So far in this story about a southern California icon, we’ve explored the piers that shape the individual beach communities and the people that compose them. What we haven’t done is explore the Strand itself. That is about to change! Here are the images I made on a single day as we rode from Hermosa Cyclery to Muscle Beach in Venice. There isn’t a better way to explore all the individual communities that make up this coastline than by bike. Hermosa, followed by Manhattan, then El Segundo and Marina Del Ray, and finally Venice. The ride itself was about 28miles round trip. If you decide to head out to Hermosa and do this ride, you will see everything from dolphins to a roller blading one man Jimi Hendrix cover band. You will watch planes take off over head from the beaches in front of LAX. Best of all, you will meet a bunch of interesting folks. Here are a few things I learned from the ride.
- Hermosa is is the quintessential beach community. Our favorite by far.
- Never randomly stop. Always slow down and gesture your intentions.
- Equally important, never randomly turn around.
- Korean Air flies huge planes.
- Southwest flies the most planes.
- iPhones are really handy for finding veggie burgers in California.
- Bring an iPhone charger.
- 28miles doesn’t seem like a long bike ride, but on a cruiser bike it is.
- If you rent a bike, ask for a patch kit and pump.
- Take a photo of your bike lock combos with your cell phone.
- The area between Manhattan Beach and Marian Del Ray is a baron wasteland. It’s not really that bleak, but there isn’t much there if you are hungry.
- Bring water.
- Don’t corner too fast, sandy sidewalks behave much like icy sidewalks.
- You can surf between pier pylons. Well, some people can.
- Costal real estate is expensive! Really expensive.
- Although many places advertise shave ice, it is really crushed ice. Definitely not the same.
- Venice beach is actually named after a community connected by canals. (see the second to last photo)
My Strand Cruiser Kit
Photography Note: I know some folks are curious about the gear I use, so I thought I would share with you what I took with me (and my reasoning) on the cruiser bike to make all these images. The following is the kit I used for the entire 28 mile ride along the strand to make these images.
My D700 w/ Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8, Nikon D7000 w/ Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 AFD. That gave me 24-300mm 2.8 of excellent optics at a manageable weight (my feet covered the gap in focal length between 70mm and 120mm). I think I would have been better served by leaving the 80-200 in exchange for the 70-300mm VR. I added a 15mm fish for those special situations. I can either slap it on the D700 for a fish perspective, or the D7000 for a faux wide perspective. Both cameras have pop up flashes so I didn’t pack any external lights. I packed all of this in a Think Tank Retrospective 30 along with CF cards, towel, cleaners, batteries, etc. It is a pretty comfortable setup if you are walking around and have one camera in hand. Having it slung over your shoulder for several hours on a bike was a bit much.