Ooooh, Ahhhhh…Springtime in the LBC

From the Desk of: Aiza

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

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.

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 

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

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.

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

Lesson #4: Broadway Street

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?

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!

What a lovely day!

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