Monday 24 October 2011

Southern stretch of The Strand, Los Angeles, California

A 22-mile bicycle trail hugging the beaches along Los Angeles' South Bay, the Strand is a blessed relief from the car-clogged roads elsewhere in the city. Beginning at Hermosa Beach, the most southerly stretch often hugs wide tracts of sand running down to the Pacific Ocean. The beach here is patchwork of volleyball pitches and every few hundred yars, a sky blue, wooden lifeguard's hut surveys the shoreline. With a white-dotted line down the middle and an eight-mile-an-hour speed limit, The Strand itself runs as straight as an arrow for a mile or so to Redondo Beach.  Here, you have to veer off on to the coast road for a short stretch before working your way through a car park and a short 'no cycling' section at the head of Redondo Beach pier. Then you rejoin the sea front for a couple of miles until The Strand comes to an abrupt end.  But it is worth pushing your bike up the steep slope to the bike lane on the residential road that climbs into the plush Palos Verdes hills. You can work your way around the picturesque coastline on the sometimes busy, but wide, Paseo Del Mar, which offers some fine vistas over the ocean. You can rent a bike at reasonable rates from several shops near Hermosa Beach. The Hermosa Cyclery, for example, offers a standard hybrid bike for $36 a day or $125 for a week. 8/10