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Four LA bike rides: Explore the city on two wheels

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From the beach to the mountains

The bike path along Ballona Creek.
Education Images/Getty Images

With spring upon us, being outside is pleasant again. This is just the time to pump up your tires and expand your repertoire of bike rides. We enlisted local bike experts who shared some of their favorite LA-area rides with us.

The routes are a mix of different objectives and surroundings, but whether it’s an educational public art ride, an intense but rewarding mountain ride, or a traffic-bypassing ride to a popular LA destination, all the rides are an excellent way to see the city from a new perspective.

P.S. If you’re looking for more ways to get outdoors in Los Angeles, here’s our seasonal pocket guide, our favorite routes to the Hollywood Sign, and a round-up of eight trails with spectacular endings.

1. If you’re looking to learn about LA as you ride

“The Eastside Mural Ride is still fairly new, but what makes this group ride stand out for me is that it combines history, community, murals, and bikes. Multicultural Communities for Mobility has put on the ride annually for the last three years with the same intention: to learn more about the history of murals in these Eastside communities, the history they reflect, the stories behind them, and the artists who painted them.

The rides have visited Boyle Heights, East LA, and City Terrace so far. Throughout the tour, the ride organizers also make it clear that we support the fights against displacement and art-washing many of these communities are facing. When we can, we give away bicycle helmets and lights while reinforcing safety and equitable for bicycles/pedestrians infrastructure that benefits existing community members.” —Erick Huerta, Multicultural Communities for Mobility

2. If you’re looking to escape the city and are willing to break a sweat to do it

Zach Rynew/CiclaValley

“Biking up Highway 39 to Crystal Lake is one of the best rides that will make you forget city life even though you're less than an hour from it. For first timers, buy a $5 Daily Adventure Pass in Azusa and drive to the East Fork/Cogswell Dam area to start your 14-mile journey.

This ride is for intermediate and advanced cyclists as the heavy climbing off the bat sets the tone for the duration. If you're not panting too hard, you'll instantly notice the quietness and feeling of isolation as you can track oncoming traffic from miles away.

At mile five, the San Gabriel Mountains open up to you like the Eastern Sierras, displaying a vast yet secluded panorama with voluminous accents of green and red no matter the time of year.

At the end of the climb, stop into the Crystal Lake Café and grab a sandwich and refreshments before making your way back down. You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something special.” —Zach Rynew, CiclaValley

3. If you want to get to the beach but you don’t want to bike the whole way

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“Especially for those who don’t live on the Westside, getting to the beach can seem like a real schlep, but it doesn’t have to be if you’ve got a bike. The Ballona Creek Bike Path takes cyclists from the Culver City area straight to the ocean without the fuss of navigating potholed city streets or stopping at red lights.

Even better, the path starts from Syd Kronenthal Park, about a block away from the Expo Line’s La Cienega/Jefferson station, which makes it easy to take the train in for part of the ride.

The approximately 7-mile-long ride cruises along a mostly flat, paved route, making it a great ride for people traveling with beginning riders or kids. The route follows a concrete flood channel for much of the way, but eventually hits wetlands that attract a variety of birds, local and migratory.

The well-traveled path goes all the way to Playa del Rey, linking up to the beachy Marvin Braude Bike Trail, for those looking to bike a little more.” —Bianca Barragan, carfree Curbed LA associate editor

4. If you’re looking to merge your packed social calendar and biking

#bike #parking #dodgerstadium #bikedupthehill #bikela

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“Getting to games at Dodger Stadium without a car has gotten better in recent years for someone living in the Los Angeles metro area.

I've tried different ways to get to games with friends and family: walking from Chinatown, taking the Dodger Stadium Express from Union Station, or biking from Downtown or Hollywood. While biking isn't the easiest option, it's a fun challenge with a group of friends who are up to the task of riding up Vin Scully Avenue from Sunset and Cesar Chavez.

While there are always opportunities to improve this experience for those who don't drive, Dodger Stadium has added more spots designated for bicycle parking and better routes set up for people who walk and bike up to the stadium. In the meantime, doing this in groups can make having to face the post-game sea of cars less intimidating.” —Maria Sipin, Multicultural Communities for Mobility