After our beautiful week in Banff, Canada we decided to head to California to warm up and flew into LAX for some sunshine and scenery of a different kind.
We tend to get straight out of the city in LA and head for the beach cities, to Manhattan Beach in particular, where life is a lot more chilled and the place has a kind of Cornish surf town feel to it, which I love.
Manhattan Beach is just 6 miles from LAX but it is worlds away. I love walking along the Strand for hours on end; the sun warm on my back, dreaming of owning one of the magnificent beach front homes which line the miles of coastline. There’s only so far the footpath will take us, and we’ve always been keen to find out what’s further along on the cycle path, so for a change, we decided to rent out some bikes and go off for an an adventure with Henry to see what we could find. This could be interesting for someone who’s not ridden a bike really since falling off my brother’s huge bike when I was about 10 resulting in an ankle full of stitches after flying head first into a bush, trying to be cool – so not cool.
We rented our 2 bikes and 1 baby trailer from FunBunns down in the main town next to the Creamery (The devine smelling ice cream shop) for $60 for the day, from the sweet old owner and his sidekick who kindly gave Stuart a rather masculine basket on the front and me a really cool vintage style bike which I soon had to swap as I had no idea how to use the brakes which were apparently somehow linked to the pedals? Far too complex for me; those who know me will know that I do not EVER do exercise, I don’t even know how to ride a frigging bike! So I figure the less things which can go wrong the better. After a wobbily start we took off down the trail.
We picked up the Marvin Braude Bike Trail and made our way, at quite a pace for me I might add, through El Porto and Dockweiler through to Marina Del Ray where we cycled through the Marina looking at all the boats, then rejoined the trail to crowded Venice Beach.
As soon as we hit Venice the sweet smell of marijuana hit the air and the sound of a trombone floated around my ears. No matter how many times I’ve been to Venice Beach, I’m never quite prepared for the volume of homeless people lining every pathway and grassy knoll, either asleep face down or shouting out random words of wisdom to passers by; but there’s always quite a fun spirit to the place, albeit very rough around the edges, but due to such high amounts of tourists flocking to take pictures of men in thongs working out at Muscle Beach, or buying fake sunnies at one of the many beach front stores surrounded by “medicinal marijuana” shops, it always appears to be quite safe despite it’s questionable residents.
We carried on a little further and stopped at a park to let Henry blow off some steam and have a play whilst an impromptu basketball match played out in the background, then continued, peddling our way to Santa Monica. The pier, absolutely heaving with tourists all clutching at their $1 machine tokens, the shrill sound of the arcade machines ring around us. After about 2 minutes I’ve had my fill of the over populated pier and opt for the much more appealing Santa Monica Boulevard where we head for lunch before venturing back on our bikes to head home.
My tummy full with yet more Mexican inspired food we get back on our bikes and I’m stunned to learn that we’ve traveled over 22k according to Stuart’s ride tracker app! It has to be said, the way back is slightly more difficult and with a kilometre or so to go I’m seriously feeling the burn and low and behold in a vain attempt to film the last stage of our ride I completely stack it and go flying off – not sure what was more embarrassing, actually falling off or being asked by a 6 year old girl how I managed to “fall off like that…”
Despite the grazed knees and unbelievable saddle sore we had a brilliant day discovering what was up the path and Henry enjoyed seeing all 44 kilometres of it from the comfort of his carriage, I’d definitely recommend it if you’re in the area!