, but also for providing me with a copy of his co-authored book, Where To Bike Los Angeles. After I have had a little time to peruse all the information in the book, you can expect a full review of it here. For now suffice it to say that if you are looking for new places to ride in Los Angeles County, the guidebook is certainly worth looking into. So too are the monthly rides (the December ride sounds fantastic); I imagine that, like todays ride, they will cobble together sections of routes you may never have ridden before, take you past sites you have not seen, and introduce you to people who share the same cycling passion as yourself. That, after all, is what these rides are about. If you are a member of LACBC you should already get notices about upcoming rides, it you are not a member (and why are you not?), you can always check the website for upcoming events - the rides are free to members, plus a guest.
Answer to the above question: Protection from model airplanes.

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