Many Angelenos only have vague notions about the Los Angeles River — where it is, who uses it, or what its potentials are. But the L.A. River Revitalization Plan, a $2 billion, 20-year blueprint encompassing 239 projects is under way, with efforts including “a massive clean-up of the river, creation of new parks in many parts of the city, and an effort to allow more vegetation and wetlands to replace some of the concrete in serving the river’s current flood-control role.”

And Angelenos can take a small part in that effort — plus just get to know the L.A. River better — at the upcoming L.A. River CleanUp or the L.A. River Ride.

The 20th Annual Los Angeles River Cleanup happens Sat., May 9 from 9 am - noon at 14 different spots along the river. All you have to show up (groups of 20+ must register) ready to clean at the location of your choice! To get a sense of what to expect as a volunteer, watch this video of the 19th Annual Cleanup, created by cleanup volunteer Keith Coogan:

A month after that, Angelenos can get out of their cars and join the 9th Annual LA River Ride, put on by the nonprofit Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. In addition to just being active fun, the ride also has an activist component: To support “LACBC’s efforts to complete the L.A. River Bikeway from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach, and to make bicycling safe and enjoyable for everyone.”

The ride actually includes 6 different rides, ranging from a short kids’ ride to a 100-mile “century” ride for the diehards. And the ride isn’t just a ride — There’ll be an expo with raffles, live music, and food too. The LA River Ride happens July 7, starting and ending at the Autry Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles.

Registration costs range from $15 to $49 depending on the ride you sign up for and when you sign up; pay up before May 15 to get the early bird deals.