Best Bike Rides Los Angeles  by Wayne D. Cottrell

Best Bike Rides Los Angeles Guide Book

by Wayne D. Cottrell (Falcon Guides)
Best Bike Rides Los Angeles  by Wayne D. Cottrell
Best Bike Rides Los Angeles offers descriptions of forty- five rides in the L.A. region, including twenty- three for road bikes and twenty- two for mountain bikes. The area of coverage is a rough 25-mile radius around central (downtown) L.A., skewed a bit toward the west. Because of its heavy urbanization, L.A. lacks distinct geographic regions. There are rivers, valleys, hills, mountains, and other enclaves; but the extensive development has led them to effectively merge into one another, or be “paved over.” Using area codes, this guide divides L.A. into four regions: central and southeast, north and northwest, northeast, and west and southwest.

© 2015 Wayne D Cottrell/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Bike Rides Los Angeles" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 45.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 45.

Ahwingna Pahe Mahar, loosely translated from the Gabrielino- Tongva language, means “Ahwingna Three Five.” The title is a reference to the Ahwingna Trail, which in turn is a reference to the ancient Ahwingna village and the length of the ride—“three five,” or 3.5 (although the actual length of the ride is 3.65 miles). The ride is a nifty and short but challenging mountain bike ride in the Puente Hills east of Los Angeles. The ride is a great beginner course, while offering enough of a challenge for the expert.
Hacienda Heights, CA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.65
The Azusadora 39 Classic is an adventurous 32.7-mile road ride that starts and ends in the mountainside suburb of Azusa. The ride travels up San Gabriel Canyon along SR 39, turns to head eastward along the east fork of the river, climbs to Glendora Ridge, and then descends into the city of Glendora before turning to head west for the return trip to Azusa. You are bound to see other cyclists out there; this is a popular route. Start from the intersection of Dalton and Sierra Madre Avenues in Azusa, immediately adjacent to Pioneer Park. Located along a row of cities that hug the San Gabriel Mountains, Azusa had a population of 47,047 in 2012. Contrary to popular belief, Azusa is not short for “everything from A to Z in the USA.” Rather, the city’s name was derived from the Gabrielino- Tongva place name “Asuksagna.”
Azusa, CA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 32.7
The Baldwin Hills Hahn- wind is a 3.35-mile jaunt through Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in the Los Angeles community of Baldwin Hills. Although the ride is short, it offers a little bit of everything: fast descents, steep climbs, dirt trails—rough and smooth, paved paths, and even a few moguls. It is a choice ride for a beginning mountain biker who wants a few, but not too many, technical tests.
Los Angeles, CA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.35
The Beverly Hills Brevet is a pleasant 11.3-mile loop up and back down the hills above Beverly Hills. A brevet is typically a long- distance cycling event, but this route is short and sweet—although, with about 1,000 feet of climbing along the way, the rider is destined for a good workout. The entire ride takes place within the 90210 zip code, which, through the TV series Beverly Hills 90210 and a consistent Forbes magazine ranking as one of the most expensive in the United States, has become iconic.
Beverly Hills, CA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 11.3
The Big Tujunga Canyon Epic is an exciting ride for which the label “epic” is not an overstatement. The ride features a long climb via the “back way” to Angeles Crest in the San Gabriel Mountains and a rapid descent down the Angeles Crest Highway. These two ride features are connected by a rolling jaunt through communities in La Crescenta, Glendale, and Tujunga (which is part of Los Angeles). It is a loop course, for which the recommended direction is clockwise. The Angeles Crest portion of the route was ridden in a stage of the 2014 Tour of California; retracing the path of some of the world’s greatest cyclists is an added bonus!
Burbank, CA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 36.2
The Catalina East End Eco- Ride is an extremely scenic, somewhat challenging tour of Santa Catalina Island’s east end. Avalon is situated near Catalina’s east end, so the ride starts and ends in town, taking you high into the mountains that overlook Avalon Bay. Although there are paved road segments at the beginning and end, most of the ride is off- road. Be sure to have a Freewheeler Bike Pass properly displayed on your mountain bike before leaving town.
