Stan’s Obligatory Blog


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.


As time goes by – again

Filed under: — stan @ 5:58 pm

Since nobody else showed up for the club bike ride last Sunday, we did the same route today. The only change I made was to adjust the route slightly so that we’d have a traffic light to cross 3rd St in Los Angeles.

It was cold and slightly threatening today, but otherwise it was a good day for riding.

We did the route, stopping at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery to pay respects to Dooley Wilson. Then we rode through Koreatown and Hancock Park to our snack stop at Noah’s Bagels in Larchmont Village.

On the way back, we felt a few raindrops, and we briefly considered bailing out and taking the train home, but the weather held, and we made it back without getting wet. And, as if on cue, just as I pulled up to my house, the sky opened up and the rain began. It was perfect timing.

42 miles.


As time goes by

Filed under: — stan @ 6:47 pm

It rained hard last night. The roads were still wet, and it was cold this morning. But it looked like it was going to be a good day, so I went riding. The rest of the regular Sunday group didn’t show, but I went anyway. The route was a new variation to get to Angelus Cemetery outside downtown L.A. to visit the grave of Dooley Wilson. We did this ride a couple of summers ago, so it was time again.

Just a bit outside downtown, I got a flat. I tried to locate the hole in the tube, but it was too noisy on that corner. But I felt around the inside of the tire and didn’t find anything. So I put in the spare tube and headed off. I got about half a mile and then I got another flat. This time I was sitting by the railroad tracks next to the L.A. River. It was a lot quieter and I was able to patch both tubes. Again I felt around the inside of the tire and came up empty. I started riding again, and I got as far as Union Station before I got yet another flat. This time I paid close attention to where the hole was, and I made a thorough inspection of the tire right there. Then I found a little sliver of glass. So once again I patched the tube and headed off. By now I had only one patch left, so I figured if it happened again, I’d just take the train home.

In downtown, I rode down Broadway and looked at some of the old theaters there. Then out on West Adams to Angelus. I stopped to pay respects to Mr. Wilson and to remember him singing “As Time Goes By”. Then I headed out, up into Koreatown and then over to Larchmont. Along the way I saw a store selling water and Internet access. Yeah, I guess those go together. I also saw that Snow White’s house on Larchmont Blvd is for sale.

I skipped the stop, since it was just me,and the three flat tires had thrown me off schedule. I tried a new route back, going east on some little streets to get over to Silver Lake and then up Benton Way. It was a lot quieter than the way we usually go.

When I got back to Pasadena, I saw the final preparations for the Rose Parade, which means it really is the end of the year. But with this ride, I made my goal of 4,000 miles for the year. So it was a nice ride.

42 miles.


The Great Wall of Los Angeles

Filed under: — stan @ 11:46 pm

Well, the rain finally stopped, and I got to go for a bike ride. I met up with some of the people from the regular Sunday group, and we headed out to the San Fernando Valley to see the Great Wall of Los Angeles. This is a mural painted on the side of a flood control channel that covers the entire span of Los Angeles history. It starts at the south end with giant slots and mammoths, and goes all the way to the present.

We headed out and rode straight west across Eagle Rock and Glendale into Burbank. Then we took Oxnard St out into the Valley. Along the way, we saw an impressive driveway gate. Nice and shiny. Then we got to the Wall. It’s pretty impressive.

Coming back, we took the bikeway along the Metro Orange Line. We stopped at Panera in North Hollywood for a snack. Then we headed home. We went across Glendale and then up to La Cañada. When we got back to Pasadena, we took Howard St across so we could pass by the house where Sirhan Sirhan grew up.

It was a nice ride.

48 miles.


The House of Davids

Filed under: — stan @ 9:32 pm

Sunday’s bike ride was a holiday sightseeing route to Hancock Park to see the House of Davids. They always have an over-the-top display there, and this year was no exception.

We rode there by way of Silver Lake and Koreatown. We’ve been passing the Harbin Deer Antler Trading Company for years, and today was the first time it occurred to me to have a look in the window. And yes, there were antlers in there.

When we were in Hancock Park, I saw a house with some small potted topiary reindeer. I wonder what they do with them the rest of the year.

