Sunday’s bike ride was a sightseeing trip to see the one of the traveling reproductions of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. I’d been to see one of them before, many years ago, and it was an amazing experience. The Wall has become a sort of cultural touchstone, and visitors leave photos, letters, and other small items in tribute to their friends and family members who were lost in the war.
It was a perfect day for riding. Cool and sunny, and ready to warm up fast. We headed out from Victory Park and rode down to the Rio Hondo bike path, which brought us down to Whittier Narrows. Along the way, Don dropped his water bottle, and it rolled down into the wash. So we stopped while he walked down the slope to retrieve it.
From Whittier Narrows, we took Durfee Ave over to Peck Rd, which took us to Workman Mill, and Rose Hills Cemetery. The Wall was set up on a patch of ground right near the entrance. The had a display of artifacts in a tent in the parking lot. And there were people there doing a marathon reading of all the 58,000 names on the wall. We walked along the Wall and looked at all the items left there. I think it’s just the saddest thing to see those remembrances of lives lost in what I believe was a completely pointless war.
Leaving the cemetery, we continued on down into Whittier, and then up and over Turnbull Canyon. Coming down the far side, Silvio’s front wheel made a loud ‘SNAP’ noise, and it went wobbly. It was rubbing on the fork, which made the bike unrideable. And the wheel had carbon-fiber spokes that require a special tool to true, so he was pretty much SOL. He called home and his wife came to pick him up. The rest of us continued on.
We took Colima Rd through Hacienda Heights all the way to Azusa Ave. Then we turned north to start our way back. Azusa Ave turned out to be a pretty miserable road to ride on. It was late morning by now, and there was a lot of traffic. So I think that road is off my list for the future.
We stopped at Panera in West Covina for snacks. When I’m going in to a place like that, I generally take my bike shoes off, since walking on a tile floor with bike shoes is a lot like walking on ice. It’s very slippery and kind of precarious. But the manager of the place still gave me a hard time about it. Said he didn’t want to be sued if I stepped on something. I told him I didn’t want to sue him if I my plastic cleats slipped on the tile. So he sort of sulked and walked away.
The last drama of the ride was near the end. David got a flat. He picked up a big staple in his tire, and we ended up having to stop to change it just a mile from the finish. Still, even with all that, it was a nice ride.