September 30, 2006

Back Bay View Park Bike Trail

A lot has happened around the Upper Newport Back Bay, in Newport Beach, Ca., since I wrote about a bike ride I took that included the north, and south, trails, in 2003:

The South Trail became the last leg of the 1st Mountain to the Sea Trail.

There is new talk about extending the north trail further south, and west, from its current west end.

And in 2005 a new Park, with a short Bike/Pedestrian Trail opened, overlooking the Bay, at the corner of Jamboree, and PCH (  Pacific Coast Highway  ).

Bbvp_pic3 The main Park trail goes from the intersection, NE into the park, then left to the sidewalk along PCH, nearby.

At the point in the Park, where the overlook of the Bay is best, there are places to sit down, and a Plaque with a bit of history about these few acres of land.






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The view is just spectacular on a clear day as one looks at the part of the Bay that is close to 2 hotels, boaters, an RV Park, and a Trailer Park.






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Just beyond the Plaque is where the Trail goes down toward Back Bay Dr.








It passes a new Apartment complex, and also, on its right connects with a short trail that can be taken north between the RV Park, and the Cliff, with PCH above (  You come out to a street next to the Trailer Park, turn left, and reach PCH. ).

The Plaque has a historical note about the trail up/down the hill:

The Trail up the hill follows a roadway that was graded in 1907 when Back Bay Dr. went up thru THIS site.

It was the 1st roadway access to the then new Corona Del Mar Village.

As I wandered around the site, the other day, cyclists were going up, and down, the trail taking advantage of the great new way to travel between the Back Bay Trail, and PCH.

A guard at the entrance to the RV Park/ Boating Area told me the new trail, and the trail behind the RV Park, combine for about a 1/2 mile of trail.

September 30, 2006 in Riding Orange County | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 30, 2006

Rolling Ride in Anaheim Hills and Orange

I decided to just go out and ride today.

No real plan, no Official Route List for the blog post, or  having the ride start, and end, at the same place like the other rides.

It has been so long since I last shared a really good, long, ride here, that I felt I just needed to get back out there, and ... just ride, ya know?

So I took the Bus ( OCTA #'s 21, 25, 29, 33, 35, 37, 43, 47, 57, 53, 24, 71, 167, and 131 all connect with the #38 on La Palma Ave.  ) to the intersection of La Palma Ave. and Weir Canyon Rd. , at the border of Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills.

You can connect with the Santa Ana River Bike Trail, in Yorba Linda/Anaheim Hills, this way, too.

I thought the 1 1/2 mile ride up Weir Canyon to an entrance to Weir Canyon Regional Park would be the only real up hill part of the ride.

Okay... so I was wrong.

I managed that with no problem, then looked west along Serrano Ave.

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After a 1 1/2 mile climb that I, being a tad out of practice, found difficult enough to walk a stretch or 2 , the descent began.

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The neigborhoods I had passed, and would subsequently pass, are upscale gated, and ungated, residential communities with views of the surrounding hills to die for in some spots.

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For this shot I crossed the street to give you a look at the 1st of several downhills that made for a wonderful rolling ride down from the hills to the outskirts of Orange.

A cyclist will, at times, reach speeds over 25mph, or more, if not careful to manage the brakes, and hitting green on the few lights.

There is even a stretch with a 10% grade not long after passing the spot of the next photo.

This  whole section of the ride is nice if going south, and west, but you gotta be in good shape, and a tad nuts, to do the reverse. ;-D

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What you are seeing above is a portion of the Nature Conservancy called the Santiago Oaks Regional Park ( Weir Canyon Regional Park is another part ), looking southwest toward the outskirts of Orange.

Serrano ended at Cannon St.

I had gone 6.66 miles by then. ( No wisecracks by the Peanut Gallery! )

At 7.33 miles I changed plans when I saw Cannon was going to go up, up, up, and apparently between 2 massive hills ( A later look at the map seems to have proved me wrong, though ).

I turned right onto Santiago Canyon Road instead and, at 7.62 miles came upon this at Hewes St.:

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The Santiago Creek Recharge Basin.

I decided to go down Hewes to find an historic adobe, and while I found the place, and couldn't get a good picture, I also found a Bike Path started at the intersection with Rancho Santiago Blvd. so turned left to go down it.

I had visions of the thing going quite a distance, but was disappointed on several fronts.

Img_0022 The route lasts only a few blocks, and is in woeful need of re-paving, and flattening of all sorts of bumps, and cracks in the pavement.

What I saw next annoyed me, and probably goes a long way toward explaining why the route appears so unused, and is so neglected.

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This stretch, past a school, and all the way to Chapman Ave., is a Bike Route, complete with marked lane.

The only problem is that cars are allowed to park in the street, blocking the lane, every day except Mondays between 7 and 11am for street sweeping!

Well, after that I reached Chapman Ave. and finished my ride a few blocks later at a bus stop ( OCTA #54 will connect with all the routes mentioned as connecting with the #38 except the 21, and 131. ) after going a total of 10 1/2 miles.