The House of Davids did not disappoint. All the Davids were decorated, and the lion heads on the house all had little Santa hats. It’s just too bad we can’t ride there when it’s dark to see it lit up.

Heading north into Hollywood, we passed the Never Open Store. As always, it was closed. Our stop was at Groundworks Coffee on Sunset, where we sat in the shade and watched the CNN news crawl telling us about the Metrodome collapsing from the weight of the snow in Minneapolis.

It was a nice ride.

42 miles.


New sightseeing discoveries

Filed under: — stan @ 10:00 pm

Today’s bike ride was the ‘Relatively Flat Ride’. This is the route I made up that tries to avoid as many hills as possible. It’s about 43 miles round trip from Pasadena to Glendora and Covina.

It was a bit chilly, but basically a nice day for riding. We started out from the park, and we hadn’t even gotten around the first corner when we saw Carla racing to catch up with us. She likes to sleep in as late as possible on Sunday mornings.

We took a small detour in Arcadia to see a house with an over-the-top Christmas display, complete with a fiberglass cow and calf. That was suitably weird to be a photo-op. In Bradbury, we saw a couple houses with horse-themed topiary in the yards. Those will be added to the original Topiary Tour route.

On the way back, we had a minor run-in with a motorist. We caught up with him at the next light, so I made a point to get his picture. 5SFY673, you’re an asshole.

Our snack stop was at Merengue. Carla bought me an eclair, which was superb as always.

It was a nice ride, aside from the brief interlude with the asshole.

43 miles.


La Tuna Canyon and the Mole Machine

Filed under: — stan @ 11:06 pm

Today’s bike ride was the classic La Tuna Canyon route, with a short detour in Glendale to see the giant steampunk drill Halloween display. We’d been by here two weeks ago when construction had just started. So we wanted to see it in its finished state.

We got to meet Peter, and he treated us to a full tour of how it worked and how it was built. The talking animatronic figures were especially impressive. I took a short video of the rotating drill tip and the talking skeleton and crow in the cockpit.

After that, we continued on the ride. The climb up La Tuna Canyon was fun, as always. Just below the top, Don got a flat. And to add just a little more excitement, we spotted two new topiaries today. A giraffe family in La Cañada and a pair of baskets in Altadena. These will be added to the Topiary Tour West route.

It was a fun ride.

44 miles.


Down for the Count

Filed under: — stan @ 6:11 pm

Today’s bike ride was the “Down for the Count” route we do for Halloween. Out to Culver City and Holy Cross Cemetery to visit Bela Lugosi’s grave.

We rode out from Pasadena and through downtown L.A.. We got to see the progress they’re making on building the new Expo light rail line. It looks like it will be done pretty soon.

When we got to the cemetery, Bela’s grave was decorated by fans as it always is for Halloween.

Our snack stop was at Noah’s Bagels on Venice Blvd. Carla got me a bagel and put some birthday candles on it. That was very nice.

On the way back, I got a flat.

Aside from the flat tire, it was pretty much a perfect ride.

52 miles.


Halloween preparations

Filed under: — stan @ 5:59 pm

Today’s bike ride was the “Glendale Hills” route. The idea was to take a tour through Glendale and see the Halloween decorations, and to see the beginnings of the single most elaborate display I’ve heard of yet. It was cool and generally a perfect day for riding.

The hills were every bit as difficult as we’d all remembered. But still much easier than any stair climb I’ve ever done. I’m finding that competitive stair climbing is making me a faster bike rider. Simply because I’ve learned to reach new levels of pain. Whatever works.

The Halloween decorations were amusing, although the giant steampunk drill wasn’t anywhere near complete. Our snack stop was at Paradise Bakery, and I had my usual eclair. It was good, as always.

It was a fun ride. Not as long as our usual, but it was plenty hard.

38 miles.


Rained out

Filed under: — stan @ 9:07 am

I had a bike ride planned for today, but when I woke up, it was raining. That’s a little odd for this early in the season, but not unknown. Still, I went down to the park just to see if anyone else was there. On the way, I saw the sprinklers going, which always looks absurd. Nobody was there, so I went home and that was that.

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