Avalon, CA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 13.3
The Cheeseboro- Comado Canyons Chug is a pleasant off- road ride through picturesque Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyons in the Agoura Hills, far western Los Angeles County, and part of Ventura County. Combined, the two canyons are part of the northernmost region of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (so claims the National Park Service website, although to me the area does not appear to be any farther north than other areas of the NRA).
Agoura Hills, CA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 10.7
The Circuito de Calabasas, a nifty 23.6-mile loop on the north side of the Santa Monica Mountains, starts and ends in the city of Calabasas. The ride leaves the city and enters an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County; the route also has a short segment in the city of Los Angeles. The highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains is Sandstone Peak at 3,111 feet, meaning these are not “high” mountains. But the rider can expect a few “rolls,” some longer and steeper than others. The longest climbs and descents are on the ocean side of the mountains; this ride stays on the “valley” side.
Calabasas, CA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 23.6
Urban mountain bike routes are not easy to find, especially in a dense, heavily developed city such as Los Angeles. Trails are often restricted to foot traffic only, as is the case in some of L.A.’s parks (such as Griffith Park). Franklin Canyon Park is an exception—a bit of an oasis affording a pleasant and popular respite amid Los Angeles’ urbanization. Franklin Canyon Park is located in the lower, south- side slopes of the Santa Monica Mountains, making it easily accessible from Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and central L.A. Its accessibility to Hollywood is evident in the staggering number of TV shows and films that have been shot here.
Beverly Hills, CA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 6.05
The ride title, “Emerald Necklace Cruise,” may conjure up images of a Frederick Law Olmsted landscape of greenery and bodies of water, all connected by a parkway. This, however, is the L.A. version: There is some greenery, the bodies of water are generally either shallow or dry, and the parkway is actually a series of bicycle paths.
Los Angeles, CA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 35.5
The Ernest Debs MASH Ride starts and finishes in Ernest E. Debs Regional Park, which is located north-northeast of central Los Angeles. The route covers trails and roads in the park, the adjacent Montecito Heights neighborhood, and the Arroyo Seco Parkway bike path. Many of the parks in Los Angeles’ core area do not allow mountain bikes. This regional park does, however, in part because the trails are wide fire roads and are easily shared with hikers and runners. The fire roads are bumpy, but technical skills are not required.
Pasadena, CA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 8
The Glendora Mountain Trails Traverse takes advantage of the city of Glendora’s short but nifty trails system, making a clockwise loop on a mixture of dirt trails and paved roads. This was the only ride in the book I was unable to complete, because the Colby Trail was closed when I visited during summer 2014. The trail was closed because of the January 2014 Colby Fire, which burned nearly 2,000 acres in the area. The fire, started by three men who lost control of their campfire, destroyed five houses, injured one person, and led to the evacuation of 3,600 residents. The timber and brush had not burned since the 1960s and was ripe for kindling.
Los Angeles, CA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 6.3
The Glendora Ridge Stage ride is an epic loop that starts in Glendora; climbs Glendora Mountain to Glendora Ridge; rides along the ridge (which features an additional 1,000 feet of climbing) before dropping into Mount Baldy Village, making a rapid and steep descent of Mount Baldy Road into Claremont and then a casual passage through La Verne and San Dimas before returning to Glendora. With an elevation differential of 3,648 feet, this ride is surpassed only by the Mount Lowe and Wilson Expedition.
Glendora, CA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 39.4
The Hahamongna Watershed Shred is a nifty 8.7-mile clockwise loop up and down the slopes of the lower San Gabriel Mountains in and above Altadena. The course is excellent for a beginner mountain biker who is eager to test his or her fitness and skills on a real mountain ride. Yet the route features enough climbing and descending to challenge the fittest.
