My First Ride on the Elysian Valley Section of the L.A. River Bike Path

A few happy days a year I have to take my car into the shop. On these days, I strap my bike onto my car rack and take the car into my old dealership in Glendale and get to ride the 9 miles from the shop to work.  Along the way I retrace my old bike commute route from Glassell Park to downtown L.A.  While most of that route is fortunate enough to have actual bike lanes or bike routes, there is one stretch of San Fernando between Glendale Blvd and Fletcher that is outright hostile to bike riders. I recently found out from my friends at Bikeside LA that the Elysian Valley section of the L.A. River bike path opened back in December of 2010, and looking at a map I realized that I could now completely circumvent that nasty bit of road by taking the L.A. River bike path from Glendale Blvd all the way down to the Riveside Drive bridge where I’d pick up my old commute route.  See the map below:

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IMAG0132This new stretch of river bike path is amazingly pleasant. There are a lot of trees that protect riders from the sun and wind. The path was getting a lot of use for a weekday, especially by dog walkers, but there didn’t seem to be any conflict between the pedestrian traffic and the roadies who, like me, were flying along at over 20mph.

There are nice mini-parks strewn along the path where people can stop and enjoy the shade or use outdoor exercise equipment. These parks and access points are adorned with the super cool sculptured fences that have become the hallmark of the L.A. River bike path.

However, the most amazing part was that at certain points, if you squinted, the L.A. River looked like, well, a river!

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IMAG0125I have to say the only thing I didn’t like about the new stretch of bike path was the end. It drops riders off on Riverside Drive, just north of the bridge that crosses the river and train tracks. This forces southbound cyclists to cross where cars are speeding by uninhibited by cross streets or traffic signals and then climb up and over the broken glass and debris covered bridge. It’s not a big deal, but I hope that by the time the Arroyo bike path is extended to the Confluence Gateway the City will find a better way to link cyclists to the amenities in this area like the Metro station, Elysian Park, and even the Cornfield and Union Station.

Until then, I’ll be looking forward to the next time I get to take my car into the shop!

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