It took me 100 minutes. ;-D

Technorati Tags: Bike, ride, Anaheim, Orange

April 30, 2006 in Riding Orange County | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 30, 2005

A Fair View of Costa Mesa

In March, during my last vacation, I took it upon myself to hop aboard my trusty steed and explore the city of Costa Mesa by bicycle.

I had in mind combining dedicated trails, and mostly bike-laned streets, for a single trip that took in all sections of town.

Why the city hadn't thought of this, was puzzling since they had gone thru the trouble of printing a map showing all bike facilities the city had to offer.

Posting my effort here is my thank you for the 2 years I enjoyed living in Costa Mesa, and bicycling around it.

The staging area: Fairview Park on Placentia Ave., between Adams Ave. on the north, and Wilson on the south.

The official start of the ride: Entrance to park, heading south on Placentia.

Getting there:

By Car:

From LA COUNTY:

1. 405 frwy. south to Harbor, then south to Adams, west to Placentia, then turn left, and drive to park.

2. Various other Freeways will bring you eventually to the 55 so you can travel to Newport Blvd. and Harbor, then north to Adams, and left on Adams as above.

3. From south OC take the 5 north to meet the 405.

By Bus and Bike:

From LA COUNTY:

1. Foothill Transit #285 from Puente Hills Mall to Brea Mall, then the OCTA #43 to Harbor Blvd. and Adams, then right on your bike as above..

2. Metro #684 from Pomona/Diamond Bar to Brea Mall, transfer to OCTA #43.

3. Coming from the west, or east, you can connect with OCTA #43 anywhere on Harbor and go south or north to Adams as needed.

4. OCTA #'s #29, 47, 53, 57, 59, all go north to Brea Mall, and connect with the #43.

The #57 goes south to Fashion Island.

The #43 goes along the full length of Harbor, connecting with all east/west busses.

5. From the south the OCTA #1 connects with the #55 at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. Take the 55 to Harbor and Wilson. Ride bike west on Wilson to Placentia then north to the park.

The ROUTE:

From the staging area at the park you go back to the entrance

The ride begins, and ends, at Fairview Park, and there are plenty of dining, and bathroom, choices along the way.

Approximate Distance: 27 Miles.

ROUTE DESCRIPTION:

Start - Fairview park.

South - Placentia Ave. ( Remember the Fire Station on your left for later! )

R - Bike Trail on Victoria Ave., and Victoria Ave. itself.

R - Santa Ana River Bike Trail.

Pass Moon Park, and under frwy.

R - On trail off-shoot and exit onto Cadillac Ave., continuing immediately east on Sunflower Ave.

R - Hyland Ave. which becomes South Coast Dr.

L - Fairview Rd.

R - Sunflower Ave.

R  - Bristol St.

L - Paulorino Ave.

R - Red Hill Ave.

R - Bristol St.

L - Bear St.

L - South Coast Dr.

L - Fairview Ave.

L - Arlington St.

R - onto sidewalk at Newport Blvd.

Enter Bike Trail and turn right on trail at Fair Dr.

L - Fairview Rd.

R - Newport Blvd.

L - 19th St.

R - Irvine Ave.

R - 17th St.

R - Placentia Ave.

R - Onto Bike Trail near Fire Station.

L - On Trail at Harbor Blvd.

L - On Trail as it goes past apartments, and golf course. ( keep sharp lookout for the turn ).

L- Onto Tanager Dr. at entrance to Golf Course ( Golf Course Dr. ).

R - Oriole Dr.

L - Placentia Ave., and back to Fairview Park.

The ride:

The ride begins by traveling south past Costa Mesa Golf Course and Estancia High School. On your left, as you pass the Fire Station, take notice of the eastbound bike trail for later.

Along most of Victoria avenue, west of Placentia, is a very nice, 1/2 mile, Bike Trail with sidewalk and plants seperating it from the street.

Continuing on a brief downhill stretch of Victoria keep a sharp eye out for the entrance to the river trail.

Upon entering the Santa Ana River Bike Trail for the ride north you begin a journey that takes you past the Talbert Nature Preserve, on the backside of Fairview Park, and then the Mesa Verde Country Club.

As you pass the Preserve on this "spur" of the main trail you reach a bridge which you cross to enter another "spur" that goes under Adams Ave. and then past the country club.

After going under the freeway you take an immediate right onto a short trail, lined with trees on either side, that provide a beautiful canopy for a shady respite from the suntan you are developing on this trip.

After the rolling ride that started the journey comes a relatively flat stretch all the way to South Coast Plaza.

It begins by passing several business parks, Ikea, the L.A. Times bldg., and AAA. This is followed by a residential area before going around South Coast Plaza, and over the 405 to Paulorino Ave..

The ride to reconnect with Bristol goes past business parks as it skirts the west side of John Wayne Airport.

Along here you will hear the rumble of passenger jets and, if you are lucky, you will glimpse 1 to 3 landings and/or take-offs.

The highlight of the ride on Bristol is the humongous American Flag waving gloriously in the wind above the Bristol St. Mini-Storage Complex.

This thing is magnificent to see, and sent a thrill of patriotic pride coursing through me as I continued on my way.

