Living in Los Angeles County without a vehicle presents a slough of transportation difficulties. Shortly after moving to Biola for the fall 2013 semester, I was confronted with needing to bum rides to get off campus. Even though the truck I drove in high school was endearingly problematic, I missed its broken doors and balding tires. I missed the independence to go where I wanted, when I wanted. Stir-craziness began to set in.
While pondering alternative options for getting around, I decided to buy a bike. Walking myself over to the closest gear place in La Mirada, The Cyclery Bike Shop on Imperial Ave., I shopped around their selection of mountain and road bikes, settling on a beautiful Giant with disk brakes that was, of course, way out of my budget. Although my bank account took a hit, the sweet freedom was worth it.
DESIGNATED BIKE PATHS
A variety of designated bike paths networking throughout L.A. County allow for a growing community of cyclists to access desired locations with minimized safety concerns present while sharing the roadway with vehicles.
A great nearby path, the Coyote Creek Bike Path, takes cyclists all the way to the Pacific Ocean and features access points near Biola. Utilizing the Coyote Creek path, which merges into the San Gabriel River Trail, the beach is just a short ride away. Coyote Creek officially opened in Oct. 2014, running parallel to drainage canals and ending at Seal Beach.
The northernmost entrance to Coyote Creek is Foster Rd., slightly north of Rosecrans Ave. Another access point is found just past the railroad tracks intersecting Rosecrans Ave. Mapping the route on Google maps provides a more detailed explanation of entrance locations.
The two-lane, paved Coyote Creek path becomes the San Gabriel River Trail in Long Beach after approximately nine miles, continuing another four miles to the end of the line at Seal Beach. This route snakes through industrial and residential areas, lining the path with varieties of blooming flowers and trees spilling over backyard fences. Approaching the ocean, a salty head wind announces the ocean’s nearness, along with increased seabirds and rising water levels in the canal.
Cyclists, runners and walkers populate the trail, ducking under overpasses and flattening out during the final stretch approaching the beach. The trail ends at River’s End Cafe, a seafood joint where bike racks provide a safe place to lock up if you choose to hang out in Seal Beach.
UPSWING IN FUNDING AND USEAGE
Bike access in Los Angeles County is notoriously poor, but recent statistics show an upswing in funding and useage. Looking past the zoo that is L.A. traffic, an increasing number of economically-minded commuters take advantage of the bike paths available, piecing together routes to work while saving money on gas and minimizing vehicle wear and tear.
The Department of Public Work in L.A. County’s 2012 Bicycle Master Plan promises improved bike access, something for all cycling enthusiasts and bike-bound commuters to look forward to.
Prioritizing safety while riding in bike lanes and crossing intersections is a must. Cyclists should stay alert for vehicles and attach a flashing red light during night rides, and be sure to always wear a helmet.
TRAVELING ON A BUDGET
La Mirada is surrounded by possible cycling trails, from mountain biking to paved road bike rides. Another great series of trails can be found in Turnbull Canyon, located in Whittier. This dirt path loop has roughly 1,000 ft. of elevation change, and is better suited for thicker tires.
For those interested in buying a new bike, I recommend The Cyclery. They have knowledgeable staff and everything a gear-junkie could possibly want or need. However, if I were to do it again, I would buy a used bike. Even lightly used bikes are significantly marked down at second-hand gear shops.
Biking is one of the best ways to travel on a budget, and maintaining a bicycle is significantly cheaper than a vehicle. As long as you have the time, cycling will take you anywhere you want to go.