Particularly for the newer generation of cyclists-mostly adults who are discovering cycling as a way to keep in shape-the trail represents an escape from the nagging problems that can interrupt a good, continuous workout aboard their machines. In traffic, one must observe the same rules as autos; on the Santa Ana River trail (or nearly any off-road trail), cyclists can keep the pedals spinning, the heart rate up, and speed depends mostly on whim.
SANTA ANA RIVER BICYCLE TRAIL AT A GLANCE Where: Extends 22 miles from Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach to Featherly Park in Yorba Linda. Hours: Sunrise to sunset, seven days a week. Access: Gates at each arterial road. Surface: 12-foot-wide, two-lane, paved asphalt. Cost: Free. Rainy weather: Can result in the flooding of two low-water crossings, at 17th Street in Santa Ana and Katella Avenue in Anaheim.
PHOTO: A pair of bicyclists and a jogger meet in Orange on a portion of the 22-mile Santa Ana River trail. In Anaheim, cyclists pedal through industrial and residential areas along the river bank. / DAVID MURONAKA / Los Angeles Times; MAP: SANTA ANA RIVER BICYCLE TRAIL AT A GLANCE, GUS KELLER / Los Angeles Times