LA River Bed Ride

Twitter is such a cool thing. From becoming friends with people on the other side of the world to finding new things right under your nose. I’ve been following Will via his twitter but we’d never met. Kinda silly since we live on a few miles apart AND I ride through his neighborhood all the time. His recent tweets about riding the bed of the LA River interested me though. I’ve had this crazy idea of floating down the LA River all the way to Long Beach, and he knew how to get me down there. So I reached out to him, via twitter of course, and before long we had plans to bike the LA River bed!

The bike path that most people enjoy is on the west bank of the LA River. Newly paved, guardrails and safe. The east bank, where we were headed, was untamed. Mostly rough pavement, sometimes dirt and sand, this was just what I was looking for. Before long we headed down the concrete bank to the river’s edge. We were greeted with the sights and sounds of small rapids. From the west bank these rapids could be heard, but you have to venture east to view them. Truly a hidden gem.

The sights vary from natural islands and water falls to stark walls, bridges, graffiti and trash. There is something pretty about all of it though.

We continued south, past where the Arroyo meets the LA River, then under the Gold Line Bridge. Before long we were south of Downtown, far past the end of the “normal” LA River Bike Path. We were where bikes never roam. Riding through the water when needed. Mingling with the birds. Watching them fish in the water, or hunt from the sky. We watched an Osprey circling above the trees looking for fish. Will knows the names of the local bird species so a simple bike ride became a learning experience too. I really enjoyed that part.

Before long we were down at the Sixth Street Bridge. Our turn around point. We’d pedaled six miles downstream. Starting in the more natural area of the Glendale Narrows and ending the bright concrete section made famous in many movies like Repo Man!

The ride back was interesting. Riding with the flow of water was surprising dry. All that changed heading upstream, but the wide tires of the Mukluk helped to keep the water off the bike. I didn’t seem to get as dirty thanks to the wide wave the 4″ wide tires created.

Millions of people drive over the LA River every day and don’t think twice about it. I’ve been that person. Now though, my eyes have been opened to the beauty of the LA River. Thanks for sharing it with me Will.

Timelapse courtesy

  • What fun! That’s a great adventure, right in the city. Great photos … the time lapse is fun, too. It’s really weird that the whole freaking river appears to be paved!

  • That was really cool. I need to find out if something similar like that river exists here (though I doubt it =).

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  • The truly crazy things about the LA River are that (a) it’s a “navigable waterway” (according to the EPA) which means it can’t be made “off limits” to the public (b) the entire 50+ miles of it has been channelized yet (c) a discontiguous bike path covers barely 30 miles of it’s length. I’ve been hoping the Department of Do It Yourself would mark a path from the south LARP to the north LARP through downtown, but it hasn’t happened… yet.

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