Saturday, August 10, 2013

Adventuring // Santa Monica and Long Beach Bike Paths

Santa Monica Biking // Boardwalk Sign

Making a 2013 Summer List looks like it's been a good idea. I mean, lists in general are amazing, but this one has really helped remind me of the things I want to accomplish-- and since they're all fun and decently-easy to accomplish, it's been great slowly crossing them off the list.

I was an overachiever with the "bike from Santa Monica to wherever that concrete bike path leads" since not only did I do that today, but I also went biking with Steph and part of her family in Long Beach before the San Diego Safari Park trip. For someone who hasn't gotten on a bike since early high school {and even then it was iffy}, not bad, not bad.

I get the feeling that I was not born to bike. I like the freedom it affords, the fact that you can go places you couldn't in a car, the environmentally friendly aspect of this means of transportation, the exercise, and the distance you can travel without expending a large amount of effort, but... I don't like going downhill {cause I feel super out-of-control}, biking around unpredictable people/cars {cause they might cut in front of you}, or sharp turns {cause my chances of falling over get a lot higher}. So. Trade off.

Santa Monica Biking // Stone Seahorse
Santa Monica Biking // Sea Mist Bike Rentals
Santa Monica Biking // Venice Fishing Pier
Oh hey. You can see the giant V-shaped bruise on my shin. It's a lovely deep shade of purple in person.

How Santa Monica's bike path compares to the one in Long Beach:
+ Santa Monica feels a bit more intermediate, whereas Long Beach is very much a beginner bike path. If you haven't gotten on a bike in ages, a ride in Long Beach will reacquaint you with feeling like a crash course.

+ Santa Monica has a few pretty sharp turns on the way to Venice Beach. I'm not sure how the girls on the tandem bike in our group navigated those... Consider me impressed. Long Beach is basically a straight shot from one end to the other, with a few gentle curves along the way.

+ If you're going biking on the beach for the leisure factor, Long Beach is your place. Few people, wide paths, open beaches, friendly pedestrians and fellow bikers. You can hear the wind in your ears and if you're with friends, you can have a conversation without yelling. It's quiet and calming.

+ If you're going biking to people-watch, sight-see, or to test your obstacle-avoidance skills, Santa Monica is more for you. People EVERYWHERE, crazy mix of amateur and too-competitive-for-their-own-good bikers, narrow paths, yappy dogs, giant surfboards, small children...

There's so much to look at when you bike this path, but you can't take your eyes off the road lest you hit someone/something. My heart was in my throat the entire time. And by the time we got back to the bike shop, my thumbs were sore from gripping the handlebars so tightly. I'm not sure stressed, tense, and shell-shocked are emotions you want to have after a bike ride along the beach.

+ I am, I will more than willingly admit, a very cautious biker. However. If you give me a long straightaway with very few people along it, I will see how fast I can go and/or race you. And love every second of it. Long Beach is perfect for us closet speedsters. Santa Monica... not so much.

+ I did love seeing {via my peripheral vision since I couldn't actually look away from the path} how the atmosphere changes when you take the Santa Monica route. We started across from the aquarium which is completely tourist-filled and commercial, then it becomes more surfer and body-builder territory {complete with kids in wetsuits and surfboards on bikes}. That slowly morphs into gorgeous beach houses with off-the-wall architecture {which is one of the things I love about Venice} and suburban joggers, and the last area is the Venice Beach people imagine {street vendors, crazy artwork, hobo/boho chic}.

+ Renting bikes in Long Beach ($12) was a bit more expensive than in Santa Monica ($7), mostly because there is so much more competition in the latter location. Also, the bikes in Long Beach are newer and in better condition, so it all evens out.

Conclusion: I personally prefer biking in Long Beach, but really, either is good exercise and quite fun if you go with friends. *grins* You feel very Southern-Cali when you're biking along the beach, sunshine beaming down on you, wind whistling by, surfers in the distance. It makes your heart happy and is oddly freeing, considering you're constrained by the two wheels you're balancing on. You should try it.


Sea Mist Bike Rentals
1619 Ocean Front Walk
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Wheel Fun Rentals
419 Shoreline Village Drive
Long Beach, CA. 90802

{find our Long Beach biking adventure here}

No comments:

Post a Comment