Make a left onto Bear St., just before the 73 frwy., and you next pass the Newport Mesa Unified School District Education Center Complex, and then a residential district.

Before going to the west side of South Coast Plaza you pass Schiffer Park, and the excesively opulent Trinity Broadcasting Complex.

Regardless of your branch of Christianity you have heard of, if not actually watched, the TBN cable network at 1 time or another, and this ride is the perfect opportunity to satisfy your curiosity with a visit to the International Headquarters.

While not my cup of tea I do highly recommend the book/gift shop, and taking a walk through the building.

Oh, and DON'T forget to go potty!

Trust me, you have NEVER seen bathrooms like these, and will never forget the experience.

Check out the virtual reality theatre, walk on one of the sets, and sit where the audience sits during the taping of a show in a studio.

Ok, by now you are heartily sick of dealing with all the freeways so be of good cheer as this is soon done with, and what follows is a long stretch of flatness beginning with a residential stretch to Orange Coast College, and Costa Mesa High School, at Fairview and Arlington.

Up next is a jaunt past Tewinkle Park, around the Orange County Fairgrounds, and past Vanguard University, and Costa Mesa City Hall, and Police Headquarters.

The highlights of this stretch are the park, and the Bike Trail, most of which is on Fair Dr. between Newport Blvd. and Fairview.

Tewinkle, known for its big hill, has a Bark Park, and a newly opened Skateboard Park.

The Bike Trail is seperated from the street by sidewalk.

The next stretch of the journey takes you past the Minaret of the Ali Baba Motel, and to Triangle Square, a shopping complex once meant to be a major draw to this section of town when opened, but now undergoing hard times as first Nike and, more recently, Virgin Megastore have either pulled up stakes or announced the intention to do so.

With its surviving Theatre, and Bookstore, a revival is being attempted by bringing in 1st Sutra Lounge and, soon, a Mexican restuarant to draw a new clientel.

After a trip along 19th, and Irvine, the next section takes you along the 17th St. Shopping District all the way to Newport Blvd. before taking a rolling ride up to Placentia on the lower westside of town.

The newly re-paved Placentia Ave. is part of an attempt to fix up, and re-develope the westside of town, and this section has mostly businesses along it.

Remember the Fire Station?

We are now back in front of it.

The next stretch of the route is a nifty Bike Trail that snakes past the golf Course on your left, and 1st residences, then Harbor Blvd., on your right as you head a few blocks north.

You pass Fairview Developmental Center, past Fair Dr., and turn left just past Merrimac for a short jaunt through the Harbor Villa Apartments, and the north side of the Golf Course.

The fact that the lane stripes, and smooth pavement, of the beginning is not universal is disappointing.

A mixture of concrete, and gravelly lanes, some stretches are a tad rough on the tires.

The trail ends at the entrance to the golf course, and you exit , and head west on Tanager Dr. passing Tanager Park, and then through a residential area until you reach Placentia, turn left and go up the short hill back to Fairview Park.

Anyone interested in exploring the city of Costa Mesa, and all it has to offer, will find this cycling trip well worth the time, and effort.

July 30, 2005 in Riding Orange County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 28, 2005

Irvine Ca. wants input from area riders

Do you live in the city of Irvine, or even just Orange County somewhere?

Do you regularly ride your bike in Irvine.

Do you just ride there occasionally?

Well, does the city of Irvine have an offer for you! :-D

Bikeways -- Tell us what you think! ( Attend a Workshop! )
The City of Irvine would like to invite you to participate in a survey regarding current and future bikeway facilities.  The City is looking for community input on the existing network of bicycle facilities, current concerns and future needs.  You can access the survey by clicking here until August 31, 2005.

Here's a great chance to let city planners, and leaders, know what you think.

The results of the survey will be used to update the city Bicycle Transportation Plan, and improve the system of trails.

July 28, 2005 in Riding Orange County | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 28, 2005

1st of 3 Mtn. to Sea Trails opens in Orange County, Ca.

This is great news for Cyclists of all stripes, and walkers, and hikers, as well.

Three trails connecting the Cleveland National Forest to the ocean are focal points of an Irvine Co. plan to preserve 50,000 acres of the old Irvine Ranch.

Company Chairman Donald Bren announced Thursday that the Bren Foundation will donate $20 million to the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve Trust to expand access to the area, the largest portions encompassing Weir, Fremont and Limestone Canyons to the north, Shady and Bommer Canyons in the south and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

California has a great reputation for some of the best hiking, and biking spots in the nation, and Orange County's place in it has just gotten an unbelievable boost.

The first trail, called "Mountains-to-Sea," runs from Weir Canyon all the way to Newport Coast.

Portions of the trail were completed years ago, but the Irvine Co. worked with five cities - Irvine, Newport Beach, Tustin, Orange and Anaheim - and the county to link all the segments.

The other two planned trails will straddle the planned Great Park and also run from the mountains to the sea. Bren said he wants those trails opened within 18 months.

I've written about portions of this trail, that I've rode on my bike, and the Newport Back Bay is one of my favorite, and interesting, places to visit.

For Bren preserving the land for recreational use is a passion.

