Stan’s Obligatory Blog


The Stonehurst Cottages

Filed under: — stan @ 6:35 pm

Today’s bike ride was a sightseeing trip up to Sun Valley to see the Stonehurst Cottages. These are a set of houses and a community center built in the 1920s by a local mason who collected all the stones from the nearby Tujunga Wash. I read about them in a recent issue of Los Angeles magazine, and they sounded like an interesting thing to see.

We rode out through Glendale and Burbank and up into Sun Valley. When we turned off Glenoaks, we saw a giant pair of hands by the side of the road. This turned out to be a prop warehouse. They had a lot of weird stuff sitting outside, and I’m sure there were even more strange things inside.

We took a looping roundabout route through the Stonehurst neighborhood so that we could pass by all of the houses. The map on the city web site shows which ones are original and which ones have been modified over the years. We also saw a beer-keg mailbox, which was amusing.

The route back went through the horse neighborhood and out onto Sunland Blvd. Then back by way of Tujunga to our snack stop at Goldstein’s Bagels at the top of Hospital Hill. Then it was downhill all the way back to Pasadena.

It was a fun little ride.

45 miles.


Always good to have an exit strategy…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:20 pm

Today’s bike ride was one that didn’t go anywhere in particular. The weather forecast was a bit uncertain, and there was a chance we might get rained out again. So I devised a route that went 40 miles through Los Angeles, but was never more than about a mile from the nearest Metro Rail station.

It’s good to have a way available to bail out if the weather goes bad.

It rained hard on Saturday night, and it was cold in the morning. The snow was down quite low on the mountains. I guess this scared a lot of people off. So it was just me and Silvio who were hard-core enough to go riding. We headed out, into downtown Los Angeles. I got a nice view of my nemesis: the U.S. Bank Tower. Then we headed out through West Adams and then up into Larchmont.

We stopped for a bagel at Noah’s in Larchmont before heading east into Silver Lake for the ride home. The route back went up Figueroa St, which basically parallels the Metro Gold Line. By this time, it was fairly clear, and we were pretty sure it wasn’t going to rain. But it was still cold.

All in all, it was a nice ride. The route wasn’t bad, so I’ll probably keep it for other times when there is a chance of rain.

41 miles.


Car culture

Filed under: — stan @ 9:19 pm

Southern California is widely regarded as the center of car culture in the U.S. And while it may seem a bit strange, that was our theme for today’s bike club ride. Normally, we regard cars as a nuisance at best, but today we were out to sightsee some car culture.

It all began with an article in the L.A. Times on Friday:

Molly and Stan Hyman are hitting the road and they’ve put their garage up for sale.

And by the way, their six-car garage comes with a house.

The Burbank couple are automobile enthusiasts and restorers who in 1995 custom-built their garage/house to give themselves room to rebuild and showcase vehicles.

So I just knew we had to go see this garage. The article also mentioned:

It’s in a residential section adjacent to Burbank’s Media District, close to Warner Bros. Studios. Cross noted it’s also near Bob’s Big Boy, where hot-rodders and car cruisers congregate weekly. Nearby are George Barris’ Kustom Industries, which builds movie cars and hot rods, and entertainer Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage.

So we had a tour. We’d been by the Barris showroom before, so I looked up the addresses for the Hymans’ house and also the Big Dog Garage, and we were off.

Along the way, we also saw a car-themed decoration on a dental office. That was kind of weird, but it fit the theme of the day.

Our snack stop was at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake, right near Bob’s Big Boy and the Barris showroom. Jay Leno’s place was up next to the runway at Burbank Airport.

The ride turned out to be a bit longer than I’d thought, but it was a perfect day for riding, so it was all right.

55 miles.


Cultural history

Filed under: — stan @ 10:34 pm

This past Thursday was the anniversary of The Day the Music Died. I’m not quite old enough to remember that, since I wasn’t born until later that year, but I remember people talking about it when I was young. It seemed to be something of a cultural touchstone for a generation. So when I found out that Ritchie Valens is buried in the cemetery behind the San Fernando Mission, I knew we had to take a ride up there.

It was a very nice day for riding. It got quite warm, and the only bad part was that the wind picked up when we got near San Fernando. We fought a headwind most of the last few miles to the cemetery. When we got there, we saw that someone had already put some fresh flowers there, probably on Thursday. It’s also interesting to see the things people leave behind. In this case, coins and guitar picks.

On the way back, the wind held steady, which was all right, since we were riding with it now. That lasted all the way to La Tuna Canyon. Then we got the joy of riding four miles uphill and into the wind. After we crested the hill, it was downhill into Montrose. Our snack stop was at Goldstein’s Bagels. Then we headed home. It was a very nice ride.

55 miles.


Water tower

Filed under: — stan @ 10:27 pm

I had a couple of free hours today. It was a nice day. So I went riding.

