Stan’s Obligatory Blog

9/4/2011

Glendale Vistas again

Filed under: — stan @ 12:16 pm

Today’s bike club ride was an old route we haven’t done in quite a while. It’s the “Glendale Vistas” route, and it goes up into the hills above Glendale. I broke my bike on this ride four years ago.

It was not a bad day for riding. It was promising to get hot, but not nearly as bad as some other days have been. There’s not a lot to say about this route. It doesn’t go to any weird sightseeing spots. The most excitement we had was at the stop at Paradise Bakery. They have the best chocolate eclairs there.

After the eclair stop, we headed up into the hills. That was where I got the picture of Alan doing the ‘walk of shame’, pushing his bike up the hill.

It was a nice ride, even if we didn’t do any odd sightseeing along the way.

41 miles.

8/28/2011

Barbie

Filed under: — stan @ 1:59 pm

It’s the last Sunday of the month, so that means it’s time for the slightly-longer Sunday morning bike club ride. This is our chance to go places that are a little farther away than normal. So today’s ride was out to Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, to pay respects to Ruth and Elliott Handler, who were the founders of Mattel Toys. They are respectively credited with inventing the Barbie doll and Hot Wheels. Even though those are just toys, they made a mark on the world.

We had a smallish group today. It was forecast to be hot, and I think that scared some people off.

The route took us through downtown Los Angeles, and then out along West Adams, roughly paralleling the new Metro Expo line. We got to see it along the way. It’s coming along nicely, and it will probably be ready to open pretty soon.

In Culver City, we saw the hill with the Culver City stairs. A lot of the competitive stair climbers I know practice there. By the number of people going up there on a Sunday morning, it looks like a popular place.

There was construction on Sepulveda Blvd down near Fox Hills Mall. That was a bit unpleasant. But we made it to Hillside Memorial Park just fine. The Handlers are buried in the far back of the cemetery. Elliott died fairly recently, so he just had temporary marker next to Ruth’s. They are also buried next to their son, Kenneth, who was the namesake of the Ken doll.

On the way back, we saw a fountain in Culver City that seems to be popular with little kids. We stopped for a bagel at Noah’s on Venice Blvd. It had turned out to be a perfect day. It was about 76F, with a nice breeze off the ocean.

We took a new variation of the route back this time, going on 4th St through Hancock Park. This allowed us to take a one-block side trip to see the House of Davids. There was an article in the Times recently about this. The owner wants to sell the house and move away. Apparently, he is dismayed that his house is more famous than he is. Go figure.

As we got back to Pasadena, it got quite a bit hotter. But it was still below 100, so it wasn’t as hot as we’d been expecting. There were big thunderclouds up over the mountains, which is not unusual this time of the year.

It was a nice ride.

55 miles.

8/21/2011

Playgrounds

Filed under: — stan @ 7:24 pm

Today’s bike club ride was another odd sightseeing route, this time featuring two items I found on Roadside America. One was the sea monsters playground at Vincent Lugo Park in San Gabriel, and the other was the F-86 Sabre Jet in Palm View Park in West Covina.

A number of our regular riders rode the Cool Breeze Century on Saturday, so we had a small group today, but that’s all right. We headed down through San Marino to San Gabriel. When we got to the first park, it was closed off, and the grounds were all torn up. It looks like they are redoing the landscaping. We rode around the block to the back of the park, and we could see that the playground was still there. It’s just closed for the time being while the rest of the park is being renovated.

From there, we headed straight east out to West Covina. The Roadside America listing made it sound like the airplane was a real airplane body, but when we got there, we found that it’s actually a full-size model cast in concrete. Still, it’s just the sort of thing that certain kids would really enjoy.

Our snack stop was at Panera in West Covina, and then we came home by way of Santa Fe Dam and the bike path. It was a nice ride.

44 miles.

8/7/2011

Again with the Big Donut

Filed under: — stan @ 12:37 pm

Today’s bike club ride was the route out to La Puente to see the Donut Hole. The last time we did this ride was back in January. That was the day we saw the Weinermobile. It was a perfect summer day for riding.

ON the way out, we passed the original In-N-Out Burger location in Baldwin Park. The sign is all that’s left now.

At the Donut Hole, there was an empty bucket of apple filling. That was perfect to balance the camera on for our picture.