Bren asked the elected officials and conservation leaders gathered at Irvine Regional Park on Thursday to join him in an "unwavering commitment to ensure that this precious land is managed, improved and enjoyed forever."

Bren's latest donation brings to $50 million the contributions to the reserve by the Bren Foundation. The money will be spent to cut 30 new trails, some as long as 17 miles.

"I believe we can create a world-renowned park, restored and managed to standards that inspire others," he said.

Choosing to make this announcement in Irvine was important to him:

"We chose this setting because of the park's deep historical ties to our company's open space and historical legacy," Bren said of his gift to the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve.

Irvine Regional Park, just outside the northwest city limits of Orange, was donated to the county in 1897 by Irvine Co. founder James Irvine. The land reserve, 50,000-plus acres, includes 11,000 acres set aside in 2001.

When most folks think of the Irvine Co. they think of housing tracts, and Shopping Malls, and may not realize the historic part the company has played in the preservation of open land in Orange County.

The opportunities for exercise, fun, and adventure, are endless in the Great Outdoors, and  depending on the time of day you choose to wander about you may, alongside an amazing variety of trees and blooming wildflowers, see abundant wildlife such as bobcats, deer, rabbits, squirrels, skunks, fish, lizards, snakes, bats, ducks, and a variety of other local, and migratory, birds.

This particular route  ( Wonderful Interactive MAP!! ) passes through the cities of Orange, Tustin, Irvine and Newport Beach, and the other 2, future routes, will be further to the south.

Stories in:

OC REGISTER. ( Free Reg. required. )

Daily Pilot.

Daily Pilot Editor.

May 28, 2005 in Riding Orange County | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 27, 2004

Harbor Blvd.: Riding Thru the Heart of Orange County

11/21/04:

As I stand with my bike on Harbor Blvd. and Whittier Blvd., at Constitution Plaza, La Habra, the whole of Orange County is spread out before me to the south.

When folks from the North ( Los Angeles County ) venture into this territory, on street level, they do so by way of 3 entrances:

1. Hacienda Blvd. (Rd.)/ Beach Blvd.

2. Fullerton Rd./Harbor Blvd.

3. Brea Canyon Rd. (Brea Blvd.) to State College Blvd.

All 3 take you on a journey through the North County, and 1 goes all the way to the beach itself.

But only 1 goes straight down the middle, and penetrates the beating heart of the OC itself, Costa Mesa.

Come with me as I take you for a ride....

The staging area: La Bonita Park, in La Habra, on Idaho St. between La Habra Blvd. and Whittier Blvd.

The official start of the ride: Whittier Blvd. and Harbor Blvd.

Getting there:

By Car:

From LA COUNTY:

1. The routes I mentioned. Then you head east or west to Idaho St., accordingly

2. Whittier Blvd.

3. Various Freeways that will bring you eventually to Beach Blvd. so you can travel north to Whittier Blvd.

By Bus and Bike:

From LA COUNTY:

1. Foothill Transit #285 to Beach and Whittier, then a short pedal east to Idaho.

2. Metro #684 from Pomona/Diamond Bar to Brea Mall, transfer to OCTA #29 to La Habra and Idaho, and then a short pedal north on Idaho.

3. Coming from the south, west, or east, you can connect with OCTA #29 on Beach anywhere from PCH northward by using any number of busses.

4. OCTA #'s 47, 53, 57, 59, all go north to Brea Mall, and connect with the #29.

The #43 goes north the full length of Harbor, even connecting with the #29, all east/west busses, and the Foothill Transit Bus, but you will want to save riding it for the return trip to the park, especially if you came by car or Bus.

The ROUTE:

From the staging area at the park ( restrooms can be found on south side of Parking Lot ) ride the short distance north to Whittier Blvd., turn right and head to Harbor Blvd. ( Distance 1.65m )

START: Harbor Hlvd. and Whittier Blvd., in  La Habra.

END: Harbor Blvd. and Newport Blvd., in Costa Mesa.

Approximate Distance: 21 Miles

The RIDE:

Harbor Blvd. begins in the foothills of La Habra Heights, the offspring of Fullerton Blvd. in the city of Industry over the hill, and the ride through La Habra itself is a ride past strip malls and apartment complexes with occasional glimpses of cities to the east.

The wind is blowing heavy at my back as I pass between the Albertsons Distribution Center, and the Beckman Coulter complex, heading south toward the 1st, and waht truned out to be the only challenge on the whole route.

From Imperial Highway the rider must wind his way through the foothilss of north Fullerton.

The leisurely ups and downs of this stretch take me past entrances to several well to do neighborhoods, the Brea Dam, and a huge hill known as Camp Hillcrest.

Riding the few blocks through downtown Fullerton I am treated to a glimpse, in all directions, of an eclectic mix of old and new buildings, and established, and newer businesses, and shopping opportunities.

I admire the stately Springfield Banquet Center Building, and the worn down, yet still majestic, old Fox Theater ( Recently saved from the wrecking ball ).

Home to colleges, museums, eateries, antique stores, Farmer's Markets, and a major Transit Hub, the downtown area is well worth exploring on foot, or bike.

