For Bike Month, LACBC Everywhere returns for it’s third season of sharing stories from people across Los Angeles. LA County has a lot to offer in terms of places to ride, but its the experiences that shape us. Today’s profile features Nora Munoz from the Montebello Bicycle Coalition:
What was it like to grow up in Maywood?
Growing up in Maywood was nice. The block we lived on had about 10-15 children. There was always at least 2-3 out playing catch, baseball, football, tag or hide and seek. The fun times were when we would all be on our skateboards, rollerskates or bicycles, and we would go back and forth from one corner to the other! Sometimes we would get our dog on a leash and let her pull one of us while we were on skates or a skateboard. Often times she would be excited and go too fast. Whoever she was pulling would fall off and end up being dragged for ½ the block!
How did you get involved with cycling?
I got involved in cycling when I saw a “bunch of people” riding their bikes on downtown LA for some sort of “cycling event.” Later that evening, a childhood friend posted on social media about the event: it was CicLAvia – Heart of LA! I was so excited about it that I made sure they informed me about the next event. That was the CicLAvia from Downtown LA to Venice. I invited another childhood friend and her boyfriend from San Diego to join me. They also brought a bicycle for me to use for the event. We had so much fun completing 30 miles! I was hooked from that moment.
What are some of your favorite hobbies and places around Los Angeles?
When I am not cycling anywhere and everywhere, my favorite places to visit are places that are open late where I can have a nutrient-rich meal and a good cup of coffee so I can study to complete my MBA. My other hobbies are caring for my mom’s garden, playing with my doggies, hiking, and going to the movies. I love putting together gift baskets (it relaxes me). I also like visiting museums, historical places, parks, and beaches. On top of it all, I like going to concerts, I appreciate musicals, ballet, the symphony, and I especially love going to a Circque du Soleil event, when they’re in town.
What are some of your biggest challenges about getting around LA?
There are some areas around LA where alternate routes to get around traffic are not “alternatives.” The areas are mostly around the bridges near the LA River and canals. Other areas with congested and no “alternate” routes are Fremont in Alhambra, Telegraph and Atlantic in East Los Angeles, and Slauson / Telegraph in Commerce. Also avoid Garfield / Telegraph / Bandini in Commerce.
Can you name a place nearby you would consider a hidden treasure?
Yes! I must name a few! Cogswell Dam, Gabrieleno Trail near JPL, Michael D. Antonovich Trail, Whittier Greenway Trail and Fern Dell in Griffith Park.
What are some of your favorite places to cycle in Los Angeles?
I’ve seen more places on my bike than anywhere else! My favorite places are down the Rio Hondo path to Long Beach, the San Gabriel River trail to Seal Beach, and Pacific Coast Highwy to the Santa Ana River Trail. I like riding Highway 39 up to Cogswell Dam, Crystal Lake or Camp Williams or all the way around to Glendora Mountain Ridge up to Mt. Baldy. Cycling around the Palos Verdes also has beautiful views. Turnbull Canyon, Carbon Canyon, Santa Clarita, Hacienda Heights, and cycling to the Hollywood sign are also some of my favorite places to ride, too.
What do you like most about cycling around Los Angeles?
I get to see places and appreciate the views that I can’t see from my car. I like when people ask where I rode and how many miles and use it as an opportunity to be inspired to go for a bike ride for wellness. I especially like it when children see us riding in a group and they wave to us with the BIGGEST SMILES and say “Wow!” or “Hi!” They are so enthusiastic and sweet I know they are inspired to get on their bikes as soon as they get home!