I Want To Ride My Bicycle


We celebrated our first night in LA in style by going up in the world and having a drink on the roof of our hotel. Don’t worry it was perfectly safe and legal. We hadn’t just shimmied up the drain-pipe with an assortment of bottles and cans. No, the hotel has its own rooftop bar. It is stunning up there. There is a metallic walk way to a square bar with an atrium ceiling in the middle. There are lights all the way around and cosy corners with sofas. Luke and I got our liquor and our very own sheep skin like blankets and enjoyed the view. It was very pretty to see lots of lights in the sky, which I thought were chinese lanterns untill Luke informed me they were lots of planes. I’m glad we had the blankets as it is definitely not as warm as Indiana due to the sea breeze. I loved it! The last time I was given a blanket in a bar was in Budapest. I had tried to ask a bouncer at a local club in my university town but he asked me, in his thick Geordie accent, “where do you think you are love? were in Newcastle!”. Fair point, I thought, as most people in Newcastle strive to wear less not cover up with a blanket. We were then woken up by a screaming noise. It turns out the hotel has a quirky fire alarm too. Not just quirky, very annoying. Luckily we didn’t have to evacuate. Well we didn’t, as soon as it went off we went back to sleep so I hope there wasn’t a fire!

We got up early and I made the bed, which Luke always laughs at because we have room service. We the headed out. So, what activity did I think was a very good idea for our first full day in LA? Why, a thirty-two mile bike ride of course. It was meant to be a surprise for Luke but unfortunately I am not very good with surprises and I needed help with getting us there. Directions have never been, and will probably never be, my forte. We then had to work out LA buses. This meant a getting off one bus to go and find the exact change and the other bus we got on we broke his ticket machine so we ended up with a paper stamp ticket. Oh well, we got there in the end, aided by a bag of skittles, and I also learnt, from the tv on the bus, that the shortest complete sentence in the English language is “I am”. Learn something new everyday!

The bus trip also gave us time to prepare for the six-hour bike ride. However I did lessen the shock to the system with a proper brunch. Well the tour guides did advise us to have a ‘guilt-free’ brekkie and my word, we did exactly that. I took Luke to Toast, a well-known bakery in LA and we grabbed a table outside.

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After nearly ending up in the kitchen whilst trying to find the toilets I had Eggs Benedict and Luke had an omelete.
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We both got the customary potatoes that I still can’t believe they serve with breakfast over here. The food was gorgeous but as I saw a table near us get given a stack of pancakes my stomach did a little sob and I have made a mental note to order pancakes next time as I am yet to have them in America. This seems incredibly silly to me and to my stomach. We then ended up on Melrose Place as we walked to the bike office.

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We also walked past a doggy day care centre. Unbelievable.

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As well as lots of palm trees.

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We arrived at the bike shop and the staff were incredibly friendly. I did feel a bit of a midget as Alex our tour guide for the day (who was a slash man, i.e bike tour guide/ comedian, with lovely curly eyelashes for a man) tried to find a bike that was small enough.
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That mission solved and we were good to go. We set off on the open road and began to explore all over LA. Once I got over my anxieties about cycling on actual busy roads, with all the huge cars and trucks, in the middle of LA, I was fine. Just about. I even made it to a point where I was feeling so confident and brave that I lifted one hand of the handlebars. How adventurous am I? We went past a lot of celebrity houses and we stopped at the one where lots of films had been made including the Holiday but I think the house are too big here. Give me the cottage from the Holiday any day.
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We also got to walk around a Japanese garden,
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which I was thankful for as we had to cycle up lots of hills and I was getting a bit fed up of the bike. Well I wasn’t but it was nice to stretch my legs. We also saw one of the houses used in Fresh PrinceOf Bel Air.

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Then we cycled down a lot of back roads, through the hugest military hospital complex I have ever seen and through the suburbs. Afterwards, with the theme tune to Fresh Prince going around in my head, we also got to cycle along the beach front from Santa Monica back to Venice. We watched some street performers
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before heading to Jenny’s Cafe where we got some organic smoothies. Mine was aptly named ‘Ugly Girl’ and it was very tasty.

After our power stop we descended on the Venice Canals and we walked our bikes through the various passage ways.

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I’m glad we walked them through as I could just envision me cycling straight into a canal. We then cycled down a very long bike track at the back of LA called the Ballona Bike track, after cycling past the lovely marina. I then got to see Culver City and the house used in Gone With The Wind, before we all got shouted at heading back to the Bikes and Hikes office for inappropriate use of a pedestrian crossing. Yes , we had turned into those sorts of cyclists.

It was a brilliant way to see LA as you got to see so much more than you would on a bus tour. Bikes can go down various nooks and crannies of a city that a bus just can’t do. I did think to myself, as we were riding on what appeared to look a lot like a freeway, I just hope my Dad won’t be mad. I hope he is not reading this as I was never allowed to ride on a real road because I never took my cycle proficiency test. But Dad, if you are reading this then, after riding through the various centres of one of America’s largest city and amongst some very big cars today, I think I am now very well equipped to ride anywhere. Maybe not if Mum is driving though. Then no one is safe on the roads.

We treated ourselves to a frozen yogurt, what else, afterwards. Yoghurt Stop had even more selection than Youglatte but it was a bit more pretentious. However, the server was nice, if not a bit intimidating but it worked as I finally got my pot to below five dollars! I was pleased but I did have a few indulgent toppings of Reece’s pieces and Red Velvet Sponge. It had to be done.

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