As I leave Fullerton I pass the Metro Center Shopping Complex, and the 1st group of strip malls anchored by Big Box Retailers that are numerous along the length of Harbor.

I stop, over looking the freeway, to enjoy the view, to the east, of the Mountains of the Cleveland National Forest, covered by an overnight coating of Snow.

When most folks think of Anaheim they think of Mickey Mouse, Disneyland, the Angels, and occasionally the talented Mighty Ducks of the NHL, but the 1st thing to greet the visitor traving south on Harbor is the huge sign on the northern end of La Palma Park:

Wilkommen in Anaheim 1857

The fancy stuff is further south. For now I just enjoy the view of the park.

For the next half mile I pass what is the only purely residential stretch of Harbor Blvd.

On what must surely be a coveted bit of Prime Real Estate are block, after block, of modest, old wood frame homes with shingle roofs, and homes of a bit more recent ( but not by too much ) materials, another park, and the grounds of St. Catherine's Military School.

They are the inner lines of some of the oldest residential sections of the city, and as I ride along this narrowed highway the well kept lawns provide a quiet contrast to the hustle, and bustle, of what's to come.

Shortly, Harbor opens wide again, the better to gobble up all the traffic from tourists, and those who cater to them in the large area surrounding Disneyland.

Over the next mile the homes give way, grudgingly, block by block, to small businesses, and small motels, until I pedal over Interstate 5 to behold......

a Tourist Mecca spread out before me.

Straddling the Interstate I turn around to look back toward La Habra, and then take another look at the mountains to the east.

To look to the south is to look directly into the belly of the Beast known as America at Play, and America on Vacation ( the world, too, for that matter! ):

Disneyland Resort.

On my right are the parks themselves, with the Old Matterhorn thrusting proudly toward the heavens defiantly daring anyone to deny its right to still exist amid all the change of the last 50 years.

On my left are block after block of hotels, motels, shops, and eateries.

Unseen from this vantage point, but glimpsed on my way through, are more of the same to the east, west, and south of the main Blvd., and attractions.

Even after the Parks close down for the night this whole region is alive with people, and traffic, as workers, and tourists, come and go.

Outside of Disneyland Resort, itself, the busiest places are parking lots, and the Transit Hub off Harbor Blvd. and East Shuttle Lane.

Bus, after bus, after bus, from those connected with the resort ( even Cast Shuttles ), the hotels, and the city to the various Mass Transit, and Tourism, Agencies, pick up, drop off, and shuttle around the enormous numbers of people in town on any given day.

You can stand on the corner, here, all day, people watching, and never be bored by what you see, and maybe over hear.

And yet.... amidst all of this excess is a small reminder of the agricultural heritage of this area:

Near Convention Way, and Harbor Blvd., is a large open field, well tended, and cultivated, and the popular Fujishige Farm Produce Stand, with its fresh fruit, and veggies for sale.

I had to smile, and laugh out loud, at he the contrast.

Fantasia finally gives way to reality again, at Chapman, as the Crown Plaza Resort Hotel, on my right, passes the baton to the Target store on my left, and I enter the city of Garden Grove.

There is nothing much to this stretch as I pass small stores, fast food joints, strip malls, trailer parks, empty lots, and a small, dingy looking, night club that claims to be a Humdinger ( Hey, that's the name on the building. Honest! ).

As I leave Garden Grove I begin to see the 1st of the big Auto Dealerships that make the last leg of Harbor so famous.

The next legs of the ride are thru areas shared by both Fountain Valley, and Santa Ana.

I guess one didn't want to give up its place at cash generating table that is Harbor Blvd. to the other, and so they share.

Santa Ana gets a handful of Auto Dealers, several strip malls, and a huge Shopping Center with a Wall Mart as its center, and Fountain Valley gets a couple of auto dealers, a couple of strip malls, a Smart and Final, Taco Bell, Sizzler, and Subway.

They both get a number of Mexican, and Asian, eateries as well.

Everyone is happy, including the merchants, and their customers.

Leaving Fountain Valley, for one more short ride through Santa Ana, I cross over the Santa Ana River and its popular Bike Trail, near Warner.

The ride continues past Business Parks ( actually several neighborhoods grouped together for blocks on either side of Harbor ) before entering Costa Mesa, the heart of Orange County.

And, boy, what an entrance!

As I head toward the 405 Frwy., on the left I see Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, National University, and Ikea., and on my right the grounds of the Whittier Law School, after a few more Business Parks.

The next few miles are a blur of Auto Dealerships broken up by 5 large Shopping Centers anchored by Target, and Asian Market, Home Depot, K-mart, and Office Depot.

Oh, and I can't forget the Hospital for the Mentally Disabled, and the Public Golf Course that are next door neighbors!

The end of the ride is dominated by 1 huge decades old Shopping Complex.

It is called Triangle Square, and its design is majestic, and sits on a plot of land bordered on 3 sides by !9th Street, Harbor Blvd., and Newport Blvd., with the start/end of the 55 Frwy. just off the south east corner.

The place is not as dead as it looks when you go there to shop, and is slowly making a comeback after years of being ignored by many shoppers.

