Biking Ballona Creek

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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.

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6 responses

  1. Avatar for Joe Brinkman
    Joe Brinkman July 17th, 2006

    This reminds me of a ride my wife and I took a couple years ago while visiting SF on a biz trip. It was a nice ride across the GoldenGate and down into Sausilito, back across the bay on a ferry and then back down the waterfront to where we began. It was a wonderful ride except for all the hills. ;) Considering it was my first time on a bike since my college days (I can barely count the number of years on both hands and feet) I think we did ok.
    The scenery was awesome. There is nothing like Northern California and the Pacific Northwest for some great scenery.

  2. Avatar for Steve Harman
    Steve Harman July 17th, 2006

    Aren't those the same dry creek beds that we saw in Terminator 2... where the young John Conner (riding his dirt bike) was being chased by the T-1000 in a semi truck?

  3. Avatar for Jeremy Brayton
    Jeremy Brayton July 17th, 2006

    Where's John Connor?! You just ruined the future of humanity Phil. Thanks a lot. Never send a boy to do an Ahnold's job I guess.
    I'd be too tempted to scream in semi-crackling teenage voices while riding through there. I get too much of a kick out of making fun of movies that way, obviously.

  4. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked July 18th, 2006

    Quite possibly, though I think the movie used the main L.A. River. Not sure.
    Jeremy, sorry. My bad.

  5. Avatar for jayson knight
    jayson knight July 18th, 2006

    Yup, they used the main L.A. River. I think Gone In 60 Seconds was as well.

  6. Avatar for Eric D. Burdo
    Eric D. Burdo July 25th, 2006

    After living in Alaska for 6 years, my family and I have taken to calling the "mountains" in Maine - speed bumps.