With year-round sunshine and scenic terrain, LA can be a cyclist’s playground, but navigating the city on your own can be daunting for even the most experienced cyclist. Luckily, plenty of people are ready to roll alongside you.
There is a cycling group for every type of rider in town. Some specialize in certain skill levels, while others offer scenic rides or “drop rides” (a type of group ride that doesn’t wait for those who can’t keep up unless there’s an injury). Many clubs cater to specific communities. Women-run clubs and LGBTQ+ cycling groups value inclusion. Interest-based groups like East Side Riders and Bicycle Meals combine cycling with community service.
In addition to the security of numbers, these groups can offer a sense of community in a sometimes lonely town. John Jones III, co-founder of East Side Riders, believes that cycling allows people to explore areas they’ve probably driven past hundreds of times. “It gives you a chance to tour your neighborhood — and enjoy your neighborhood on another level,” he said.
Ready for a ride? Grab a helmet, harness your spirit of adventure, and join one of these nine bike clubs.
To attempt: Eastside driver
Recreation and altruism intersect at East Side Riders, a nonprofit dedicated to feeding the homeless, keeping youth away from gang activity and drug use, and — of course — riding bikes through the community. The group, founded by father-son duo John Jones Jr. and John Jones III, has served well over 100,000 free meals. In addition to weekly rides, the club hosts special events like picnics and workouts. Meal service is on Wednesdays at 10:00 am in Compton (2111 W. Compton Blvd.) and 11:00 am in Watts (1513 E. 103rd St.).
Anyone who wants to make a difference in the community can participate. “You don’t have to live in Watts, you don’t have to live in Compton, you don’t have to live in South LA,” Jones III said.
Rides usually: Friday evening and Sunday morning. Follow East Side Riders on Instagram for details on the latest events.
If you are looking for a female led group that get stuck
To attempt: The Mixed Race
It’s not a race – is it? The tagline fits the Mixed Race, which features a fast-paced 30-mile drop ride through Los Angeles. The women-led cycling group started in 2017 and hasn’t slowed down since. In this club, being left behind is a rite of passage. Jane Voodikon, one of the founders, said that every leader has been left in the dust at some point.
“It’s fun to drive fast,” said Voodikon. “A lot of people when they first come aren’t at that level and they get dropped. But if they keep coming back, they’ll get faster. We’ve seen a lot of riders get stronger and faster just because they didn’t get discouraged too much.”
Rides usually: Thursday evening. Follow the Mixed Race on Instagram for details on the latest events.
To attempt: Different spokes
What started as a newspaper ad in 1983 had the staying power to grow into a full-fledged cycling club celebrating its 40th birthday next year. Different Spokes has made a space for LGBTQ+ cyclists in the city but welcomes everyone. For those craving a challenge, weekly rides typically include 3,000 feet of elevation gain, and there’s a monthly ride of 5,000 feet. Routes are usually repeated no more than once a year. The club participates in AIDS/LifeCycle – a seven-day, 545-mile bike ride fundraiser from San Francisco to LA
Rides usually: sunday morning Follow Different Spokes on Instagram for details on the latest events.
Difficulty: Moderate to heavy, but offers easier rides monthly.
If you are looking for a group that is truly unique
To attempt: Electric Light Parade in Venice
When new LA resident Marcus Gladney heard about Sebastian “The Light Man” Butler, known around town for his bike adorned with LED lights and his motto “Lit it or hit it,” he made it his mission to get him Find. He bought a new bike and hit Venice Beach after sundown. Eventually discovering Butler, Gladneyout introduced himself and a friendship grew. Gladney eventually attached the equivalent of 66 AA batteries to his wheels to become the “Pied Piper of Venice” while cyclists were drawn to his dazzling bike.
Thus began the Venice Electric Light Parade.
Seven years later, the parade still invites riders of all ages and skill levels to take a 90-minute ride through Venice every Sunday night. Butler hangs nearby, still selling his lights and fitting them to new bikes. Five people pull blaring music trailers (genres vary depending on where you ride in the parade). If the energy keeps up, Gladney stretches the track. This certified non-profit promotes safe cycling at night.
Rides usually: Sundays at sunset, starting at Windward Plaza in Venice. Follow the Venice Electric Light Parade on Instagram for the exact parade start time each week.
Biking in LA:
If you are looking for a group of cyclists identifying as FTWN-B
To attempt: peach cycling
Founded by women in 2017, Peach Cycling is both a racing team and cycling club creating a supportive space for the FTWN-B (Femme, Transgender, Female and Non-Binary) community. “Peaches” from the race team host monthly group rides so riders can “find community, learn about the local cycling community and grow with like-minded people”. Rides vary in mileage and elevation, but all levels are welcome.
Rides usually: Days and times vary. Follow Peach Cycling on Instagram for details on the latest events.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
If you are looking for a group that has a lot of LA history
To attempt: Wheelmen from Los Angeles
From hardcore cyclists to casual cruisers, this club crafts a ride for everyone. Founded in 1945, it has 145 enrolled members and more than 400 in its Meetup group spread across several weekly trips listed on its website. Challenge seekers should keep their eyes peeled for the Grand Tour – their toughest option covers 400 miles across SoCal in 24 hours. Beginners can partake in a recurring Newcomer ride that spans a more leisurely 20 miles and 450 feet of gain.
Rides usually: Thursdays at 8:30am at Ballona Creek Bridge. Visit the website for more upcoming rides.
If you are looking for a group that is transgender
To attempt: Wild Wolf Cycling Collective
Designed to celebrate non-binary, transgender, genderqueer and female cyclists, Wild Wolf welcomes riders of all skill levels. It spun out of the racing group She Wolf Attack Team last summer and now works with LA Cyclery. Wild Wolf hosts foodie rides (last month the club went to Saffy’s for dinner and then to a burlesque showcase with a queer and trans cast), sunset rides across the 6th Street Viaduct, and bike camps. The driving difficulties will be posted on Instagram in advance.
Rides usually: Wednesday evening and other times. Follow Wild Wolf Cycling Collective on Instagram for details on the latest events.
If you are looking for a group that explores all types of terrain
To attempt: Bike Club Marina del Rey
Start in Marina del Rey and end somewhere between the Hollywood Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains. This cycling club covers 50 to 70 miles per ride, traversing both coastal and inland terrain throughout Southern California. If the full ride sounds too ambitious, the group offers a shorter version of 25 to 35 miles. This is a no-drop group, meaning the club waits for everyone to catch up on tougher climbs. When the last person is ready to move on, they move on. As a bonus, there will be a lunch break along the way.
Rides usually: Sundays at 7:30am in Marina del Rey
Difficulty: Medium to heavy
If you are looking for a group that prioritizes a fun time
To attempt: Ride with us
This easygoing riding group values fun, fitness and friendship. The club was born out of a pandemic for the community and continues to this day. The easiest rides take place on Tuesdays, a slightly longer hike on Thursdays and the hardest ride on two Saturdays a month. Each ride ends where it begins, departing from either the Ride Wit Us bike shop or other locations around town. All bike types and riders are welcome and no one is left behind. If you don’t have a bike, Ride Wit Us offers rentals.
Rides usually: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:45 p.m., two Saturday mornings a month. Follow Ride Wit Us on Instagram for details on the latest events.