If you’re like me, you want to go places and see things. If it’s by bike, then all the better. I’ve been looking forward to the LACBC River Ride for quite some time.
I do the Griffith Park to Elysian Valley segment on a weekly basis and the lower LA River portion may not be that exotic, but it was more for the experience than the scenery. I live in the valley. Going to Long Beach very rarely comes into play, but biking there I’m in!
I signed up for the century because it was relatively flat. We started at the Autry Museum with a quick loop around Griffith Park before we hit the bike path. I wanted to start out in front just to keep ahead of the squirrelly riders. Fortunately, there was a group from the H & S bike shop that helped things get out to a quick jump. Things split after we got to the Elysian end because no more bike path.
There, we had about ten miles of navigating surface streets until we hit the second portion. Going through Boyle Heights is always one of my favorites. Going through Vernon is not. I don’t think anyone actually lives there. If they did, someone would complain about the streets.
I’m that someone. I got a flat from one of those pre-existing railroad grooves that has yet to be replaced. My friend continued on with our pack despite my pleas for help(just wanted to note that). I did a quick tire change and was on the way. And yes, my friend did call me right after I was getting back on, but I need to add to that guilt.
The rest of the bike path was uneventful, but fast. We got to the Long Beach stop and quickly refueled before moving on. It took us down the beach path up to Belmont Shore which is the scenic highlight. After navigating some surface streets, we were back on bike path heading up the San Gabriel River to El Dorado Park. Allegedly.
We were supposed to meet up with our friend at the start, but he was a no show. Around the time we should have been looking for the turnaround, we saw him. Maybe this was enough to get distracted, but we missed the park pull off completely. We kept on going for another few miles until he caught us to tell us we were going the wrong way. Great. A century +!
We all came back to El Dorado Park, refueled and started our journey back. It was essentially the same route, but the biggest difference was going through the city of Long Beach instead of the shore. It’s nice to see a string of craftsman homes lining the route, but not a stop sign every block. No matter how much I’m going to ride in my lifetime, I’ll always be uncoordinated clipping in.
We skipped the Long Beach stop to strong arm our way back. I’ll just say having an extra workhorse and tailwind out there helped out a lot on the second half. We would make our final stop at the Maywood Park rest area, but with our track record we figured we missed it again. After eighty miles of riding in the heat, it happens. Right as we were about to give up hope, we came up on it. Donner Party averted!
Making our way back through downtown and on the bike path seemed compulsory at this point. Downtown wasn’t as scenic on the way back, just more of a roadblock. We made it cleanly back to Griffith Park, except we were met with a passed out cyclist crossing the Zoo Dr. bridge. I called 911, but due to a brushfire taking place in Glendale, help came later than expected.
After about six hours of being out, we finally made it back. The LACBC did a great job organizing this event with the right amount of rest stops and amenities. When you think about an event of this size with such a variety of riders, I imagine they’re already working on next year’s ride. I know I am.