Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica
Access Type: Bike Lane (Barnard Way-Cloverfield Blvd)
Difficulty: Medium (Hills)
Traffic Intensity: Moderate
Other Bikers: Moderate to few
The View: Scenic (West of Lincoln)
WEST OF LINCOLN: Ocean Park is one of my most-traveled routes. As such, we have a love-hate relationship. It is my most direct method of getting to Sunny Blue and other watering holes on Main St. as well as the beach, but the HILLS OH THE HILLS. Whether going to or from my destination, I must encounter the steep west-bound incline or the slightly more gradual but longer east-bound one. I have tried on many occasions to circumvent them by going a longer way, but, alas, all the streets around that take me where I want to go have their own San Francisco-like counterparts. At least you have pretty murals and cute girls to distract you on the way. Going west, once you have conquered the mountain, the downward slide is a welcome breeze (literally and figuratively), with a view of the ocean to remind you why you bothered riding the bike.
EAST OF LINCOLN: There is an equally gnarly hill at around 11th. I suggest taking Maple, which is one block north, instead; the slope there is much more manageable. Once on 16th, get back on Ocean Park and visit Merrihew’s Sunset Gardens, my favorite nursery in Santa Monica, and grab a bit at Thyme. Going east from this point on, traffic can get intense depending on the time of day and the bike lane ends at Cloverfield, so I advise taking Pearl instead.