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Beach Cruising: Biking Venice and Santa Monica


by Whitney Friedlander | AOL Travel

Angelenos would have you believe that we are and will always be car people. We tell you we like our freeways long and our tops down. But, like the Tinseltown dreams our main industry peddles you, this image is a slight fabrication.

Some of us are bikers, careening down park trails, daringly darting in and out of traffic and coaching kids with training wheels around suburban subdivisions.

I am not one. But some of us are.

Although I was an avid rider as a kid, that all ended when I returned from a bike trip through Israel with battle scars and my favorite pair of jeans in shambles. Nine years later, my heart races with fear when I have to drive near a bike commuter during rush hour and have lost count of how many people have mocked me with “you know what they say about riding a bike.”

But as I see more of my friends signing up for triathlons and ditching carpool lanes for bikes and buses, I thought it was time I put my fears behind me. An easy (re)starting point was the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, or the Strand, specifically the 8 ½-mile stretch that connects Santa Monicaand Venice. Paved, flat and, most important, endlessly scenic, this portion sees its share of pro cyclists in skintight racing gear but is also welcoming to tourists and families coasting around on beach cruisers. A nervous slowpoke who occasionally wobbles and drags her feet in the sand will fit in fine.

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