Electric Bike Riding on Catalina Island.
Have you been looking for a special place to ride your E-bike? Or a fun place you can rent and ride an electric bike? How about a guided E-bike tour on a beautiful island setting? If you have, this is the place for you. We visit the island every year, but this time we took our bikes and it made the visit better than ever.
Catalina Island is located just of the coast of Southern California. It is about a one hour boat ride from four different ports of call in the LA and Orange County areas. You can also fly over on a helicopter or airplane if you like. On the Catalina Flyer boat service, your bike can travel with you for a very small additional charge. We took a pair of folding bikes, one with an electric-assist. Folding bikes weren’t required for the boat trip, but it made securing them in our hotel room at night very easy.
The main city of Avalon is where most of the action is taking place. There are many seasonal activities including flying fish viewing boat rides, the Jazz Festival, and the Kid’s Fishing Derby. Year round they offer fine dining, island tours, a zip-line ride, among so many other things. In May they even host the Catalina Mountain Bike Grand Fondo and Festival. But were talking E-bike riding so let’s look into that.
Avalon is fairly flat with a gradual climb as you travel west of the heart of the city. You can ride along the water from Descanso Beach, past the Casino, though the town and south to the heliport. There are many restaurants, shops and the Pleasure Pier that you can stop at along the way. You can’t ride your bikes on a few blocks along the beach in the main part of town, but there are roads that loop around that part.
As you head up into the foothills, there are great vista views of the city and harbor. The houses are so eclectic and well maintained. The people are friendly and welcoming to all their visitors. This is a vacation destination so you can plan on being treated well. There are few cars and most everyone who does drive use golf carts. Expect plenty of roadway available for your riding.
If mountain biking is your thing, there are tons of trails for exploring. There is one firm that specializes in just that. They will drive you way up in the boonies for a fun day in the hills. If you decide to leave the boundaries of Avalon, expect to pay a trail permit fee. That is included in the cost of the off-road tour package.
The main place to rent E-bikes in town is Brown’s Bikes. You will see them as you head towards the town from the boat landing. The offer IZIPs and even have a few Sanyos. You can rent by the hour or longer. They are close to another place that not only does rentals, but offers E-bikes tours as well. They have the A2B E-bikes for hire. Farther in town you will find a shop that rents regular bikes (golf carts too if you are in a four-wheeled mode).
We spent some of our time stalking couples that rented E-bikes to tour the town. For some of them it was their first experience on a electric-assist bike. The smiles and happiness was easy to spot in their voices and actions. They zipped about totally enjoying their time on the island and all the sights that welcomed them. Each one we talked to was so glad they had made the decision to try out the bikes. If you’re on vacation, you’ll want to have some fun and this is a great way to do it.
We guided them to some of the better spots in the hills were the views are spectacular. I managed to get many cool images of them having fun, with my camera. We met some interesting people that helped to make our vacation that much better. Bikes are like that and E-bikes all the more so.
I was especially interested in the couples on the IZIP E3 Zumas. You might know that I am doing a extended test on one right now. Brown’s bikes has a matching pair of 2012 models, a silver men’s E-bike and a turquoise women’s’ E-bike. With the comfort and power these bikes offer, they are perfect for getting into the foothills away from the bustle of the town. Not one person we talked to on those bikes had any regrets about their choice. In addition to using my camera for photos, I offered to use their camera to take pictures of them on the bikes. The smiles were almost too wide for the camera to capture.
Avalon is a biking oriented town. It is small and easy to get around. You can see most of it on foot, but if you want to go a little deeper than E-bikes are the perfect ticket. A trip past the ball field and golf course will take you to the gardens that have the Wrigley memorial. That family was instrumental in helping to set-up this island paradise. You will see their name anywhere you travel on Catalina. The gardens are a ’not-to-miss’ location on your visit.
I hope you make the commitment to visit Catalina, you will love it, Turbo.
“Ever bike? Now that’s something that makes life worth living! I take exercise every afternoon that way. O–to just grip your handlebars and lay down to it (lie doesn’t hit it at all), and go ripping and tearing through streets and road, over railroad tracks and bridges, threading crowds, avoiding collisions, at twenty miles, or more an hour, and wondering all the time when you’re going to smash up. Well now, that’s something! And then go home again after three hours of it, into the tub, rub down well, then into a soft shirt and down to the dinner table, with the evening paper and a cigarette in prospect–and then to think that tomorrow I can do it all over again!”—Jack London, in The Letters of Jack London.
Here is a link to the bike rental and tours businesses in Avalon, Catalina. This page has much more information about Catalina, including a year long schedule of events.