Its current tennants include an Edwards Theatre, a Barnes & Noble,  The Gap, Niketown, and a Virgin Megastore, and there's a Borders across the street as well.

Oh and, the new kid in town, a hugely popular Night Club.

People from all over Southern California come a lot to the Sutra Lounge.

Judging by the number of of Stretch Limos, parked each night in the parking lot of the empty shopping center across the street, the place is not just hip, but expensive, too.

And Loud!

I can hear the music, and the chatter, from a half block away as I pass by each night on my way home from work.

If you are on a budget, and looking to mingle with a crowd of young to middle age, though supposedly less hip folks then across the street are the The Goat Hill Tavern, The Helm, or Mimi's Cafe, plus the El Matador, and Cafe Ruba afew blocks west on Newport.

Your wallet will thank you!

This bike ride, non-stop, would take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

For obvious reasons it took me 4 1/2. :-)

There is a lot to see if you choose to make a day of it so don't be afraid to do so.

For your return, depending on how you got there are several options.

You can ride your bike back up Harbor, or you can go half a block north of 19th to catch the northbound OCTA #43 or #55.

The Southbound #55, west on 19th, will take you to PCH, or your can also ride west on 19th about a mile and a half to Placentia Ave. to catch the Northbound #47 or take the east bound #71 on Newport, at 19th.

With proper planning getting home will be no problem.

November 27, 2004 in Riding Orange County | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 04, 2004

Orange County, Ca., Bikeways Website

Those of us who live in Orange County know that many streets have Bike Lanes, and that there are many Class 1, Off Road, Bike Trails here.

A question worth asking is this one:

Did you know that the Orange County Transit Agency has for years produced a free map, and even has a website for the Bike Map?

If you ride the bus, you won't see ads for it, and the Bus book gives no clue either.

In 1999 I picked up a 1998 edition of the map at OCTA Headquarters, and in 2002 picked up the 2001 edition the same way.

This year I discovered the website when I added the agency to my Bike Friendly Mass Transit list of links.

With this post I wish to share my thoughts on the website.

The Introduction page says there are over 800 miles of on-road, and off-road bikeways available to ride on as of August 2001

That's all fine and dandy, but then, in what seems an attempt to cover their behinds concerning the accuracy of the map there is the following:

While every effort has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information, please keep in mind that the bikeway routes portrayed on this map are intended for informational purposes only. No guarantee is made by the preparers of this map as to the safety of any individual bikeway at any given time. The bicyclist is expected to use good judgment and is responsible for his or her own safety when using the bikeways.

While I have no quarrel with the last part, I do have problems with the first, and when you see the map you will understand why.

The info they used may have been up to date, but whether the descriptions on the map are accurate is seriously in question.

More on that further down.

The Bike Laws page provides a nice summary of the bicycle section of the California Vehicle Code.

The Bike Tips page provides useful information on gear, rules of the road, and making right, and left turns, and crossing intersections.

The Commuting page provides useful tips, and a list of some park-and-ride lots in Orange County that provide bike racks, and locations of Bike Lockers.

The Bikes and Busses page provides useful information about loading and unloading your bike on, and off OCTA Busses.

The 2001 Bikeways Strategic Plan is offered in PDF FORMAT, in 6 Chapters, and 11 more PDF'S present the EXISTING Bicycle Facilities, while 11 more present PROPOSED Bicycle Facilities in all the cities of the county.

This is something I will check out further, and report back.

All these various pages can be printed out in a printer friendly format.

Now to the map.

To utilize it as intended you must download the ZOOMABLE MAP PDF, which you read using Adobe Acrobat.

Using the ZOOM Tool, in Adobe, you can zoom in on any section of the map to better read a route.

The difficulty is that you will have the same problem with this map that you would the paper map: Whle many of the Class 2 Bike Lanes are easily teamed with the streets they are on, many of the Off-road Routes, and even Class 3 Routes are hard to pinpoint where either end of the route begins/ends.

One example of this is a ride I took thru Santa Ana wherein I had to ride 6 blocks from the bus stop, with directions from a passerby, after going in circles, and not finding the trail on my own.

I took this ride a couple of weeks ago, and will be describing it in my next entry.

If you are expecting the detail of Mapquest on the map you can forget it.

I prefer the 1998 paper map to the latest version because it gave the streets in a more extensive manner.

The maps should not only better label streets, but list Class 1 route
locations as well.

I have it in mind to check, and verify, all of the Class 1 Off -Road routes, letting people know where EXACTLY they are, or even if they exist, and the conditons on the trails.

I want to know why the only place you can get the maps, other than online, is at the Transit headquarters, or its Transit Store, next door, and why there are no maps available on the busses, or advertising about where to get them.

One can only hope that the next edition of the map will be better detailed, and planned out.


Orange County Bikeways.

June 4, 2004 in Riding Orange County | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 19, 2004

Tour de OC Airports

I live close to 2 airports in Orange County.

1 is an active one, John Wayne, and the other is abandoned, Tustin Marine Corp Air Station.

