Bicycle! Bicycle! I Want To Ride My Bicycle!
Traffic patterns definitely dictate the ways of life in Los Angeles. As someone still discovering the splendors of Los Angeles, I realize the necessity of braving traffic to see all that Southern California has to offer. When the Viceroy Santa Monica offered me the chance to take a guided tour of Santa Monica and Venice with their new partner, Priority Bicycles, I knew this was a unique opportunity to learn more about the culture laden Westside beach towns of LA.
Some luxury hotels are off-putting. They’re elegant, but the invisible red velvet rope of elitism is palpable. The Viceroy Santa Monica offers all of the sophistication of a five-star hotel, sans accompanying attitude. There’s a warmth to this chic, centrally located hotel. When I saw a sleek looking hipster-like Priority Bicycle in the lobby, it looked as though it was meant to be part of the Viceroy Santa Monica.
After some delicious yogurt smoothies and breakfast pastries in the Viceroy lobby, the bi-coastal co-founders of Priority Bicycles, David Weiner (New York) and Connor Swegle (Los Angeles,) made sure that the members of our tour group were all on the proper sized bicycles before we set out on our 6 mile ride.
The only bike I had been on in recent years was in a spinning class and due to a chronic back injury. Needless to say, I was a little nervous to get back on a bike. However, the upright handle bars, easy to use pedal brakes and limited number of gears (3) of the Priority Bicycle made me feel instantly at ease. It was a pleasure to be able to concentrate on enjoying the picturesque scenery rather than being overly concerned about remembering how to maneuver a bicycle properly.
Even though it was a cloudy day in Santa Monica and Venice, it was lovely to ride along the beach bike path and see the ocean, Muscle Beach and the boardwalk stretch. With the small basket on my bicycle, I could’t help but hum the the Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch of the West theme upon approaching Abbot Kinney Boulevard. It is by far, the coolest stretch of independent shopping, art galleries and restaurants in all of Venice.
Our first stop in the Abbot Kinney area was the flagship store of TOMS. Yes, that TOMS – known for their “one for one” philosophy for shoes, eyewear, coffee and apparel. ” TOMS on Abbot Kinney is more than just a retail store – it’s a gourmet coffee shop with pastries and cold pressed juices, pretty displays of apparel, shoes and eyewear. Offering both indoor and outdoor lounges that epitomize what people think of when they envision life what life should be like in California. Imagine casually stylish people in a laid back and beautifully designed space filled with socially conscious messages. A place that can foster positive vibes inside their establishment and inspire people to act accordingly absolutely works for me!
After our Abbot Kinney jaunt, our group rode over to Main Street to stop by the Santa Monica location of Pressed Juicery. As a Registered Dietitian, I’m not an advocate of juice cleanses, but I do believe that juice can be part of a healthy intake. Usually, I prefer to eat my fruits or vegetables rather than drinking them but after sampling a number of the juices at Pressed Juicery, I can see why people “need” their juice like they need their coffee. Normally, I despise coconut water but the Pressed Juicery Rose Coconut H20 reminded me of the taste of my favorite Indian delicacy, rose ice cream, and at 90 calories per 160z, I’m sold!
We later made our way toward the the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade. A well known tourist destination and shopping area, we checked out the flagship Lululemon store. I appreciated learning more about Lululemon and it’s mission. I also didn’t realize this flagship store offers the most men’s clothing than any other location.
Colleen Angeles, LA Maven of Lululemon Athletica, let our group know just how important details are important in everything Lululemon does from their clothing, to community building and even in their store design. The Promenade location goes beyond the typical upscale fashion and accessories and well-known yoga classes. On weekends the communal meeting space complete with coffee on tap (which I believe also gets interchanged with beer on occasion,) and a flat screen TV for presentations are made available. It was hard not to appreciate the many design details within the store that emulate the unique beach and surf culture of Santa Monica.
After seeing the iconic Santa Monica Pier sign and wrapping up our ride, the Viceroy treated our group to some of the most delicious food in a cabana at their pool area. Chef Tony DiSalvo showcases his love of Mediterranean cuisine with his mezze platter and features locally sourced produce in the most tantalizing way with his rustic pizzas, salads and appetizers.
It took everything I had not to thoroughly enjoy a cocktail or two and take up residence at this lovely oasis.
Guests of the Viceroy Santa Monica are able to utilize Priority Bicycles as part of their Guest Amenity fees. They can ride on their own with the following PDF card as a guide or via concierge tours to highlight points of interest in the surrounding neighborhood. FYI, the beautiful Venice Canals are close by and worth exploring!
Just so you know, you don’t have to be a guest of the Viceroy Santa Monica to experience Priority Bicycles for yourself because they are available for purchase. You can learn more about or order one of these smartly designed bicycles here.
I raved so much about the story behind Priority and my experience on their bicycle that my family purchased a Priority bike for me for my birthday. And I look forward to exploring more of Los Angeles on my new bicycle and returning to the Viceroy Santa Monica in the near future.
Viceroy Santa Monica is located at 1819 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401.