Altadena, CA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 8.7
Similar to other rides in the Central/Southeast Los Angeles region, the Hollywood Ride of Fame is truly an “urban” ride. Expect there to be plenty of traffic signals, motor vehicles, pedestrians, buses, and roadside distractions. Avoid doing this ride for time or speed; instead enjoy the scenery and attractions along the way. The featured segment of the route is Hollywood Boulevard, taking you right into the heart of the famed strip. Please note that the street is periodically closed for special events. Despite the casual nature of the Hollywood portion of the ride, most of the route is in the Hollywood Hills and the hills of Griffith Park, where some stretches of road are steep and arduous. Be prepared for some climbing and descending, and always be cautious of heavy motor vehicle traffic.
Glendale, CA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 20.8
The In & Around Avalon Tour is a road ride that is essentially a grand tour of Avalon and its immediate environs. Although 88% of Santa Catalina Island is owned by the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy—and to see it, one must purchase a membership—it is possible to get in a decent road ride in “non- protected” Avalon on its public roads. This ride, therefore, is a less costly, more leisurely option for those not up to attacking Catalina’s rugged interior. From the intersection of Crescent and Clarissa Avenues in central Avalon, head east along the shoreline on Pebbly Beach Road. After the sharp turn adjacent to the power generating station, climb Wrigley Road to its crest (411 feet). Enjoy the view of the city and the ocean from up here. Wrigley then descends, passing the Inn on Mount Ada (hugely popular tourist stop, as well as a bed-and-breakfast).
Avalon, CA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 10.6
At 5,646 feet, Josephine Peak is not the highest in the San Gabriel Mountains, but along with Mount Wilson, it may be the most accessible by bicycle. The route is quite simple—strictly an out- and- back excursion. The turnaround point is the summit of Josephine Peak, although the actual summit is 130 feet higher than where the trail goes. There is no designated parking near the trail. The Clear Creek Ranger Station has parking only for official vehicles; the adjacent visitor center restricts stays to 15 minutes.
Sunland, CA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 8
The L.A. River Ramble & Echo Park Challenge starts and finishes in the Chavez Ravine parking area of Elysian Park, which is located near Dodger Stadium, immediately north- northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The ride opens with a leisurely, nearly flat ride along the Los Angeles River and returns through Griffith Park. The ride concludes, however, with a jaunt through the Echo Park neighborhood that incorporates a series of very steep climbs and descents. A “flatter” option (eliminating the Echo Park Challenge) is available for those who do not wish to tackle Baxter.
Los Angeles, CA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 17.6
According to a legendary 1960s Jan and Dean song, Colorado Boulevard attracts speeding drivers who are “terrors” of the road. This ride uses Colorado Boulevard—albeit in Eagle Rock (L.A. community), not Pasadena—which has become much more bicycle- friendly since the days of that song. So fear not the old lady! The Little Old Ride through Pasadena is a 17.5-mile loop through Pasadena, Eagle Rock, and Glendale. Today Pasadena is well known as the home of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Norton Simon Museum, Art Center College of Design, Rose Bowl, and of course the Tournament of Roses Parade. The ride officially begins by heading south on North Arroyo Boulevard from Seco Street.
Pasadena, CA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 17.5
The Malibulldog MASH 4077 Tour is a popular loop ride that travels from Malibu Creek up into the mountains above the canyon, then plunges into the canyon for a special ride through the old M*A*S*H TV show set, and then finishes with an undulating ride along Malibu Creek’s canyon. Most of the ride takes place within Malibu Creek State Park except for a short, 0.4-mile segment along Malibu Creek Canyon Road. The ride starts in Malibu Creek State Park, from the first parking lot inside its Las Virgenes Road entrance. From here, follow the park entrance road toward the park’s interior. Veer off the road onto an unnamed dirt road that leads to a campground after 0.4 mile. As you make your way up this road, look for the (dirt) parking area to your left. Turn in here and ride toward the opposite side of the lot. Look to the right for the Tapia Spur Trail trailhead. Yes, it is a little hard to find.
Calabasas, CA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 16.65