The bike ride I describe here is a leisurely suburban ride with a few difficult bits of navigation, and therefore I'd suggest it only be done by experienced road riders used to making lane changes, and left turns in traffic, at major intersections.

Location: Newport Beach, Irvine, Tustin, and Costa Mesa Ca.

Directions to Ride Start:

Various freeways lead south from LA County, Riverside County, and North Orange County to connect with the 55 Frwy. to Costa Mesa, and the 405 frwy comes north as well for anyone traveling from South Orange County.

The 55 becomes Newport Blvd. at 19th Street.

Turn left at 19th. 19th becomes Dover at Irvine Ave.

Turn left at Castaways Lane and take an immediate right into Castaways Park, or a left into Bob Henry Park.

By bus, folks can connect with OCTA 43, south on HARBOR BLVD., anywhere from Brea to Costa Mesa, and transfer to OCTA 55 at Harbor and Wilson, heading south. The 55 stops at Dover & Castaways Lane.

Alternatively folks coming from along the coast, from Long Beach to San Clemente, can take OCTA 1 to Fashion Island, in Newport Beach, and connect with OCTA 55 there.

Castaways is open 6am-11pm.

THE ROUTE:

1. Right on Dover.
2. Right on Irvine.
3. Right on Bristol.
4. Left on Jamboree ( use left turn lane ).
5. Left on Edinger ( follow arrows for proper lane transition )
6. Left on Red Hill.
7. Left on MacArthur.
8. Right on Campus/Irvine.
9. Left on Westhill.
10. Right on Dover back to the park.

Approximate ride distance is 21.50 miles, depending on food stops and bathroom breaks, and while there are a couple of small hills, this is an easy ride.

THE RIDE:

I really enjoyed this ride, even though, because it rained on the day I did it, I spent 2 hours holed up in a Carl's Jr. waiting for the rain, thunder, and lightning spectacle to end. :-)

In the beginning you head up the rolling street that is Irvine Ave. as it passes The Back Bay ecological preserve, and the Newport Beach Golf Course, and approaches the 73 Freeway.

Traveling along Bristol to Jamboree you pass a few fast food joints, and gas stations, and prepare to carefully merge left to make the turn onto Jamboree.

Along Jamboree, to the San Diego Freeway, you will pass numerous Business Parks, and a few Luxury Apts..

Going over the Freeway is tricky as you need to watch the lanes to make sure you stay left. The lane close to the curb is for right turns onto the freeway, the next lane is for left turns onto the freeway, and the 3rd lane to the left is for you, and traffic going beyond the freeway.

From the freeway you pass hotels, and Business parks before approaching Corporate Business Park Plaza Shopping Center, at Barranca.

By now you will have travelled aproximately 8.40 miles and are approaching the Marine Airbase.

Going up, and over, Warner Ave., into Tustin, you get your first of 3 long looks at the abandoned Airbase, and its abandoned hangers, outbuildings, and open land.

As you take the Edinger exit pay attention to the arrows dirtecting you to stay to your left for the turn you need to take.

You can rest, and re-fuel, at the Jack-in-the-Box restuarant after the turn, and take in a full, unobstructed view of the Airbase, and its huge gray hangers.

Continuing along Edinger you have the same view, and then heading down Red Hill you pass the old residential section, and the still guarded entrance to the base.

There are 2 gas stations at MacArthur, and as you pass more Business Parks, you finally approach John Wayne Airport and, in case you have not noticed yet, you will find yourself directly under the Airport flight path for incoming, and outgoing planes.

The Carl's Jr. I mentioned earlier is along here, and gives you another chance to refuel.

As you head along Campus, to Bristol, you pass right next to the Airport.

The remaining portion of the ride is back on Irvine, and if you haven't taken any re-fueling stops, then you can stop near Westhill, or along 17th for several food choices before heading back to your car, or to catch the bus.

April 19, 2004 in Riding Orange County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2004

San Juaquin Hills and Corona Del Mar State Beach

Location: Newport Beach, and Corona Del Mar

Directions to Ride Start:

Various freeways lead south from LA County, Riverside County, and North Orange County to connect with the 55 Frwy. to Costa Mesa, and the 405 frwy comes north as well for anyone traveling from South Orange County.

The 55 becomes Newport Blvd. at 19th Street.

Turn left at 19th. 19th becomes Dover at Irvine Ave.

Turn left at Castaways Lane and take an immediate right into Castaways Park, or a left into Bob Henry Park.

By bus, folks can connect with OCTA 43, south on HARBOR BLVD., anywhere from Brea to Costa Mesa, and transfer to OCTA 55 at Harbor and Wilson, heading south. The 55 stops at Dover & Castaways Lane.

Alternatively folks coming from along the coast, from Long Beach to San Clemente, can take OCTA 1 to Fashion Island, in Newport Beach, and connect with OCTA 55 there.

Castaways is open 6am-11pm.

THE ROUTE:

1. Left on Dover out of the park.
2. Left on PCH.
3. Left on Jamboree.
4. Right on San Juaquin Hills. Rd.
5. Right on Newport Coast Dr.
6. Right on Pacific Coast Highway.
7. Left on Poppy.
8. Right on Ocean blvd.
9. Right on Fernleaf.
10. Left on bayside Dr.
11. Left on PCH.
12. Right on Dover to the park.

