Nicknamed “The Strand” bike path, the Marvin Braude Bike Trail is one of California’s most beloved bike trails, an iconic paved path that stretches 22 miles from Redondo Beach to Will Rogers State Beach and runs alongside smooth, brown sugar sands. Lined with restaurants, shops, and public bathrooms, and cooled by sea breezes from the Pacific Ocean (look out for whales), this Redondo Beach bike path – located just outside of the front doors of The Portofino Hotel & Marina, which rents beach cruisers and provides packed picnic lunches – makes for a dynamic day trip.
“When I lived in Switzerland, I could go for a drive and cross the borders of France, Germany, and Austria, seeing all these different cultures in one afternoon; that’s just what the Strand is like,” says Jim Hannon, president of the Beach Cities Cycling Club of Southern California. “Going from Torrance up through Hermosa Beach, working your way past the airport and watching the planes, and going through Venice to Santa Monica – it’s a unique perspective on many different Los Angeles cultures.”
Here are some of our favorite highlights to see along the way.
After pedaling about half-a-mile north from The Portofino on the Strand, look for the statue of the surfer, and lock up your wheels to stroll along this pier where Ryan Gosling filmed scenes from the Oscar-winning film, La La Land. Watch beach volleyball players while you stretch your legs, checking out expansive views to the north and south.
Mile Marker 2: Roundhouse Aquarium
The Manhattan Beach Pier houses this free (donations of $2 to $5 encouraged) educational facility, open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and from 2 to 8 p.m. on weekdays. A shark tank and hands-on tidal pools replaced the bait shop and bar that once stood here.
Mile Marker 7: Dockweiler State Beach
If mastering the Marvin Braude bike trail has you in a meditative state, amp up the adrenaline with a hang-gliding lesson at the flight-training park, which launches students off 25-foot dunes. Or, to keep the relaxation going, stake a spot on the 3.75 miles of shoreline.
Mile Marker 15: Muscle Beach
Another eight miles down the route brings riders to the birthplace of American fitness; high bars and other equipment installed here in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration would attract gymnasts and bodybuilders, including Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s on the south side of the Santa Monica Pier, marked by a bright red building and blue fences.
Mile Maker 16: Bulletproof Coffee
Time to fuel up with java – but not just any java. Made with brain-octane oil (a supplement) and grass-fed butter, Bulletproof Coffee has won legions of fans (and plenty of skeptical naysayers, too) for its claims to improve cognition and trigger weight loss. There are traditional brews here, too, along with all-day breakfast, ice cream, and more.
Mile Marker 22: Will Rogers State Beach
This state park that occupies the entire waterfront of the Pacific Palisades District marks the end of the Strand bike path but perhaps just the beginning of your day. Unpack your picnic lunch provided The Portofino’s BaleenKitchen at a spot along the 1.75 miles of quiet beach, and get ready to wade in the waves.
The Portofino Hotel & Marina