Posted on by Keelin Burke

THE BEST PLACES TO BIKE AND PADDLE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Old-school beach vibes are great, but California has so much more to offer than just classic palm trees and salty air. Get your fill of adventure and explore the lesser-known side of SoCal on two wheels.

CALIFORNIA DREAMING

Let's start with the basics. If you’re still looking for that old-school beachy outing equipped with ice cream, hot dogs, salt water, and a whole lot of sun, there’s no better place than the Santa Monica Pier. Skate down the beach path and up the boardwalk with an ice cream cone in hand. Grab your bike and join in the age old tradition of coasting down the coast. The mainstay is to bike from on the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, known to locals as "The Strand." The trail begins at Will Rogers State Beach and will take you down to Torrance Beach, roughly a 2 hour ride one way. The trail is well marked and relatively flat, making it perfect for beach cruisers and fixed gears. Plus, you'll get the salty air and California sun you've been dreaming of. 

Hop in the ocean for a swim, and wrap up your day with the age-old American tradition of a hot dog atop the Pier. What could be better?

HEAD FOR THE HILLS

If mountain biking is more your speed (or speeds...haha) you're in the right place. 

Drive north up the famous PCH and into Topanga State Park. Single-speeds and beach cruisers are not recommended on these trails. Eagle Rock is a moderately challenging trail that weaves its way through the Santa Monica Mountains and up to a giant sandstone rock embedded into a mountain. The route is frequented by both hikers and cyclists, so as you're completing your trek be aware of other guests on the trail. The challenging incline is met with a comfortable ocean breeze. Take in gorgeous views of sprawling mountains, ocean scenes, and unique rock formations along the way.

You've heard of Malibu Barbie, but this trail isn't really her scene. Malibu is more than just beaches, millionaires, and parties. The Zuma Ridge Trail is a challenging mountain pass with scenic ocean views. The trail alternates between multiple elevations with gorgeous views of the mountains and crisp ocean breeze.

The San Gabriel Mountains are filled with mountain trails ranging from moderate to extremely challenging. The Gabrielino Trail is 25 miles long in total, however most cyclists conquer the trail in sections. The route includes a waterfall and reaches over 4,000 feet in elevation and is rarely crowded because of its challenging nature. The trail is north of Pasadena and can be easily accessed by traveling into the Angeles National Forest starting at the Chantry Flats. Be aware of horseback riders while you're on the trail, they also frequent the mountainous route.

With any mountain trail, arrive prepared with a bike you know can handle the intensities of the ride. Don't forget plenty of water, and be prepared to sweat. These trails are workouts, and require some time set aside to complete in their entirety. 

CITY SLICKER

Grab your fixie/single-speed and let's get going. Riding down the LA River doesn't go down as the most scenic route in history, but it is an immersive ride alongside the concrete feat toward DTLA. One path in particular begins at the LA Zoo on the northern end of Griffith Park and meanders through the park down to Elysian Park near Dodger Stadium. The path can be completed in an hour (two hours round trip), and is perfect for city bike and single-speed owners who feel like biking on a paved road without dodging a ton of traffic. 

START THE JOURNEY

City, beach, or mountain - we've got the bikes to get you there.

CHATHAM

The Chatham-1 single-speed beach cruiser for men tops the charts as the most straightforward bike to ride and maintain. One gear. Coaster brakes. No cables. Simple.

MOTLEY

Meet Motley: a rugged hybrid bike built to get you from point A to point B… then all the way to point Z and back again, with the benefit of 21 speeds and super shock-absorbent Zoom suspension fork and saddle.

HARPER

The Harper single-speed fixed-gear is the next generation of commuter bike designed for all your city adventures and beyond.