The Marvin Braude Bicycle Trail runs for twenty-two miles, starting two miles south of the Redondo Beach Pier and ending over two miles north of the Santa Monica Pier. As the house we were staying in was close to the Redondo pier, we made that our starting point.
For a short stretch past the pier, the path runs alongside North Harbor Drive before splitting off back toward Hermosa Beach.
At ten on a Friday morning, the beach was relatively deserted. One thing for sure, volleyball is huge in this part of the world! I've never seen so many volleyball nets.
The pier at Hermosa is literally just that, a pier. There are no attractions, but it is popular with those who like to fish.
A memorial to astronaut Greg Jarvis and the other Challenger crew members sits by the side of the beach. Jarvis was a local resident of Hermosa Beach and a keen cyclist.
Some of the houses on the beachfront are quite magnificent:
while other residences are more noteworthy for their trees:
Another mile or so of walking and we were in Manhattan Beach. This also has a pier. I haven't checked this one out yet but it has a small aquarium in the building at the end.
Manhattan Beach also has its share of grand residences:
From Manhattan Beach, the path curves around the coastline to El Segundo Beach. With no sign of residences, at first glance, it looks idyllic.
But there's a reason it is so deserted. Because while the view in one direction is very pleasing to the eye:
That can't be said about the other direction:
Next up is Dockweiler Beach, considered by many to be the "birthplace of modern hang gliding in the United States. " It has a training and practice area for hang gliders. It's also under the flight take-off path from Los Angeles International Airport which means planes are overhead every two or three minutes. Not the quietest beach by any means, but with 3.7 miles of coastline it is possible to find a spot further away from the flight path.
A huge RV park is adjacent to the beach and numerous fire pits on the sand mean it is one of the few beaches where visitors can enjoy bonfires.
After walking almost ten miles, it was time for a lunch break. We headed off the beach into Playa Del Rey where we found The Shack, one of those places which looks small (and to be honest, shabby) on the outside but turns out to be a lot bigger than it looks and a great place to eat.
|Playa Del Rey|
After lunch, we discovered that the path detoured around the huge marinas that make up Playa Del Rey and Marina Del Rey so that to get to Venice, about two miles further up the coast, we had to walk another four miles! It's a good job we like walking.
I was surprised how big Marina del Rey was. Luxury hotels, glass residential complexes, and enormous shopping malls abound. And I don't think I've ever seen so many boats!
But there were still some charming structures. Colorful buildings housing businesses and a lighthouse make up Fisherman's Village, a delightful place to stroll.
One mile later, after strolling through pleasant residential streets we were finally in Venice and headed back to the beach.
Not sure how often this happens, but the beach boardwalk was a bustling market place with vendors, musicians, and psychics, and a guy offering coffin rides! Rather macabre.
After the relative peace of the earlier part of our walk, the bustle and crowds were almost too much. We thought about having a drink, but the bars were all crowded despite it being only about five o'clock. Instead, we headed onto the beach to the skate park to watch the skateboarders show off their moves. I'd like to have included some photos but it turns out taking pictures of skateboarders in action requires greater skill than I possess.
Eight hours and over seventeen miles after we started we finally made it to Santa Monica. I have to say the pier was a welcome sight. We were tired and foot-sore, but we'd achieved our goal. It was time to get a celebration drink. And where better than Ye Olde Kings Head, a wonderful British Pub just up from the seafront. Their sausage rolls were worth the walk!
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