Continuing on, we passed the house with the plastic reindeer permanently mounted by the driveway gate. It was right around there where I first heard my bike making a little ticking noise. When we got to a nice shady spot, I stopped and had a look. That was when I saw the staple stuck in my tire. So Carla took the camera and got my flat tire picture.

On the way back, we stopped off to see the big new Huy Fong Foods building in Irwindale. They’re coming along nicely, and when it’s done, they’ll be able to make veritable oceans of hot sauce there.

When we rode up the bike path through Santa Fe Dam, we could see that there was still quite a bit of water coming down from the mountains. For August, this is remarkable.

Our snack stop was at Merengue in Monrovia. Then we headed home. It was a nice ride.

44 miles.

7/31/2011

Top five

Filed under: — stan @ 2:47 pm

A couple months ago, I found an article in the L.A. Times on “The Ten Best Houses in Southern Calfornia“. when I was reading, it, I realized that we could go see five of them on a single bike ride. I made up a route for this, and I test-rode it back in June. So today was the first time that I took the bike club group on it.

The first one was the Gamble House, which we pass all the time. Then we rode down into Silver Lake and then up the hill next to Griffith Park. Some of the guys missed the turn on Vermont and rode off up the hill into the park. I figured they’d realize that they’d missed a turn when they got to the Observatory. So I just waited down on Vermont. While I was waiting for them to come back, Carla showed up. She had overslept and gotten a late start. Finally, the rest of the group came back down the hill, and we all headed up to the Ennis House.

The third house was the Hollyhock House. That was an easy side trip. Then we headed across Hollywood, passing a sightseeing van that was stopped to look at the Michael Jackson Auditorium at the elementary school on Gardner Ave.

The Schindler House on Kings Road in West Hollywood was the fourth stop on the tour. Then we rode back into Hollywood and up toward the hills. We stopped off at the Studs Theater, which used to be the flagship of the old Pussycat chain back in the ’70s. David had to try his feet in John Holmes’ footprints in the concrete in front of the theater.

We rode up Nicholls Canyon to get to Mulholland Drive. Then we took a short side trip up Torreyson Dr to see the Chemosphere. That was the fifth and final stop on the house tour. Then we rode the rest of the way down Mulholland and down into Burbank for a snack at Priscilla’s. The rest of the ride was a direct path home by way of Glendale and Eagle Rock. We had a bit of fun right at the end when a guy on an electric-assisted bike passed us. We got on behind him and he motor-paced us for several miles, which was nice.

It was a fun little ride.

52 miles.

7/24/2011

Hollywood by bike

Filed under: — stan @ 1:28 pm

Today’s bike club ride was one we haven’t done in quite a while. The last time was over a year ago. We’d planned on it several times last winter and spring, but we got rained out each time. So now that it’s summer, we finally got to do it.

The route was a ride over into Hollywood and up Beachwood Canyon to just below the Hollywood sign. Then over the hill into Burbank, and home by way of Glendale. It was a perfect day for riding.

The ride up to the sign was very steep, on a rough road with a fair amount of sand and dirt on it. This is the hill where I always tell people, “you may or may not see anyone you recognize from TV here, but you’ll be seeing stars by the time you get to the top.” We regrouped at the top, by Wolf’s Lair Castle. Then we headed up the rest of the way to the end of Mulholland Drive, just below the Hollywood sign.

On the way back down, we stopped for a photo-op at the bookshelf garage door. Then down the hill, past Lake Hollywood, and up and over into Burbank. Our stop was at Priscilla’s in Burbank. While we were there, I had a look at the 1920s-era racing bike they had displayed in the window of the bike shop next door.

On the way home, we went over the Chevy Chase/Linda Vista hill in Glendale, coming down on Lida into Pasadena. Then around the Rose Bowl and home by way of Orange Grove.

It was a nice ride, even if Tony did beat me to the top of all the hills.

41 miles

7/22/2011

Can this be for real?

Filed under: — stan @ 8:11 am

This was in the L.A. Times yesterday:

Bicyclist harassment outlawed by Los Angeles City Council
New law makes it a crime for drivers to threaten cyclists verbally or physically.

By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times

July 21, 2011
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday passed a pioneering new law intended to protect bicyclists from harassment by motorists.

The ordinance, which backers described as the toughest of its kind in the nation, makes it a crime for drivers to threaten cyclists verbally or physically, and allows victims of harassment to sue in civil court without waiting for the city to press criminal charges.

