1-3 hours, depending on how many laps you want to do
The Rose Bowl is built within the Arroyo Seco, or dry stream in Spanish, which is a large watershed emanating from the San Gabriel Mountains. The Arroyo Seco begins on the flanks of Mt. Wilson at 5700’ and has a carved thousand foot canyons into the mountains. But in Pasadena, centuries of erosion have resulted in this large ravine that is a half a mile wide and 200ft deep.
What Makes It Great
Since the 1950’s riders have flocked to the Rose Bowl for a group ride that has now become famous throughout the country. The stadium was built in 1922 and shortly afterwards a three mile long oval was created to facilitate easy access for the sporting events. A group upwards of 150 cyclists meets each Tuesday and Thursday night during the summer to ride for an hour around the Rose Bowl loop. The ride begins at 5:55p and starts out from the south entrance. Oftentimes there are two groups: a smaller high tempo group off of the front and a large chase group. This is an ideal setting for racers trying to get in some training in a large group or for cyclists looking to develop their group riding skills. Rider etiquette is strict due to the large group. Additionally, riders must maintain awareness of the walking path on the inside of the bowl because occasionally pedestrians can stray into the street.
If you try the large group ride you’ll remember the pace and excitement of riding in a pack. If that isn’t your thing, the smooth roads and opportunities in the hills are truly exhilarating.
The lap is ridden clockwise and quite nice with or without the large group ride. The west side is on a slight incline while the east is on a decline, which makes for some interesting changes in speed. If you would like to do some climbing, the hills neighboring to the west are easily accessed and fun to ride. It is recommended to do one or two laps around the stadium to get your legs warm. As you are riding up the west side of ‘The Bowl’ a road named Salvia Canyon Road intersects from the left and climbs out of the ravine. At the top is Linda Vista Avenue, turn right and after a half mile Inverness Drive will appear on your left. Inverness is a fun little climb that snakes through mountain. There are a few other little climbs, 500 to 1000 vertical feet, within these hills and they all drop you out on either Linda Vista Avenue or Chevy Chase Drive. Its encouraged to go exploring.
Who is Going to Love It
Road riders who are looking for a great place to train, meet some friends, or explore the local hills are going to keep coming back. Additionally, if you are new to riding this is the ideal spot to come out and start the process of getting comfortable. The Rose Bowl loop has limited traffic and lots of space to spin comfortably.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the 210 freeway, exit at Orange Grove and head north. Turn left on Rosemont. The Rose Bowl will be on your left. Turn left on Seco Street to find parking.