Long Beach by Bike 012: F&M Bank and Tower
302 Pine Ave.
Built: 1923; 1925
Although I’ve done my best to remain optimistic, productive, and physically active during the 2020 shitshow, I see now how a few bad days along the way created some level of comfortable inaction. Inaction that eventually led to me not riding my bike, not hitting the streets for new adventures, and generally withdrawing from things I love to do. And then just like that, days turned into weeks and weeks into months. And then it becomes easy to continue to put it off as the air goes out of the tires. But as quickly as bad habits can form, they can be replaced with good habits. It’s simple stuff: get the air pump out, open the gate, get the pedals cranking, and feel the wind and sun on your face.
Back at it, I rode into Downtown Long Beach, and onto a re-envisioned Pine Avenue. Temporarily closed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to vehicular traffic between First and Third Streets, the city is trying to bring relief to businesses struggling with the COVID-19 health order that bans indoor dining. By allowing establishments to serve their customers in the street, the city is doing its part to accommodate businesses and their patrons.
I pedaled up the middle of the road, past the diners on either side, and I liked what I saw. In my estimation, this road should remain closed. To me, this is the Long Beach of the future: more bikes, fewer cars, and streets reclaimed and turned into public spaces.
The F&M Bank and Tower sits at the corner of 3rd and Pine, where it has stood since 1923. The tower, Long Beach’s first “skyscraper,” was built in 1925. My favorite feature of the structure is the neon sign that crowns the tower. I snap a few photos from the parking lot adjacent to the tower, as I’ve always preferred this view of the building instead of the corner view of the bank and its Italian Renaissance Revival columns and scrollwork.
From there, I climbed back on my bike and retraced my route home. It was a better day, and one to build on, just for getting out and riding, for having a destination, a journey to enjoy.
Total Mileage: 20.20