Biking Santa Monica Beach & Mountains

Biking Santa Monica is ideal for a two-wheeled adventure.

Whether you're looking for a leisurely beach path, a scenic road ride or an epic patch of singletrack, Santa Monica's diverse trails, roads, mountains and tours deliver. 

Cruising around the city is also a breeze, thanks to the bright-green bike lanes that help protect cyclists and the newly launched Santa Monica bike share program.

The bright-green Hulu bikes are equipped with a chainless transmission - a "smart bike" system that lets riders use a GPS software called Social Bicycles to locate the nearest set of wheels and download  mobile app to pay the hourly fees.

Biking Santa Monica doesn't get much easier than this! Miles of bike lanes around the city add to the ease of biking in Santa Monica. Get a Santa Monica bike map here.

Biking Santa Monica: The Marvin Braude Trail Along Santa Monica Beach

One of the best choices for biking Santa Monica is to pedal along the 22-mile-long Marvin Braude beach trail from Will Rogers State Beach to Torrance County Beach. You can get a map of  The Strand bike path map here.

Known to locals as "The Strand", this scenic path through Santa Monica beach has the distinction of being the world's longest ocean-front bike path. It's relatively flat, so kids can do it, too. You can get a map of the best easy Santa Monica bike rides here.

This is the road we take from our home at the southern end of Santa Monica when going to the Santa Monica Pier or the Promenade. Because it's well-marked as a bike lane, only rarely do we encounter pedestrians when biking Santa Monica. (But that's what the bike bell is for, or so my son tells me.)

Along the way, you can also check out some of the places where The Doors vocalist Jim Morrison stayed and played in Santa Monica and Venice. You can get the Jim Morrison bike tour here.

Off-Road Bike Trails Backbone Trail to Temescal Ridge

Off road bike trails abound in Santa Monica.

Just north of town, the Santa Monica Mountains rise nearly 2,000 feet, creating an  ideal playground for fat tire fans. Riding options abound off Westridge Fire Road, a wide dirt path that links singletrack trails along a ridgeline flanked by a 20,000-acre forest known as "The Big Wild".

Atop San Vicente Mountain, a former cold war-era military lookout provides sweeping views of downtown Los Angeles. You can get more Santa Monica biking trail information here.

Cruising Main Street: Home to Bike Lanes, Bike Valets and Bike Parking Galore

Main Street is tailor-made for townie riders with myriad bike paths and an abundance of bike parking.

Just two blocks from the Pacific Ocean, Main Street runs parallel to the coastline and stretches on nearly a mile with block after block of unique, laid-back restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops, and salons and everything in between.

Independent retailers and small, local chains - many with health-focused options - anchor the tree-lined blocks between Pico Boulevard to the north and Venice to the south.

On Sundays, families and locals flock to Heritage Square for the farmer's market from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., where you'll find live music, free valet parking for cyclists, and some of the region's freshest fruits and vegetables.

There are also three bike corrals on Main Street, which makes parking convenient and safe for riders. The two corrals have seven racks with room for 14 bikes, and the one on the west has four racks with space for eight bikes.

With the recent addition of green bike lanes on Main Street, Ocean Park Boulevard, Broadway, and Second Street, these streets are among the best and safest routes for biking around Santa Monica.

Mandeville Canyon Road

This curvy sliver of asphalt bordering the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area is a popular out-and-back training ride for cyclists.

At five miles long and rising a heart-thumping 1,000 feet into the hills, Mandeville Canyon Road is thought to be the longest dead-end, paved road in Los Angeles. Biking Santa Monica doesn't get much better than this.

The road's gentle grade (no more than 5 percent) and light traffic make it suitable for all skill levels. Up for a challenge? Local racers have been known to sprint up the canyon in less than 18 minutes. You can get more info on biking Mandeville Canyon here.

Cruising San Vicente Boulevard

Stretching from Ocean Avenue to Wilshire, there's a lively mix of homes, shops, and restaurants to keep the ride exciting.

You can pedal from one end to the other in a dedicated bike lane that dips into downtown via Ocean Avenue on the western end.

The loop around the Brentwood Country Club, near Wilshire Boulevard, is a warm-up for many cyclists who ride in groups, especially on weekends.

Santa Monica Bike Rental

No wheels? No problem! Bicycles are ubiquitous here and there are plenty of places to rent bikes for a day, or just a few hours.

  • Santa Monica Bike Center

1555 Second Street, Santa Monica; (310) 656-8500.

The Santa Monica Bike Center is operated by Bike and Park Santa Monica, a company whose mission is to inspire biking in Santa Monica for the benefit of people's health, spirit, and the planet.

Rental include a helmet, bike lock, and riding map. The center also offers bike tours, including a street art tour of Venice Beach, a ride through Santa Monica's sweet shops, and an urban farming tour.

  • Perry's at the Beach

2400 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica; (310) 939-0000.

Perry's has nine Santa Monica bike rental locations, and has the largest fleet in California. Choose from one-, two-, three-hour, all-day or multi day rentals beginning at $10 per hour.

They'll even supply tag-alongs for kids. The company's Legends Historic Bike Tour ($45 adults, $25 kids under 12) explores both Santa Monica and Venice, where surfing, skateboarding, and beach volleyball originated.

  • Helen's Cycles

2501 Broadway, Santa Monica; (310) 829-1836.

Helen's rents performance road bikes and mountain bikes for one, two, or seven days (though not hourly), starting at $65 per day. 

Need a riding partner? Helen's offers coed rides for intermediate to advanced cyclists the first Saturday of every month, a women-only group ride the third Saturday of every month, a beginner ride the first and third Sunday each month, and other regular local rides.

You can also hire a guide from Helen's to lead you on a private tour through the mountains.

  • Bike Attack

2400 Main Street, Santa Monica; (310) 581-8014.

Bike Attack is flush with rental options for biking Santa Monica, from beach cruisers to Bianchi and KHS road bikes and KHS 29er mountain bikes outfitted with Shimano components.

A second location also rents a constantly updated selection of electric bikes for up to a full day of pedal-assisted cruising.

You can get details about biking in on renting Santa Monica's Breeze bikeshare bikes here.

› Biking Santa Monica Beach & Mountains


What Do You Think About What You Just Read? Share Your Comments and Tips Here!