After a 13-hour flight, nothing cures jet lag like saddling up for a 33-mile e-bike ride through the City of Angels.
As we set off on electric bikes toward Beverly Hills, a dazzling figure passes me on the pavement at remarkable speed. Not a bird or a plane, but perhaps a non-binary superhero. Long tresses billow behind them as they glide like unicorns on inline skates in a silver thong ensemble, purple fanny pack, and headphones. “That’s Santa Monica Boulevard for you,” my guide laughs before picking up where he left off.
I first know him as Ahmed from Bikes and Hikes LA. But to his 139,000 followers on Instagram, he is @AhmedLovesBread. The stand-up comedian was born in Dallas to Yemeni parents and moved to Los Angeles four years ago to pursue stand-up comedy.
“When I’m not doing stand-up, I do this and I really enjoy it,” says the 20-something before explaining that today we will cycle 33 miles (almost 52 km) in about six hours. Traffic in Los Angeles can make you do crazy things. But I soon discover that getting on an e-bike (with a comedian, mind you) is one of the most authentic and fun ways to get to know this city.
The LA in a Day bike tour includes a lunch stop and runs from West Hollywood to Venice Beach and back, riding through the city’s more affluent areas before passing through Westwood and then down San Vicente Boulevard to Santa Monica Beach and the Venice channels. .
Beyond Tinseltown, we stop to admire numerous celebrity digs, including the grounds of the historic Greystone Mansion, Marilyn Monroe’s former bungalow, and Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s multi-million dollar home in Bel Air.
“My mom learned English by watching I love Lucy,” Ahmed says as we stop in front of actress Lucille Ball’s former home.
The first part of the course is reasonably hilly, so opting for an e-bike is a no-brainer, unless you want to be a hero or are training for a triathlon. Given Australia’s general dislike of cyclists, I’m a bit nervous about riding the busier roads, but there are separate bike lanes on most and I find motorists courteous and accommodating.
After demolishing a chicken and juice wrap at a healthy little lunch stop in Venice Beach, we took the return route, stopping at the Venice canals, past the LA River, and then touring Culver City’s old Hollywood studios.
If ever there was a cure for jet lag, this is it.
The writer traveled as a guest of Discover LA and Fiji Airways.