Rinaldi Street is great east-west across the north valley. It is better in some ways than Devonshire — more scenic, lots of shops with bike parking, not as much traffic. The downside is that can get kinda hilly. If you are cool with hills, than this is the way to go. Aside from the one between DeSoto and Mason, there’s nothing that one couldn’t handle on a three-speed.
As usual, since I live in Chatsworth, I will be describing things west to east.
While Rinaldi technically starts west of Canoga, there are no bike lanes until DeSoto. The section between Canoga and DeSoto is mostly devoid of traffic, so it is a very mellow place to ride. That being said, it’s also a place where people go to street race on occasion (drivers ruin everything). Just keep your wits about you and call 911 if you see it.
Weird side note about the western terminus of Rinaldi — there is a horse crossing easement over the railroad tracks. You aren’t supposed to bring bikes there, but it is a weird, 100% legal no-pavement railroad crossing. Be warned, there are no signs or signals, so you are on your own for train safety. Please be careful if you are going to use it.
A new section just west of DeSoto is a little no cars allowed walking/biking/horsing path. It’s nicely paved, but a tad steep. It does not show up on Google Maps. Don’t feel bad biking it because a lot of people in the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council who pushed for it (despite not being bike people) kept calling it a bike path. Also, bikes are allowed on all Los Angeles city sidewalks. If you head south on Independence, you can hook up with the Brown’s Creek Bike Path (which leads to the Orange Line Bike Path).
The light at DeSoto and Rinaldi has traffic detector loops in the ground that work with bicycles. I have personally tested them in both directions. You can use the buttons, but there’s only a crosswalk on the north side of the street, so this is less than ideal going east. Going west, you are coming off of a fast decent, so stay in the lanes with the cars. Get in the lane going straight.
The steep part from DeSoto to Mason is rough going in either direction. Going east, it’s a tough climb. I have a little trouble here on my steel three-speed, but I do it anyway because the connection to the Brown’s Creek Bike Path and no traffic is worth it for me. Going west is a fast descent. Very fast! I’ve hit 30 a handful of times going down here. The segment on Strava shows people doing at 40! Yikes. Watch for parked cars and cars going to Sierra Canyon school.
You can use Mason to connect between Rinaldi and Devonshire, but be warned there is a sharrowed section just north of Devonshire.
The east side of Mason is residential until Porter Ranch Town Center. This place has lots of shopping (Walmart, Ralph’s, Toys R Us), a Starbucks, and restaurants (Islands, TGIFriday’s, In-N-Out!). There confirmed bike parking at the Porter Ranch Town Center, usually near the larger stores. There is a medical center and a megachurch on the other side.
If you go north on Corbin, it’s a short climb to the YMCA.
After Corbin, there’s some residential. There is also access to the Limekiln Canyon Park. If you don’t mind gravel, heading south down the canyon can take you all the way to Devonshire.
More shopping and services around Tampa. The Whole Foods has bike parking. Tampa is fine going north, but the bike lanes disappear on Tampa heading south. Use Corbin or Wilbur to connect instead.
Wilbur and Reseda are good streets with bike lanes. To get over the 118, however, I recommend Wilbur, the pedestrian bridge at Etiwanda, or Chimineas. I don’t recommend Reseda due to the fact there is a dead zone of no bike lanes on Reseda over the 118 (right where we need them the most).
There is a great potty/water break on the north side between Reseda and Zelzah at Aliso Canyon Park.
After that, going east, it is almost 100% residential. Until you hit Mission Hills and San Fernando, this is basically just a long haul connector to Woodman (going south) or Laurel Canyon (going north).
The residential nature of this section really makes it for me. There are also some interesting views of the electrical infrastructure right before it hits the 405.
A note about the section at the 405 — drivers are jerks. Be careful of the cars turning right on to the freeway. They are impatient. I’ve had a couple of yelling matches with people telling me to get out of their way. I generally recommend holding your line or if you have to, move left and let them pass right. Don’t let them cross your path!
After Laurel Canyon, Rinaldi loses it’s bike lanes, but then soon becomes Workman Street. It is a shame that the lanes don’t continue to the Mission City Trail in San Fernando. It is a little less than a mile to connect to this bike path if you don’t mind no bike lanes.
And that’s Rinaldi! One of my favorites to be sure.
See you next time!
Bike Friendly Connections: Brown’s Creek Bike Path (leading directly to the Orange Line Bike Path), Mason, Corbin, Limekiln (dirt), Tampa (north), Wilbur, Reseda (north), Etiwanda (south), White Oak, Woodley (south), Laurel Canyon (north)
Near Misses: Tampa (south), Reseda (south), San Fernando Bike Path
Notable Locales: Old Mission Trail, Porter Ranch Town Center, Limekiln Canyon Park, Whole Foods Market, Aliso Canyon Park, Zelzah Park, Rinaldi Adult Center, Van Norman Lakes Reservoir, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center