Despite it being a large urban city, Long Beach offers a decent amount of opportunities for out-of-doors recreation. For me, relaxation and recreation are synonomous. When I don’t have much time, my favorite thing to do is jump on my bike and ride down to the bike path. I find a playlist on my ipod that fits the occasion and race the sun as it sinks behind Palos Verdes, casting long shadows on the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
I ride down to the Leeway Sailing Center, make my way up Bayshore, and make a right on second street. The bay sparkles in the setting sun. Triathletes, training for the next race, break the tranquility of bay as they ply the water just inside the the bouy line. I head up Second Street, and sprint up the bridge. I scan Marine Stadium for any wakeboarding activity. In high school my friends and I would spend our summer days wakeboarding, always counter clockwise, in the mile long marina. When that got boring, or when the wake from other boats ruined our wake, we would paddle our long boards through naples, climb up onto the bridges and perfect our swan dives. The water was deep enough for the drafts of bigger boats, so we thought it was deep enough for diving. We would paddle across the bay to the penninsula and play beach soccer on the sand. As the sun went down, we’d make our return trip, but promise to meet up later.
Crossing over the Second Street bridge, I can see the power plants looming over the soon-to-be-restored wetlands. Behind the steam stacks are the mountains. On a clear day, it seems like Long Beach is framed by mountains and ocean. It is possible to snowboard in the morning and surf in the afternoon. You can see catalina from highway 18, way up near Big Bear.
At PCH, I turn around. It is getting dark and the Lakers are about to tip off. My heart is pumping and I’m thirsty. I take Second Street through Belmont Shore for the views–the bros outside Shannons, the jocks outside Legends, the debutantes sipping large glasses of red wine inside the glass cubicle of Bono’s. I peddle up the hill into Belmont Bluffs, past the big brick house that reminds me Hearst’s Castle, and straight home. Tomorrow, I think I’ll go for a run instead. I’ll pick up my buddy Christain and we’ll head towards shoreline village with the lighthouse for a destination. Whatever. Either way, it’s a great way to relax after a long day in the classroom.