Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bike and Play

Early Morning Ride Along the Arroyo Seco

I usually prefer a hike to a bike ride, but with a toddler in tow, biking has its advantages. It's generally easier to haul a 25-pound hunk of squirming flesh in a bike seat than in a backpack carrier. However, suitable routes are in short supply. If you're up early on a weekend, try this simple ride along the Arroyo Seco and around Pasadena's Rose Bowl.

This ride is not suitable for young children on their own bikes, unless you opt for a just a loop around the Rose Bowl.  
Start at the intersection of Arroyo and California Blvds. There's ample street parking. Head north on Arroyo, along the Arroyo Seco. The Arroyo is a major tributary of the Los Angeles River. At the rim here, it's lined with large oaks. If you've got a toddler aboard, he will appreciate the many spandex-clad bikers whizzing past. 

The Arroyo Seco Foundation has been working on and advocating for restoration of the area. One exciting development: the petite Arroyo Chub once again swims natural stretches of the stream. The chub is a small minnow native to slow-flowing, muddy or sandy stretches of Southern California streams. Urban development and introduced species have substantially reduced its populations. This information on their restoration to the Arroyo Seco comes straight from the Foundation's (ASF) website: 

The Arroyo Chub, a native species that once thrived in the Arroyo Seco, has returned. Last summer three hundred of the small fish were planted in the natural stream areas of Pasadena's Central Arroyo stream below Devil's Gate Dam and just above the Colorado Street Bridge, and recent sightings indicate the fish are doing well particularly in the lower stretch.

"This is a momentous development and a key milestone in our campaign to restore the natural attributes and functions of the Arroyo Seco," said Tim Brick, Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation. The fish restoration came as part of the Central Arroyo Stream Restoration Program completed by ASF and the City of Pasadena. The project included water quality islands in Brookside Park parking lot, trail improvements, and backwater pools and improved habitat for the fish.

On this ride, you will bike on the street, which is why I recommend starting out around 8:30 a.m. 

The route climbs steadily, but not too steeply, until it reaches the Colorado Street Bridge and 210 Freeway. This is where things get a tad dicey. As it ducks under the freeway, Arroyo Blvd becomes steep and narrow. I suggest you wait a minute for some other bikers to join you, then descend. This should help you be more visible to cars. You'll be through this bottleneck in a minute.

As you head towards the Rose Bowl, note the playground and Kidspace Children's Museum on your right. Bike traffic around the Bowl flows clockwise (reverse of the pedestrian route). 

My son and I topped our ride with a romp around the playground. We sent my husband back to get the car. He didn't complain, as he rode back unencumbered. 

Here's a link to another Arroyo Ride.

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