Long Beach Bikeway Route 60: Carson Ave.

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long beach bike pathAn odd coincidence occurred as I rode this route Thursday. My brother was riding in San Diego at about the same time and was hit by a car. Someone shooting a gap between cars, across traffic, nearly T-boned him. Fortunately he hit the brakes at the last moment, collided with their right front bumper and flipped up onto the windshield, before flipping over the top of the car and landing on his feet, relatively unharmed. He says his new nickname is El Gato, and he’s down a life now. Safety, safety, safety. He’s an experienced rider, following the rules of the road and still got hit. Never assume the motorist can see you. Be safe out there.

The official Long Beach Bikeway Route 60 is a safe route for kids and inexperienced riders, traveling mostly through Heartwell Park. A word of caution, on Saturdays and Sundays the pedestrian traffic along this route, as well as general use of the park, can make this trail a bit hazardous for riders trying to push for speed. Especially dangerous can be the small children wandering, or even playing on the path, who are completely oblivious of the fact that there might be fast paced bicycles passing through.

I picked up Long Beach Bikeway Route 60 where Carson dead-ends at Long Beach Boulevard, which is a good 2 miles before its official beginning near the Lakewood Country Club. Here at its unofficial beginning the street is wide with a sharrow lane similar to the one on 2nd Avenue, but painted white. This section bends around and travels about .1 miles until it reaches Atlantic Ave. From Atlantic to its official beginning, Route 60 is two lanes in each direction, with moderate traffic and plenty of parked cars on your right. From Atlantic to Cherry Ave., be extra alert for sudden doors swinging open.

Once you hit Cherry, entirely new concerns arise. First, is the fact that here Carson is a three lane road in both directions. That means the cyclist has one of two choices. Ride in the gutter (literally) as cars whiz by, inches away. Or, ride on the sidewalk. Both have their own perils. On the road you are more visible, but easier to hit. On the sidewalk you are not as close to the cars, but as cars pull into or out of the dozens of parking lots entrances along this stretch, they won’t ever see you until they hit you. With this in mind, the sidewalk is definitely safer. But safest of all is to shoot south a quarter of a mile and ride Cover St. through Douglas Park industrial complex, recently opened up.

Once you have passed this deadly stretch, the official Long Beach Bikeway Route 60 begins. It’s an awkward beginning falling between Lakewood Blvd. and Paramount Blvd. with absolutely no way to get here without traversing the dangerous section I just spoke of. That being said, if you can get onto the route, you’ll ride on bike-dedicated paths that will take you across the breadth of Heartwell Park, past LBCC, through the edge of the Long Beach Town Center until you duck under the 605 Freeway and end up in Hawaiian Gardens.

After crossing Lakewood Blvd. the route takes you through LBCC, and from there Heartwell. Through this stretch you’ll pass Long Beach Bikeway Routes, 23 (Conant), 27 (Bellflower), 29 (Woodruff) and 33 (Los Coyotes). After crossing over Palo Verde Ave. I didn’t see any signs for a long while and wasn’t sure if the route had officially ended or not. But after passing over Long Beach Bikeway Route 65 (San Gabriel River Trail) signs resumed indicating the route traveled along the edge of the Long Beach Town Center. This stretch can be a bit dodgy with quite a bit of traffic entering and exiting, but unlike the earlier parking lots mentioned earlier, the sight lines here and the open corners make cyclists much more visible. Still, stay alert.

Long Beach Bikeway Route 60 officially ends at LB Town Center Dr. If you are traveling into Hawaiian Gardens be careful as you negotiate on the road with motorists accessing the 605 Freeway.

Bikeway: Route 60
Streets Traveled: Carson St.
Official Mileage: 3.5 miles
Unofficial Mileage: 5.6 miles

Landmarks: Rancho Los Cerritos, Bixby Knolls, City of Lakewood, Lakewood Country Club, LBCC, Heartwell Park, Heartwell Golf Course, Long Beach Town Center, Hawaiian Gardens

Connecting Routes:

Long Beach Bikeway Route 23 (Clark)
Long Beach Bikeway Route 27 (Bellflower)
Long Beach Bikeway Route 29 (Woodruff)
Long Beach Bikeway Route 33 (Los Coyotes)
Long Beach Bikeway Route 65 (San Gabriel River Trail)

About Peter Dopulos
Peter Dopulos is an avid cyclist and can often be seen riding the Long Beach Bikeways. He recently wrote a book, Where to Bike Orange County, he is also the co-host of the Long Beach radio talkshow Swoop's World and a co-founder of GreenWorld365.com.

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