The 26-mile bike path that lazily stretches along the LA coast from Will Rogers Beach in the Pacific Palisades to Torrance County Beach down south is one of the best ways to enjoy the endless summer that is Los Angeles. (Disclaimer: Never have I ever ridden all 26 of those scenic miles and never do I intend to!) For those who don’t own a bike, there are rental stands up and down the coast that will get you on your way for less than you’d pay for a mimosa. You will want to avoid the path on the weekends if you can- on Saturday afternoons it is so crawling with Angelenos and visitors alike that I dare you to try to ride 10 feet without hitting a hemp-covered, guitar-strumming hippie or a fitness crazed mom in yoga pants. Nevertheless, many find it worth the trouble to brave the crowds. A day spent biking is one of the very best ways to get to know the city of angels.
Although some of the more hard-core bikers of the city have already sweat their way up and back down the path even before Pressed Juicery opens for the day, it is plain to see that the happiest bikers are the casual cruisers. To truly enjoy the day, bail off of your bike along the way and take in some amazing skateboarding at the famed dogtown skate park, a street performance that makes you feel like you climbed your way into a circus tent, or get some sand between your toes. The aforementioned skate park cost 2 million dollars to construct, so make sure to do a great job of appreciating it. You will also pass the original Gold’s Gym and Muscle Beach. This is the spot that Arnold Schwarzenegger pumped iron back in the 70s. Today you will see plenty of bodybuilders huffing and puffing over dumbbells the size of your car.
Venice is a wonderful place to sneak off the bike path. Bring a bike lock and head up to the rooftop restaurant at the Hotel Erwin to get a drink and survey your trail from a bird’s eye perspective. (Really though, bring a bike lock. Many stores include them with your bike rental if you ask nicely.) The Hotel Erwin screams creative, eclectic Venice. It even offers an Ink-and-Stay deal, which includes a bottle of tequila to down before you use your $100 credit for a tattoo from the hotel’s own tattoo and graffiti artist. Because, why not? If you opted out of the tequila, cruise over to Abbot Kinney Blvd, dubbed “the coolest block in America” by GQ magazine. They just might have been on to something. Eclectic stores offer one-of-a-kind t-shirts, shoes and bags. You will be forgiven if you mistake some of the boutiques for art galleries. Ask a bystander and they will reccommend you have brunch at Gjelina or a coffee at the obnoxiously hip Intelligentsia. Healthy California cuisine is done creatively and well at Gjelina. It has some of the best food around and if they aren’t accepting walk-ins, the ingenious Gjelina Take Away, known as GTA, will be happy to accommodate you. Intelligentsia often has a line out the door and down the block, but if you have the tenacity and don’t have to use the restroom, you will be rewarded for waiting in that line by a man with suspenders and a mustache handing you the most glorious $4 latte that you’ve ever had. I’ve waited in that line many a time and not once regretted it.
If and when you find your way back to the bike path, take a deep breath and smile. That’s the insider secret to capping off this perfect day that even most Angeleno’s still haven’t figured out.
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