VENICE BIKE TOURS
We are a small group of life-long Venice residents who know and love our community and are dedicated to sharing the hippest town in all of California with the world. The opposite of the boring-by-the-book tourists tours we all love to hate, Venice Bike Tours’ raconteur guides will take you to places you’ll never find on your own, and tell you stories you will hear nowhere else.
For an intimate behind the scenes visit to boisterous Venice – home to painters, poets and performance artists; street vendors, bohemians and eccentrics – bracketed with the coolest canals this side of Italy and meta-world-famous Muscle Beach – Venice Beach Bike Tours has a bike waiting for you.
Our merry band is led by Venice Beach’s own Tony Panzica, professional actor, James Dean impersonator, and basketball trickster extraordinaire, who knows his home town like the back of his hand…and has vibrant, amusing, history-drenched insider stories to tell.
A Venice resident for more than 30 years, Anthony Panzica moved to Los Angeles after college in 1987 to pursue a career in acting. Over the past 16 years he has worked as a James Dean impersonator and run several businesses including an aquarium service, event transportation, and a free drunk driving program called “Scooter Patrol.”
But out of all his endeavors, starting Venice Bike Tours in 2015 has brought Panzica the most happiness. The tours take people on a three-hour exploration that spans eight miles across Venice Beach, the Santa Monica Pier and Marina del Rey. Each participant receives a beach cruiser, basket, helmet, lock and a bottle of cold water. The tours are led by one of 16 trained local guides with extensive knowledge of the area.
The tours highlight popular landmarks and attractions including Muscle Beach, Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica Pier, the Venice Canals and Abbot Kinney Boulevard, among others. Panzica, who has performed as a trick ball handler in 10 national basketball commercials for Nike, Pizza Hut, Reebok, and LA Gear, enjoys showing people around the local basketball courts.
“I grew up on those courts and made dear friends during my time spent there,” Panzica said. “Before I started the bike tours, I loved showing my friends and family around when they’d visit. I like giving people a local’s perspective, so I made touring into a job although it’s not a job for me because I love it.”
There are many tourist attractions up and down the coast, but the Westside is an especially unique place.
“Venice is a good place for bike tours because of the community that the people have built and the unique history of the area, I love telling the story,” Panzica said. “My favorite part of this job is keeping the story alive.”
Panzica hopes to one day offer participants the opportunity to embark on an all-day tour that fits in more stops. For now, he’s happy to be back doing tours after being shut down during the pandemic.
One of his favorite things about living in Venice are the relationships that he has built.
“I moved here in the beginning because I visited Venice Beach off and on and always loved it,” Panzica said. “I’ve stayed for so long because it’s my home and where I’m comfortable. I have built important relationships here.”
Some of these relationships include sponsors of Venice Bike Tours. Goodr Sunglasses on Abbot Kinney has been a big supporter and is one of the stops on the tour. Killer Shrimp, owned by one of Panzica’s friends, is a restaurant on the Marina that doesn’t typically take reservations, but if people want to eat there after a tour, a reservation can be made specially for them. Sidewalk Cafe is another sponsor and those who stop in while on a tour will receive 10% off their food or drink order.
Argonaut Newspaper, September 29, 2022