Blue Water Rides: LA to Neptune's Net (out and back through Malibu along PCH)
This series is a collection of cycling routes which I have personally ridden and thoroughly enjoyed. My aim is to provide insight and inspiration for you to get out and enjoy a ride along these routes or to create your own perfect ride. As always, I am open to new ideas and suggestions. If you have a ride you'd like me to check out and include in this series, feel free to send an email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Riding north from LA along PCH through the recent wild fire areas near Malibu provides a surreal experience. There is a stark contrast between the charred land which was caused the fires and the pristine blue water off the coast. This stretch of PCH was closed for some time and is now open again. Thousands of people were affected if not devastated by the fires, and repairs are currently underway along the route with partial lane closures and significantly reduced traffic.
With a perfectly calm 70 degree day, this proved to be an incredibly somber but uplifting ride with the ultimate mid-way meal stop at Neptune’s Net, a staple Malibu restaurant with picnic table style seating overlooking PCH and the Pacific. Thankfully, Neptune’s Net did not sustain any damage through the fires. However, it was without electricity the entire second half of November.
One quick look at the route above, and it becomes evident how little navigation is necessary for this ride. This adds to the experience by allowing the ride to be just that. The mind is left free to soak up the surrounding sights of the Santa Monica Mountains and Pacific Ocean while listening to the constant hum of your tires on the road, your chain in perpetual motion, and waves crashing in the distance. Once arriving at the coast, the only turn remaining is a U-turn at the halfway point!
If you start anywhere south of Will Rogers State Beach along the coast, you have two options: riding the scenic and winding bike path or taking one of the many bike lanes and side streets through the neighborhoods adjacent to the beach. Both are enjoyable. For an out and back route, one could simply choose the beach path for one way and the side streets for the other.
Once reaching Will Rogers State Beach near the neighborhood of Pacific Palisades, it is time to begin the journey along PCH. There are frequently fellow cyclists to be spotted along the Highway 1, and vehicle traffic is generally very courteous to cyclists. Nevertheless, great caution is continually advised while cycling along the shoulder.
Throughout, there are a number of rolling hills providing for a great workout and fun descents. Depending on how much time and energy is allotted, a U-turn can be made at any of a number of safe stoplights to do so. However, if at all possible, Neptune’s Net comes with high recommendation for the delicious calorie packed seafood, friendly atmosphere, and prime views. Across the road is County Line Beach which is widely known by surfers for its consistent waves.
After getting thoroughly refueled, the ride back to LA is twice as much of a treat. Riding south along PCH provides the best views of the seemingly never-ending Pacific. Plus, the breeze is generally propelling you forward at a much quicker pace despite increasingly fatigued legs. The combination makes the 26 mile stretch from County Line Beach to Will Rogers State Beach seem to take about as long as it does for a surfer to ride one wave. In a way, it feels like catching one of those waves yourself.
Enjoy the ride.