LBC By Bike 003: Pray/Dawson House

Long Beach by Bike 003: Pray/Dawson House
4252 Country Club Dr.
Built: 1927

I decide to end the workday early, I close up the garage, and I’m off. Pedaling out of my neighborhood, gliding across the pavement, I immediately feel better for it.

Now to contend with the cars and the world built for them. It’s not hard to understand their entitlement. Everyone has someplace to go. Not the open road, the possibilities here on the grid are limited if not completely non-existent. There is no romanticism in traffic lights, strip malls, parking lots, or rush hour. And yet, I have inserted myself and my bicycle into this everyday insanity of commuting.

I ride the sidewalks and frontage roads on my way to the designated bike lane, into Virginia Country Club to see the Pray/Dawson House, an English Tudor Mansion. The house is considered one of the grandest residential structures in Long Beach. Situated in an exclusive neighborhood that, upon the first look and listen, seems insulated from the rest of the sprawling city. Like a pristine island in a polluted sea, I soon start to hear the big rigs rumbling in and out of the harbor on the 710 Freeway, and I can see the bordering communities inching in, staved off for the time being by the false barriers of privacy trees, hedges, and fences.

My ride takes me down into a neighborhood I was previously unaware existed, Cerritos Circle, a tract of midcentury modern duplexes. The discovery exhilarates me, and I’m glad this time I turned right where I could have turned left, but then again, turning left would have had its revelations as well—next time.

I ride out to the LA River Trail, back onto the surface streets, and onto the sidewalks towards home. As I pedal along, I see signs that read “Bike Route,” but it would be crazy to dip onto the asphalt here without a designated lane. The presence of the signs doesn’t encourage me; I trust my own better judgment. Besides, I’ve seen a total of two pedestrians since leaving my house; no one uses these sidewalks.

Date: 02/20/20
Total Mileage: 18.72