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Santa Monica Bike Update: Pedicab Ordinance Passes, Kidical Mass This Weekend, & The SMC Bike Club Goes Camping

Our Santa Monica weekly column is supported by Bike Center in Santa Monica.

In Santa Monica becoming a little more Portland (without the rain):the Santa Monica city council just approved an ordinance on Tuesday to regulate pedicab operators interested in setting up shop in town, this Saturday is the first Santa Monica Kidical Mass (a concept I first saw roll by in Portland OR and originated in Eugene OR), and the Santa Monica College bike club returned from a group bike touring and overnight camping jaunt, of the sort promoted by Cycle Wild.

I first wrote about the emerging interest of pedicab operators in Santa Monica for Streetsblog in October. Recently, City attorney City Attorney Marsha Jones Moutrie has concluded there isn’t a solid basis by which to deny pedicabs completely. This week the City Council passed regulations for pedicabs, including provisions for ensuring a drivers license, city vetting of pick up routes and  disclosing maximum rates was passed unanimously.

Kidical Mass, a tamer, family and kid focused sort of mass social ride is the latest event in a slate of efforts, such as the Bike It! Days, to promote children and family bike riding. Helmets are required and the festivities begins at 9:30am, with more info here. If you're wondering about just what exactly is a Kidical Mass, this handy FAQ is a great place to start.

The SMC Bike Club rolled out for some overnight coastal camping at Leo Carrillo State Park. One of the great things about Santa Monica is that if you’re willing to put up with a little time on the admittedly intimidating stretch of PCH through Malibu, there is some absolutely gorgeous campgrounds and hiking trails on the other side. Leo Carrillo is a very easy one day bicycling distance on mostly moderate rolling terrain (easy and moderate being somewhat relative here, but very accessible to many who bike regularly).

SMC Bike Club group photo at Leo Carrillo

Cade Maldonado, the Bike Club secretary, gave me a brief rundown of how things went. The group of 30 riders embarked from SMC on Monday morning around 9 am. They rolled down to the beach path and took it as far as you can North to Will Rogers State Beach before getting onto PCH. The ride out took longer than anticipated, about 3.5 hours, to keep the group of varying abilities together and get through the stiff headwind when traveling west and north up the coast. Once at camp, people broke up into smaller groups and hiked, went to the beach, or took bikes out for some dirt trail riding. Everyone returning for shared food, a bonfire and a midnight hike.

It was a great trip with plenty of smiles and beautiful scenery! The ride back was ten times easier, even with some of the bigger rolling hills off of PCH. Also a big thumbs up and props to the people who had never rode 29 miles before and under the conditions we endured. SMC Bike Club has some major troopers!

For those who might be interested in heading out, for solo or dual travelers the 534 Metro Bus through Malibu is also a great way to throw the bikes up front, skip the worst drivers and poorest shoulder maintenance, and bring those coastal campgrounds (which are much cheaper and easier to camp at as a hiker or biker) a little bit closer. As someone who enjoys bike touring and camping quite a lot myself as a way to decompress, I was really excited to see that the SMC Bike Club is taking riders newer to the experience under their wing. Going with a group that includes more experienced riders always makes things easier getting started.

Bike culture Santa Monica has long had the prolific beach cruiser recreational scene, and the fast roadies attracted to the LaGrange club rides, but bit by bit, a broader culture of bicycling, one that includes increasingly normalized everyday riding, is coming together.

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