A Decade of the River Ride

5_11_10_first.jpgCyclists relax after the 2008 River Ride. Photo from LA Streetsblog Flickr Pool

(I’ll be out of town for the River Ride this year.  Instead of the normal Streetsblog review I asked the LACBC to help me write a preview of the 2010 River Ride. – DN)

Join us Sunday June 6, 2010 for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Tenth River Ride!

Anyone who has done any sort of cycling in L.A. County has probably been on the Los Angeles River Path at some point or another. Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) staff, members and supporters have been long time supporters of the revitalization of the Los Angeles River and the River Path. What many of you might not know is that the Los Angeles River Ride is produced by us, the LACBC. Now in its 10th year, the River Ride and the LACBC have a lot to celebrate.

The Annual Los Angeles River Ride is a unique event, because it was dreamed up, organized by, and is the very life blood for LACBC, whose mission is to create and improve the bicycling environment and quality of life in Los Angeles County.  The ride begins at The Autry National Center in Griffith Park and continues to Long Beach where they turn around to head back to the Autry.

Advocacy efforts for the LA River revitalization and the River Ride have been linked from the beginning.

LACBC has done significant work, along with many organizations, to improve the areas encompassing the Los Angeles River and River Path. We have helped advocate for and win a complete removal of all graffiti on 30 miles of the River Channel, improved directional signage, advocated for a re-striping of the path.  Finally, the most hard fought victory was the repaving of 3 miles of rough flood channel on the easement from Fletcher to Figueroa. All of these improvements have been done in conjunction with the River Ride.

In 2006, participants were each given postcards to sign. Those cards were addressed to the Mayor and they urged him to complete the River Bike Path, and most urgently, to pave the segment between Fletcher and Figueroa.

In 2007, the ride very nearly had to be cancelled due to a massive fire in Griffith Park just three weeks before the ride, but instead of cancellation, the event doubled its participation numbers.

In 2008, the County supervisors took notice of the event.  Through their support, the LACBC gave bikes to foster children at the ride and free event tickets to all the kids. As the ride is still a big hit with the locals, LACBC has carried on the tradition of the bike giveaway and this year, the City of Glendale Community Services and Parks and Recreation is sponsoring the Kids Ride and Bike Giveaway for the LACBC.


For 2010, at ten years old, we want the River Ride to be the best yet!

The River Ride is for everyone! There’s a ride for everyone or all ages and fitness levels. For the hardcore cyclists, we have the 70 and 100 miles (century) rides. The course is relatively flat so cyclists who have never attempted a century will find the ride appealing. Along with the 70 and 100 mile ride, there is a 50 mile (half century) a 36 mile, 15 mile Family Ride and a Kids Ride Loop. Kids 12 and under can participate in the Family and/or Kids Ride free of charge!

Sign up and join us for the LA River Ride! Sign up Before May 15th! http://la-bike.org

  • “the repaving of 3 miles of rough flood channel on the easement from Fletcher to Figueroa” … sounds like the actual river bed was paved (noooo!)but it was the repaving of the river access road, not the channel itself.

    Some of the graffiti can be irritating, but a lot of looks a lot better than gray concrete. I personally think that the use of federal stimulus monies for buffing the L.A. River levee walls was not the best nor most environmentally beneficial use of these funds. See http://wp.me/pi4Y0-Pt

    Kudos to the bike coalition for playing a key role in river revitalization by bringing thousands of riders out to see the nicest and most natural parts of Los Angeles’ historic river.

  • JJ Hoffman

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for the clarification on the River path vs bed!

    As for the graffiti removal, I disagree. Over the years, I have talked to many people who have questioned the safety of the path.

    The part of the path that was re-striped and had graffiti removed was between Maywood to Long Beach. The re-striping was absolutely necessary and the graffiti made the area look abandoned and claimed by an intimidating element that could (and in some cases does) drive cyclists and the general population away from the path and the parks around the path.

    Abu Yusuf, the bikeways coordinator from Flood Control, and I were speaking the other day and he remarked that the path sees a significantly higher percentage of cyclists on any given day than it has in years past. I credit a lot of that to cleaning the path.

    More riders who enjoy long distance recreational riding might also start riding their bikes to work. That would be better for the environment and therefore, money well spent!

  • roadblock

    would love to see the LA River bike path extend up through universal city. perhaps the LA river ride should start in studio city and wind through lankershim where we can jeer at uni studios for keeping that dream quashed.

  • @JJ – I think that the path may be seeing more use for a number of reasons. (For the last nearly 20 years that I’ve been riding there, it has always been used quite a bit – though mostly by locals – both cyclists and pedestrians.) Graffiti removal probably plays some role in making it more inviting and useful, but, in the stretch that you mention (Maywood to Long Beach), in the 10 years since the LACBC’s first river ride, there are four new access points, more than a dozen new parks large and small, hundreds of trees planted, and miles of native landscaping where there had been barren earth.

    I think that the greening of the corridor plays a bigger role (than graffiti removal) in making it more inviting and probably a bit more used.

    I think that money spent on revitalization – greening – is much better spent than money painting out graffiti. The Army Corps of Engineers are currently spending about a million dollars (federal stimulus monies) for a 1-year contract for painting out graffiti in the area from Griffith Park to South Gate (the rest of the river was already painted out regularly by County Public Works.) When that year is over, either the agencies will have to find other monies or the graffiti will come back. On the other hand, money spent on planting a sycamore tree or native landscaping will continue to increase in benefits as the plants grow, provide shade, habitat, beauty, clean air, clean water, etc. in increasing amounts (with minimal maintenance) long after the graffiti has returned.

    Funds spent on graffiti are diverted from other projects that could include naturalization, extending bike paths, creating new access points, etc. I don’t think that we should be content with a graffiti-free concrete channel at the end of the day… I think it’s important to focus on (and invest limited funding toward) creating something green and beautiful and inviting.

  • laura friedma

    Hi JJ!

    It’s great to see your post.

    I am looking forward to Glendale’s participation in this year’s ride. We are making cycling a priority in our city, and view the LACBC as a partner in this effort.

    I will see you at the River Ride!

    Laura Friedman
    Glendale City Council Member

  • Hank

    Laura Friedman for mayor of Los Angeles!

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