Approximate ride distance is 14.50 miles, depending on food stops, beach, and island detours, and bathroom breaks, and while there are some hills, this is an easy ride, the last half of which has a wonderful downhill, and richly rewardling coastal views.

THE RIDE:

I didn't know what to expect of the first part of this ride, when I took it last week, though the Thomas Guide map book showed it was in the hills east of PCH, and was pleasantly suprised.

The ride begins along Pacific Coast Highway, with a glimpse of Newport Bay.

The you begin your 5 mile journey along San Juaquin Hills Rd. by passing the East side of Fashion Island Shopping Center, and San Juaquin Hills Park.

A mile long climb from Marguerite to a hilltop wildlands area brings you to 2 canyon viewing areas known as Harbor Watch and Canyon Watch.

Not long after ward you reach Newport Cove park, and Newport Coast Shopping Center, at Newport Coast Blvd.

Your reward for the hilly ride past empty land, and Gated Communities, is a wonderful 1 1/2 mile downhill that, if you time it right at the 1 light near the bottom, is a 25 mph. coast ( That means NO PEDALING REQUIRED! ) down to PCH that gives you a spectacular view of the ocean, and Crystal Cove.

After a short ride along PCH your reach the outskirts of downtown Corona Del Mar, at Poppy.

A short ride west on Poppy brings you to Inspiration Point at Corona Del Mar State Beach.

The ride along the cliffs on Ocean Blvd. to Fernleaf gives you great views of the beach, Catalina Island, and the entrance to Newport Harbor.

This is a quiet residential area full of fancy homes, and the ride along Bayside brings you to Marine Ave. where, you will be tempted to turn left cross the bridge and explore Balboa Island.

Don't let ME stop you! :-)

Go right ahead! :-)

Back out on PCH it is just a short ride back up Dover to the park.

March 30, 2004 in Riding Orange County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Circling Turtle Rock

Location: Newport Beach and Irvine, Ca.

Directions to Ride Start:

Various freeways lead south from LA County, Riverside County, and North Orange County to connect with the 55 Frwy. to Costa Mesa, and the 405 frwy comes north as well for anyone traveling from South Orange County.

The 55 becomes Newport Blvd. at 19th Street.

Turn left at 19th. 19th becomes Dover at Irvine Ave.

Turn left at Castaways Lane and take an immediate right into Castaways Park, or a left into Bob Henry Park.

By bus, folks can connect with OCTA 43, south on HARBOR BLVD., anywhere from Brea to Costa Mesa, and transfer to OCTA 55 at Harbor and Wilson, heading south. The 55 stops at Dover & Castaways Lane.

Alternatively folks coming from along the coast, from Long Beach to San Clemente, can take OCTA 1 to Fashion Island, in Newport Beach, and connect with OCTA 55 there.

Castaways is open 6am-11pm.

THE ROUTE:

1. Right on Dover, out of the park
2. Right on Irvine
3. Enter the Bike Trail just beyond Santiago
4. Take the trail around the north side of the Bay, turn right at Jamboree, and a short distance later, a right to go under Jamboree, and on to the San Diego Creek Bike Trail.
5. Ride to Campus, and then cross the street to continue east on University.
6. Right on Ridgeline.
7. Left on Turtle Rock.
8. Left on Campus.
9. Left on Culver/Bonita Canyon/Ford Rd./East Bluff.
10. At Jamboree cross the street and go north on the path to continue back around the North side of the Bay
11. At Santiago, cross the street to continue south on Irvine Ave.
12. Left on Westcliff.
13. Right on Dover.
14. Enter Park.

Aproximate ride distance is 23.50 miles, depending on food stops and bathroom breaks, and while there are some hills, this is an easy ride.

THE RIDE:

Riding around the Upper Newport Back Bay is always a joy. The scenery, and the birds make for great viewing.

The route along University takes you 1st past the UC Irvine Campus.

Next you pass William Mason Regional Park and a huge Wilderness area.

Both have paths for cylists, and walkers, and you can enter the Wilderness paths at University and Golden Glow, and at Yale.

The ride up Ridgeline, past the road to Concordia University, is a mile and a half climb past empty land, and Gated Communities.

The 3 1/2 mile ride around Turtle Rock is a nice one past Gated Communities, and several parks, including Turtle Rock Community Park.

Along Campus you will pass University High School.

Next you will ride through parts of Bonita Canyon and pass more homes, and empty land, and an entrance to Bonita Canyon Bike Trail.

As you continue to MacArthur Blvd. you pass several churches, and the Bonita Canyon Sports Park.

After crossing MacArthur you travel past some Gated Communities, and Corona Del Mar High School.

Before re-connecting with Jamboree you pass the East Bluff Village Shopping Center.

The remainder of the ride takes you back around the Bay.

At Irvine and Westcliff are several eateries if you are so inclined to indulge in the Munchies before returning to Castaways Park.

March 30, 2004 in Riding Orange County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack