Bike rest stops around Clear Lake
BY: RACHEL WUMKES
One of the great things about bicycling is the various levels of the sport. Some do it for exercise, to increase strength and muscle tone while getting that cardio workout. And others utilize the activity for enjoyment. To take in the great outdoors and experience an afternoon in the fresh air.
According to Kim Chronister, PsyD, a psychologist in Los Angeles, chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which cause euphoria and pain relief, are released into your bloodstream while cycling. This is why they call cycling “the happy activity” – because your body is flooded with these happy chemicals.
Um… hold up.
This one is a bit hard for me to believe, especially when I’m ¾ of the way around Clear Lake and hit that big ole hill before the curve around State Park. There are no magic endorphins making me feel happy.
In fact, this is usually the point in my lake lap where I wish for death.
And that’s only after I’ve survived the 1st hill on North Shore leading into Main/Lake Street in Ventura. Whoa, Nelly. It’s a doozy and usually where I start to question myself.
Who thought riding our bikes around the lake was a good idea?
How much farther do we have to go?
Who invented these awful bike seats?
Thankfully, there are a slew of rest stops along the way. Whether you wish to do a little sightseeing, enjoy a sweet treat, or quench your thirst at one of our fabulous watering holes. Lots and lots of stops are the key to making your lake lap via bike the best experience possible!
- The Seawall – It’s the perfect photo op and a great view before pedaling along Lakeshore Drive.
- 3 Stars Plaza – Winding your way onto North Shore Drive, you’ll pedal by the historic Surf Ballroom and Museum before you get to this incredibly unique sculpture park. Be sure to stop and push the button to hear the story about our three fallen stars.
- DNR Aquarium – Park your bike and pop into the fish hatchery! They have information on all the various species found in Clear Lake and how they manage the fish population. You can even see some of the live fish up close and personal.
- City Park – You’ll be thankful for the mature trees and the cool breeze coming off the water when you get back into town. Hang out in City Park for a bit and enjoy the shade!
- CL State Park – Beautiful beach with breathtaking views!
- McIntosh Woods State Park – Wooded & beachy lake views, wildlife viewing blind, and walking trails to explore!
BICYCLE FRIENDLY WATERING HOLES:
- Sunset Sharky’s – Located right downtown by City Beach. Have a drink before you go – and when you finish!
- The Surfside – COMING SOON!! Keep your eyes peeled for this fun, new addition to the Surf District. Just a ½ block off North Shore, you can sip on a cold drink on their super-sized patio.
- Muskie Lounge – I guarantee you’ll need some “pedaling fuel” before you get to that big ole hill right before Ventura. A stop at the Muskie is just the ticket!
- PM Park – After winding through the prairie areas, you’ll be ready to coast a bit as you pedal down South Shore. In fact, you can coast right on into PM Park and enjoy a frosty drink while you take in the spectacular views of the lake.
- The Landing – If you’ve made it this far, it’s time for a reward drink! Enjoy one of their signature cocktails or munch on some bits and bobs to replenish your energy.
- Lake Time Brewery is a bit off the beaten path of a lake lap, but definitely worth a stop if you enjoy the barley and hops! OR, check out the new 173 Craft Distillery just off the northwest corner of City Park. They even have a bike rack while you enjoy a cocktail on their patio!
SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH:
- Cookies, etc. – Order one of their delicious, ooey gooey homemade cookies, or cool down with an ice cream sweet treat. Not open? No problem! They have a Cookie ATM with yummies available 24/7.
- South Shore Donut Co. – Nothing says “REWARD” for all that cycling effort quite like chomping down on a delicious donut covered in frosting.
- Charlie’s Soda Fountain – After your lake lap, be sure to tootle around downtown and check out this old-fashioned soda fountain. And right across the street – Chris’ Kettle Corn has all your favorite flavors of popcorn. Check them out!!
- If you choose to take a break from all that pedaling and explore a bit of Clear Lake and Ventura on foot – there are bike stations located in City Park in Clear Lake and Main/Lake Street in Ventura.
We often focus on the water activities when spending some quality time at the Lake like skiing, boating, swimming, etc. Switch things up a bit and pedal your way around Clear Lake, enjoying the spectacular views and serenity of the great outdoors. If you stop and enjoy the local establishments along the way, that 14-mile loop will be easy peasy!