11 Miles and Growing
New Beach Bikeway
Jo Cooper
  Torrance Beach - Do you like miles and miles of beach all to yourself? Try my favorite ocean ride. New, 14 feet wide, paved, exclusive bikeways have just been dedicated in March, 1974, which combined with the existing biking facilities means yiou can bike 11 miles along the Pacific Ocean from Torrance Beach to Playa del Rey. If you have the fortitude and the time, there is also a bike route from Marina del Rey to Santa Monica. This northern portion, however, is only open to bikes before 9 a.m. from April 30 to September 1sr, as you must share the boardwalk with the beach pedestrian traffic.
     A little north of the Santa Monica Pier, the bikepath ends. If you want to go from Santa Monica north to Malibu, you must join the Pacific Coast Highway traffic and travel past Will Rogers State Park Beach area. This is a heavily traveled road and you may feel safer in your car.
     You can start at either end of the bikepath; Torrance Beach (south) or Santa Monica (north) or any place in between, but I suggest starting near the middle of Playa del Rey.
     To get there, take the Jefferson Blvd. off ramp from teh San Diego Freeway. Follow Culver to its end at Pacific Ave.
     Here you'll even find two good bike rental places if you happen to be visitng Los Angeles without your bicycle. The Bike Pit, next to La Marina Inn, is open from 8:30 a.m. "until the bikes come back." and rents 3-speeds for $1.25 an hour, $3,00 forr half-day, $5,50 all day,
     The Handlebar Stop at the corner of Culver and Pacific has 10-speeds as well as 3-speeds. They charge a little more, but also have a repair shop. You won't really need a 10-speed as this route is all flat.
Start Early
     Start early, at least by 9 a.m., for easier parking, or pay to park in back of the La Marina Inn restaurant.
     To find the bike path, follow te sign to the Westport Beach Club along Trolley Way. When you get to the Beach Club, ride on to the beach at Surf Street where the sign says, "Service Road Do Not Enter." This sign refers to automobiles. By the time you read this, my complaints may have produced a better sign here at the start of the paved bike path.
     The path winds for miles right on the beach. In fact, you msut bge careful not to slip where the sand blows across the pavement.
     Be sure to take both a sweater and a swim suit. The Sunday we were there started out at 60 degrees in the morning and went up to 80 in the afternoon. The ocean breeze is sometimes colder than you may figure when you're up at your car.
     You can change to a swim suit along the way if you want to stop for sun and swimming. There are plenty of restrooms and bike racks.
     At the city limits between Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach you have to take The Strand, a boardwalk also used by pedestrians. This goes as far as King Harbor (Harbor Blvd. and Herondo St.). Here you have to join the traffic on Harbor Blvd. for awhile, but it isn't bad. (To find this bikepath entrance if you're heading north, watch for the Edison Company on Marbor Blvd. and turn into the Charthouse Restaurant parking lot.). Heading south along Harbor Blvd. watch for Redondo Beach Pier (big sign for Cattlemen's Restaurant). Cut through an underground parking area and walk your bike by shops and a choce of 8 or 9 good restaurants.
Charming Shop
     Just south of a charming Parisian style (outside tables), coffee and bake shop, you can start on another well-marked bikepath along the beach. This goes all the way to Torrance Beach. None of this route is difficult to follow.
     On weekends especially you can just follow the bicycles. many people I met bike there every Sunday. It wasn't too crowded from 9 to 11 a.m., but I'd advise that during the summer months you ride as early as possible.
     If you prefer to start at the southern end, take Pacific Coast Highway 1 to Redondo Beach. Look on the west side of the street for the Wooden Shoe Coffee Shop, (a good place to stop),. At the next light, turn west on Ave. 1, then south on Esplanade. There is a parking lot on Esplanade at Torrance Beach with a ramp down to the beach.
     IF you want to bike on up to Santa Monica, you msut leave the beach at Playa del Rey and detour through the traffic of marina del Rey. There are two routes. Again, you can jsut follow the cyclists who have found the short cuts that are available at the moment. At this writing you can:
(1) Go north on Pacific, across the bridge toward Fisherman's Village, then detour along a dirt ;path for a ways to a torn place in the fence onto Fiji Blvd. (just across frm the Pieces of Eight Restaurant). Follow Fiji along the Marina, turn left at Admiraly Way where you'll enjoy the hundreds of beautiful sailboats, right on Via Marina, and left at Washington Blvd. to the pier at the foot of Washington.
(2) (a little onger) Follwo Culver Blvd turn left onto Fiji, right onto Admiralty Way, right onto marina, and left onto Washington Blvd. From the pier you can get back onto the beach and go north all the way to Santa Monica Pier, but remember this section is onlhy ope to bikes before 9 am April 30 to Sept. 1.
     If all this sounds complicated, just park your car at Marina del Rey and bike north. Come back early, drive to Playa del Rey, and bike south and back.
     Ken Johnson, the Deputy Director of Beaches in Los Angeles County, assured me there is a proposal now before the Coastal Committee to get approval for extending the bikepath from the Marina jetty to Washington Blvd. where it would connect with the Santa Monica Bikewya. They hope to begin construction sometime this year.
     Jim Cole of the Small Craft Harbor Commission says plans have already been approved for a bikepath throght the Marina. They are only waiting to find out where the City of Los Angeles will put the ends of their paths so tie-in points mesh. Negotiations are also underway with Howard Hughes Associates for paving the dirt path parallel to Fiji Blvd.
The new bikepath was funded by a Federal land and Water Grant of $626,000 matched by funds from L. A. County. Supervisor James A. Hayes, (L.A. County) worked very hard to make it possible.
The stretch from Playa del Rey to Manhattan Beach covers many miles of beach taht are inaccessible to cars or pedestrians. The nearest road is 100 feet up a steep cliff and all fenced off. It is truly a beach-loving bicyclist's dream.
  Assignment per phone
4/5/74 - $25.00
1260 words
by Ralph Cooper, 10-17-07
     This was one of several articles written on assignment by Jo and published in the High Gear newspaper in the mid- 74's. We actually traveled the entire route, Jo on her three-speed, me on my 10-speed. It was a very enjoyable outing, one we wanted to repeat. Jo was especially proud of the fact that they paid her for her efforts.

BackBack Home