LADOT Bike Blog had the pleasure of participating in his first LA River Ride. It was the 10th Annual LA River Ride, with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition playing gracious hosts. Many dedicated LACBC volunteers were on hand to help all the bicyclists get registered and ready for the ride.
It was a cloudy and early 7:00 AM when I rolled into the staging area beside the Autry National Center in Griffith Park. I had chosen to do the “Half Century Ride” of 50 miles, which would take me all the way to Dills Park in the City of Paramount and back again (map!). My ride started at 8:00 AM, so I had some time to check out the various booths, sample the different foods, top off my water bottle, and meet up with my friends. There were literally thousands of people milling about, preparing for their rides.
The ride started off slowly, but it had spread out enough to get comfortable by the time I hit Frogtown. The ride through Boyle Heights was both beautiful and interesting, with a pit stop at the gorgeous Hollenbeck Park. There was a small, yet amazing, section of Bike Path on the LA River near the Maywood Park pit stop that had been newly paved; it felt like riding on silk. It was too bad that other sections between there and Dills Park were awaiting new pavement. The deep gouges in the asphalt where it met up with the concrete sections of bridge underpasses were very uncomfortable to ride through. Even so, the ride was fantastic.
All the early clouds had burned off by the time I hit Dills Park in Paramount, and the sun was beating down pretty fiercely on the LA River. The Dills Park pit stop, then, was just what I needed.
The pit stop had a dedicated crew of sandwich makers who kept all the riders happy, especially LADOT Bike Blog.
After a short break to recharge and reapply copious amounts of sunscreen, I was headed back up the river towards Griffith Park. I needed to take an extra pit stop at Maywood Park on the way back, but the ride back was even more enjoyable than the one I took down in the morning.
More than anything else on this ride, I saw happy people. People smiling to themselves while they rode alone, people happy to be out with their friends, children waiving to bicyclists at intersections, cars honking encouragement to the riders, and people sharing a beautiful day along the LA River. And that was my real takeaway from the whole event. It was about getting outside and enjoying the amazing resources we have in LA.
You can check out the rest of LADOT Bike Blog’s LA River Ride photos here.
Biking in LA also has a great post up about their experience manning the booth at the staging area.