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Biking in Los Angeles (it can be done)

I know.  She's not wearing a helmet.  Bad.
I know. She's not wearing a helmet. Bad.
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It ain’t easy being green…in Los Angeles. The powers that be work against those who want to pedal around the city and not get killed or fined, but it’s still worth forsaking the car and feeling the wind in your face every now and again. If it’s summertime (it is), then biking is just one of the many ways to occupy your children while they’re out of school and in your hair. Joining them, you’ll realize why you loved it so much when you were a kid. You’ll vow to do it more often, if only it was easier.

Twenty years ago, we jumped on our stingrays and took off, barely telling our parents where we were going. Today, with more cars on the road, helmets to be fitted and routes to be planned, it’s easier not to bother. But really, who ever said parenting was easy? Did anyone ever claim that summertime was a breeze? (Don’t answer that.)

I threw three of our bikes in the back of the minivan yesterday and headed to Santa Monica with my children. We needed to rent one bike for my middle daughter and decided to visit Sea Mist Rentals, right near the Pier. They only take cash and only require that you leave your driver’s license. Pay upon return. Basic cruisers and tandems run $4-10 an hour and $15-30 for the whole day. Helmets are free with the rentals. The guys who work there couldn’t be more helpful, or laid back. You’ll find a lot of bike rental shacks all along the ocean, from Torrance all the way up to Will Rogers Beach, south of Malibu.

We headed north from the pier, stopping along the way to take in some sites, have a picnic lunch and enjoy the stunning weather. We got exercise while appreciating the best that Los Angeles has to offer: the Pacific Ocean.

There are other bike paths throughout the county worth checking out. And while it seems silly to drive somewhere in order to pedal, it’s the safest and best way to enjoy the activity. Biking for transportation through the streets of L.A. is fine for the grown-ups willing to take the risk (like me). Promises of making the city a more bike-friendly metropolis are always being offered BUT for the family outing, stick with dedicated paths and make sure your kids know the basics of safety. Helmets are a must and shouldn’t be sliding off the back of anyone’s head.

Spokes-n-Stuff rents “surreys” that can seat up to eight, with locations in Griffith Park, Marina del Rey and Dockweiler Beach. You’ll also find surrey rentals at Lake Balboa and various locations in the South Bay, including Newport Beach.

Don’t have a bike? Check out bike shops throughout the southland, and Craigslist for a used, less expensive option. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s is a comprehensive way to find out about the law, programs, safety and other resources pertaining to bike riding in our fair city.
Feel the wind in your hair. Go for a bike ride.

And don’t forget to come by and say “hi” to me at


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