Ooooh, Ahhhhh…Springtime in the LBC

From the Desk of: Aiza

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Biking through the streets of Long Beach.

A couple weekends ago, Priscilla invited me to join her at Beach Streets-Downtown in Long Beach. The closed street event blocks off car traffic for bikes, walkers and skaters. It’s Long Beach’s version of Ciclavia.

I never really get down to Long Beach that often so I’m still learning the interesting facts and neighborhoods in this area. Exploring the LBC on a bike was the perfect way to spend my Saturday. My only complaint of the day was that I rented a bike with no gears. Beach cruisers look cute but suck when you need to switch gears to get up a hill.

 Lesson #1: Long Beach is a biking city

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Lock your bikes. Seriously.

Long Beach is a city that loves to bike. LBC folks take biking serious. Throughout the day I heard different stories about bikes getting stolen. More than once strangers reminded us to lock our bikes. I guess I naively thought that bike theft wasn’t that big of a deal. In general stealing bikes seems so low-level, why would anyone put real effort to do take another person’s simple pleasure away?

My thought process changed completely when during the day I stopped to look at the possibility of buying a new bike. Yo. Bikes are expensive. My criteria for a bike: light enough for me to lift on my own and small enough to fit in a Prius. The bike I wanted was pretty pricey and the lock I would have to get is equally pricey. If I spend serious money on a bike (and I loooved this bike), I am going to go bananas if someone steals it. I didn’t buy the bike yet. Instead, I just gaze at this picture.

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Picture me riding this bike with a basket filled with fresh flowers, a bottle of wine and fresh baguette. And it would fit in a Prius.

Lesson #2: Belmont Shores 

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Breakfast at Nick’s on 2nd.

Priscilla lives right in Belmont Shores. Um. I love everything about this area: the sweet bungalows, the tree-lined streets, the cafes, the proximity to the water, the nearby canals. As we rode our bikes through the neighborhood, I pictured myself living in this area and sitting out on my dream porch or having dinner parties in my backyard under market lights. Now, if I could just afford a million dollar house with only 3 bedrooms and 2 baths I’m set.

Guess not. I’ll keep dreaming.

Lesson #3:      4th Street Retro Row

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Of course a day of biking requires afternoon cocktails at Lola’s.

Everyone knows about the cute shops and restaurants in Belmont Shores. But hello, 4th Street Retro Row is a hidden gem to us non-LBC people. Really charming small shops, vintage stores and inviting bars. If you are a fan of vintage anything, this is a place to check out.

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A pile of vintage clothes to rummage through and buy at La Bomba. Literally a mountain.

Lesson #4: Broadway Street

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Long Beach street art everywhere.

Long Beach’s Broadway Street brings you through all the different neighborhoods of the area: Bixby Park, East Village Artist District and Downtown Long Beach. This part of the city elicits a certain vibe of realness and definitely less pretentiousness compared to part of LA proper. Maybe it’s the proximity of the ocean and the sea salt in the air?

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Traffic control LBC style.

Long Beach seems to offer quite a few of these closed off street events. It’s worth checking out (on a bike with gears).

As Priscilla and I rode down Broadway with the sun shining and a cool breeze, this little girl next to us captured the entire experience perfectly:  What a lovely day!

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What a lovely day!
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