creek Yesterday afternoon the wife and I took a bike ride along Ballona Creek. Now the word creek might conjure up an image for you of tall brushy trees on grass shores following the languid contours of a water way occasionally broken up by a small rapid or waterfall. Maybe the picture on the right reflects that vision.

If so, you do not live in Los Angeles.

Ballona Creek The picture at the left here reflects the concrete reality of Los Angeles water ways. Los Angeles rivers and creeks are heavily angular and typically filled with a murky green substance one hesitates to call “water” in fear of insulting the life sustaining liquid.

Now this may not look like a nice place for a bike ride, but consider for a moment the alternative - Biking down Venice Boulevard: Dodging gas guzzling H2 drivers in vehicles so large they require binoculars to see us lowly bikers. Stopping at a light every five seconds. Breathing in the smog ridden fumes of cars that I know have failed their smog check. Nah, that is not for me.

Personally, my favorite rides are up in the ocean tinged fresh air hills of Santa Monica Mountains (those of us who have lived in Alaska pretty much call everything here in Los Angeles a “hill”, with the exception of Mt. Baldy).

But there is something to be said of a ride that one can take right from the door of his or her own home. A short ride down the street takes us to the Ballona Creek Bike Trail entrance. From there, miles and miles of trail without interruptions from stop lights and motorized vehicles. And for the most part, it doesn’t really smell all that bad and there are some nice views of L.A. here and there.

But what really makes this ride great is the prize at the end. Marina Del Rey and Playa Del Rey. As the water turns from green sludge to a bluer color that reminds you that it is indeed water we are riding next to, the view opens up to the harbor. Sail boats drift by as the trail continues on and takes you right along the beach with people playing volleyball, jumping in the water, and throwing sand all over the place. It is really beautiful there.

We stopped at Tanner’s coffee to sit back for a moment and enjoy frosty beverage (it was the only thing we could find at that moment) and then headed back. Next time I will be sure to take some pictures.