The weather in California is so inviting it enables us Angelenos to be outside a good portion of the year. Pedestrians, cyclists, roller bladers and surfers abound in our city...and this includes the kids. But finding the safest spots for your child to practice their abilities and improve their skills can be daunting. To find bike maps online try BikeMap and search by city or LADOT's Bicycle Services site.
The South Bay Bicycle Trail
This incredibly long 22 mile stretch of wide concrete pathway runs along the beach, offering picturesque views of the ocean and all the busy people frolicking in the sand. You can pick it up at Will Rogers State Beach near Temescal and ride it all the way to Torrance County Beach. The Northernmost part of this path is often referred to as "The Strand" and ends around Venice Beach. Rider beware, this is a very heavily trafficked "roadway" for all sorts of wheeled ride-alongs, skaters and more. This path is definitely not for early beginners but a place to ride with your more seasoned and cautious rider.
Continue your beachside journey just a little further South and continue down the trail through Marina del Rey, Manahattan Beach and Redondo Beach before ending up in Torrance. You will encounter numerous shops, restaurants, restrooms and bicycle rental places along your way.
The Bluffs Park in Malibu
If your child is just starting out, skip the heavier traffic beach path and opt for a quiter one. Just across the PCH from Pepperdine resides Blufs Park. A favorite among locals this park offers a breathtaking cliffside view of the ocean, hiking trails down to the beach, playground equipment, baseballs and soccer fields, picnic areas and a wide, cement path that circles the entire perimeter of the park. This is the perfect serene place to take your toddler out for a test run on their tricycle. When they get tired of riding their bike they can run off some energy on the gym equipment.
Rio Hondo / San Gabriel River
If a park setting is more appealing to you than the crowded pathways at the beach you could try out the trails at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area Park in South El Monte. The park features several lakes and a connector trail between the Class I Rio Hondo bicycle path and the San Gabriel River bicycle path. Although there is a lot of greenery and trees, the fact that the park is in a flood basin and was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers the park is very flat which is great for new bicyclists.
Head just a little North of LA for 35 miles of biking paths through the town of Oxnard including a beachfront ride that will take you past the marina at Port Hueneme and up through the Channel Islands. While some of these are street paths and not suitable for children there are areas that are wider, flatter and less trafficked. Consult the online bike path listing for details.
Yes, all of Glendale.
The city of Glendale has implemented a master pan for kids who ride their bikes to school in an effort to keep the streets and pathways safer for them. They have improved their biking infrastructure to reflect this concern and are implementing safety and educational programs as well. So if you want your kid to ride their bike to school and feel safe about it, Glendale may be the place for you!
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