I did my usual I-have-a-couple-of-free-hours route. Down to South Pasadena, up the hill to the water tower. Then back up to the Rose Bowl to noodle around a few times before going home. It was a perfect day for riding.

The only minor annoyance was on the way home, when I got a flat. This was the same tire that I had a flat on last week. I think that tire’s about had it.

It was a nice ride.

27 miles.


Rained out again

Filed under: — stan @ 2:25 pm

Today’s ride was to be a visit to Michael Jackson’s house in Holmby Hills, with a ride up and over Mulholland and home via the Valley. But it didn’t quite work out that way.

We left Pasadena under overcast skies, but the forecast was for a chance of light rain later in the day. We rode down through Eagle Rock and across the river into Silver Lake. Then I got a flat.

After fixing the flat, we continued on. When we stopped for a photo-op with one of the big guitars on the Sunset Strip, we felt a few raindrops. We continued on, and it began to rain more. We stopped for a conference at the border of Beverly Hills. And then it started to rain in earnest. So we turned tail and rode back to Hollywood and Highland and the Metro Red Line subway station.

We rode the subway into downtown L.A. and then took the Gold Line train home to Pasadena. This marks the first time we’ve had to bail due to rain in the middle of a ride. But we were fortunate that this happened on a ride where we were close to a subway stop.

26 miles and some wet riding.


Big Things

Filed under: — stan @ 12:50 pm

Today’s bike club ride was the “Big Donut” route to La Puente to see the Donut Hole. This is a drive-through donut shop with a giant donut on each end of the building. It was a nice day, and we had a good group for the ride.

On the way down there, we passed a chicken restaurant and a man in a chicken suit getting ready for work. We also passed the headquarters of In-N-Out Burger, complete with In-N-Out University and the In-N-Out Company Store.

At the giant donut, we paused for a photo. Then we rode on, heading back north, with the snow on the San Gabriel mountains as a backdrop. Our snack stop was at Merengue in Monrovia. Then we headed home across Sierra Madre.

When we passed the Albertson’s, I veered off, because I saw the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Like the big donut, the Wienermobile is a prime example of marketing with things shaped like the product being sold. And so I had to stop and see it close-up.

44 miles and one Wienermobile.


A rare Saturday ride

Filed under: — stan @ 2:55 pm

Lucinda is now practicing for being a teenager. Which means she sleeps late on weekends. Since she was planning on sleeping until 11 or later today, I told her I was going to go for a ride in the morning. It was forecast to be a nice, warm day. I rode down to Alhambra to meet up with the Foothill Cycle Saturday group for the first time in a long while.

We rode up into South Pasadena and then over into Highland Park. Up Easy St, and then into the San Rafael hills in Pasadena. I took a little side trip down the street that goes to the base of Eagle Rock. I’d never seen the rock up close before, but from the vantage at the bottom, I could see the eagle in the overhanging cliff above. Then I continued on, up and over the hill and up the last big hill overlooking La Cañada. At that point, rather than going back to where we started in Alhambra, I took my usual route home across Altadena. It was a very nice ride.

33 miles.


The Topiary Tour

Filed under: — stan @ 8:03 pm

Today’s bike club ride was the Topiary Tour Classic. This is a ride out to Glendora by a rather roundabout route that passes by every example of topiary to the east of Pasadena. It was a very nice day, and we had a good-sized group this time.

The first stop was the topiary Smokey the Bear by the fire station on Foothill Blvd in Pasadena. From there, we headed south and then east, passing by the topiary swan on Camino Real at Baldwin. Then out into Baldwin Park to the house that has several topiary animals in the yard. They had the giraffe done up with lights and a Santa hat.

In Glendora, we passed by the topiary teddy bears. They were the first ones I saw, and they inspired this whole silly adventure. Then we stopped off at Classic Coffee in Glendora, where Carla got me the littlest eclair I’ve ever seen. It was good.

On the way back, we passed a few more small topiary animals in Glendora, and then a pair or horses in Monrovia. The last stop on the tour was the big rocking horse on Grand View Ave in Sierra Madre. We also saw what is likely the weirdest mailbox I’ve ever seen. Between that, the bass mailbox, and the catfish mailbox, maybe I can make up a weird-mailbox tour some day.

It was a nice ride.

40 miles.


Looks like another perfect day…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:56 pm

I had an unexpected free afternoon on Saturday. And it was a very nice day. So I went for a ride. As always, when I’m out riding on a nice winter’s day in L.A., I remember when I used to ride in the winter back in New Jersey. This is just so much more pleasant. And I remember my 6th grade teacher, Mr Wagner.

I did my usual route for when I have a free afternoon. Down to South Pasadena and up the hill to the water tower. Then back to the Rose Bowl for a few times around before going home through Altadena. It was a nice time.

26 miles.

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