Hola. Bonjour. Ciao. Ni hao. This season, the EF Education First Pro Cycling Team will race…
Home to four million people. The second-largest city in the United States. Infamous traffic. An adventuring cyclist’s dream? Absolutely.
The City of Los Angeles covers more than 500 square miles. From north to south, it spans 44 miles, and is 29 miles wide. Its perimeter is an immense 342 miles.
The thing about a city that big, tucked between the shimmering pacific and the teeth of the San Gabriel mountains, is that there are endless nooks and crannies. Roads people skip over for the bigger ones leaving them empty, urban parks tucked out of the way, places to wander in plain sight.
There’s something for all of us, from the person off a plane in search of palm trees to an intrepid cyclist cruising town. The midcentury dream of Pacific Palisades, the sharp canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains, the people-watching on the boardwalks, the stars on the Boulevard, the taco shops, muscle cars, surf breaks, the alabaster Hollywood letters… Los Angeles is one of the world’s most vibrant and multi-cultural cities. It takes a while to figure out. But the reward for traveling to and understanding the City of Angels is immense.
“It’s a place where you can find anything you want to find. Whether that’s a group of people that you click with, or a certain type of food, or a certain community. Spirituality, whatever you are looking for, there’s something that’s going to connect with you in this town, which I think is why so many people move here,” muses Taylor Phinney. “LA’s known for its horrific traffic, but you also have enclaves and little nooks of really tight and open communities, which I’ve found being here. I’ve found that … I made friends really easily. People are really open to sharing their network of friends and sharing their time with people they don’t even know, and so in that sense, LA is a very open and welcoming city.”
Whatever you are looking for, there's something that's going to connect with you in this town.
We tagged along with Phinney a day after team camp ended so he could show us why he keeps a room in Los Angeles.
We stopped for coffee at Bicycle Coffee, where beans are transported all over the city via bike, before we headed into Elysian Park, a perfect pocket of urban forest above Dodger Stadium with ribbons of trail and screaming urban raptors. The chorus of the nearby police academy shattered the quiet in spurts.
From there we sat in the sun and ate sandwiches from Wax Paper in Frogtown (in honor of the frogs that would take to the neighborhood streets after rain) while a man did yard work and blasted old Sublime from his windows.
Then to Golden Saddle Cyclery, a beautiful shop that feels both nostalgic and progressive at the same time. We hopped to the charming, buzzing Vinny’s Barber Shop nearby, over to the eclectic Virgil Normal boutique, and ended with a beer atop the helipad at Griffith Park as the sun set and the city below went from red and purple watercolor to beaming lights below. Another day in LA.
“Having a bicycle allows you to be able to see parts of the city that you wouldn’t see otherwise,” Phinney says. “On a bicycle, I mean, you can ride through the hills, Bel-Air, Beverly Hills. There’s all sorts of little climbs and roads back there that are pretty quiet…I mean you’re just riding through an ever-changing visual landscape.”
Ready to visit LA? Check out ef.com to learn more.