I think this sounds like a great idea. It remains to be seen how it will work in real life, but at least somebody is thinking about it. And that in itself is remarkable.

The whole story is here:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bicycle-law-20110721,0,3219222.story

7/10/2011

Fern Dell for the summer

Filed under: — stan @ 8:35 pm

It’s summer now, which means it’s time to go to Fern Dell and visit The Trails cafe. It was a nice morning, but promised to get hot later.

We rode down into Los Feliz and then up into Griffith Park. I looked away for a moment on the climb up to the observatory, and Tony was gone. I spent the rest of the climb chasing him, and I never did catch him before the top. We regrouped at the observatory and then headed down the hill to The Trails. It was a perfect day to enjoy sitting at the table surrounded by big trees. It was quite idyllic. Then we headed back up the hill.

At the big junction by the tunnel, the sign warned us about possible wild animals in the park, including rattlesnakes and mountain lions. No tigers or bears, though.

We headed up Mt Hollywood, and once again, I’d swear that the hill had grown since the last time we rode there. We regrouped again at the top, and then headed down the other side. I stopped at one point to get some action shots of everyone coming around one of the turns. Then we met up again at the bottom, where we saw the miniature horse.

From there, we rode down the hill, past Travel Town, and then down the L.A. River bike path. Then back home up Figueroa and across South Pasadena.

It was a nice ride.
45 miles.
cycling

7/9/2011

History is all around us

Filed under: — stan @ 8:06 pm

This morning, I went for a little bike ride while it was still early and cool. I did my usual 30-mile ride that doesn’t go anywhere in particular. But there was a small sightseeing stop today.

I’d been reading the list of places that are in the National Register of Historic Place in Los Angeles County. And I saw that they Pacific Electric Substation was only a 1/2 block detour from my route. In fact, it’s right next to my vet’s office, and I’d never noticed it before. So I decided to go see it today.

I rode down into Temple City and then across San Gabriel and Alhambra, and then up the back side of the hill to the South Pasadena Water tower. I got a picture up there with the help of a flat-topped mailbox. From there, I went up Arroyo and around the Rose Bowl. There was something going on there that involved large numbers of young women running. Nothing not to like about that.

I rode up into Altadena for the trip home. At Lake, I went right a half a block to see the old substation building. It was a very quaint old building. Then I continued on home.

It was a fun little ride.

7/3/2011

Up the mountain

Filed under: — stan @ 5:35 pm

I had heard from the Caltech cycling people that Glendora Mountain Road was going to be closed to cars this weekend. This is a nice treat for us, even though I’m pretty sure that’s not why they were doing it. Most likely, it’s to keep the locals from driving up the mountain and setting it on fire with July 4th fireworks. Still, it’s a nice chance for us to have the road to ourselves.

We rode out to Glendora and headed up the hill. We had to stop briefly to hoist our bikes over the gate, but that was a small price to pay to have the quiet mountain road to ourselves. On the way up the hill, we saw many, many other riders coming down. Apparently, there were a lot of other cyclists who had the same idea today.

It’s been several years since the last time I’ve been up this hill, and I think that I’ve only ridden all the way up the hill once before, because the hill was a lot longer and harder than I’d remembered it being. I suppose that last winter’s rains might have made the mountain grow, but that seems a bit unlikely. It’s also possible that I may have shrunk after turning 50, but that also seems a bit far-fetched. Most likely, it was just faulty memory on my part. In any event, the hill was about twice as long and hard as I’d remembered. This was likely due to the fact that the last two times I’ve been there, we were not able to ride all the way up. Adding to the experience was the fact that it was pretty hot by the time we were heading up there, so all that came together to make it a bit of an experience.

When we got to the top, we stopped and sat in the shade for a bit before heading back down. On the way down, I stopped and had a look at a small memorial for Kevin Unck, who was killed in a cycling accident there last January.

When we got back to the bottom, we went looking for some water. We didn’t find any immediately, but then David spoke to some people we saw leaving their house. He asked if we could use their hose to fill our water bottles, and the agreed. They also told us to have some oranges from the tree in their front yard, and those were easily the best oranges I’ve had in years.

The ride back was pretty uneventful. By then it was very hot, and the trip back became a bit of a Retreat From Moscow, but we made it all right. We stopped for a snack and drinks at Merengue in Monrovia. Then we pushed on for the final seven miles home.

It was a nice ride, even though we were all dragging a bit by the end.

56 miles.
cycling

Powered by WordPress