Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

10/9/2011

Another urban bike tour

Filed under: — stan @ 12:53 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a sort of random tour of L.A. It was also the day of the third CicLAvia, but we decided not to go to that, since the last time, it was crowded enough that it didn’t feel safe riding in that group. Too many people seem so have the attitude that if there are no cars around, they don’t have to pay attention to anything or follow any sort of rules of the road. So that was out.

A few weeks ago, I read in the L.A. Times about a place in Echo Park that has a room full of vintage pinball machines and hosts a pinball league. So that was one stop on the tour, mostly just to see where it is. On the way, we went past a car club meeting in Echo Park. The Nash Metropolitan hot-rod was pretty funny.

When we crossed Alvarado St, we found ourselves facing a hill that looked like a wall. But it looked flat on the map…

Continuing on through Silver Lake, we went into the east end of Hollywood, where we had a brief sightseeing stop at the Vista Theater. This is the place that as a small Walk of Fame composed of the hand and foot prints of some of the lesser-known stars of cinema.

On the way back, we stopped off at Antigua Cultural Coffee for snacks and drinks.

It was a nice ride.

40 miles.

10/2/2011

Another bike ride to nowhere in particular

Filed under: — stan @ 5:32 pm

This week found me with no special ideas for where we should go on the Sunday bike ride. There are some interesting destinations coming up, but there was nothing appropriately interesting for today. So we did the ‘Relatively Flat Ride’. That’s my attempt to come up with a route with as few hills as possible.

It was a nice day for riding, but since we didn’t really go anywhere, I only took a couple of pictures. But it was a pleasant ride.

43 miles.

10/1/2011

More odd things I see when I’m riding my bike

Filed under: — stan @ 3:16 pm

This morning I went for a little ride. My usual route makes a big loop, and I pass by the Rose Bowl on the way home. It’s not unusual to see some sort of event going on there, but today’s was a bit different. The road had countless thousands of muddy footprints on it, and I saw people running, covered in mud.

When I got home, I looked it up. (Can anyone even remember how life was even possible before we had the Internet?) It was the Gladiator Rock’n-Run. I rode along part of the course just to see what they were doing, and it actually looks kind of fun. And I hate running.

And then, to top it off, I finally got to see the Altadena Wallabies on my way home. There were two of them out in the front yard today. So overall, it was an amusing morning.

30 miles

9/25/2011

Tour de Topiary

Filed under: — stan @ 5:52 pm

Today’s bike ride was the Topiary Tour West. I’ve actually found enough topiary around here to make two complete tours. Today marks the first time we’ve done the western route in over a year. It was just me and Carla today, so we headed out across Eagle Rock.

The first topiary stop was at the south entrance to Burbank Airport, where they have a topiary jet airplane. It’s pretty nicely done. Then we headed south, passing the kiddie-ride boneyard on Clybourn Ave on our way to the second topiary stop, which was a pair of winged horses and a sea monster at a gas station in Burbank.

Next up was the topiary Bugs Bunny on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake. Then we stopped off at Priscilla’s for a snack.

Coming home, we went up Glendale Blvd to see the topiary dolphins at a gas station there. Then it was time for the four-mile uphill to get to La Cañada. Then down the other side of the hill to see the topiary giraffe family on Berkshire Drive.

Coming back into Altadena, we passed the topiary baskets on Mendocino Ave, and finally, the giant topiary rabbit in front of the Bunny Museum.

It was a fun little ride.

48 miles.

9/18/2011

Animals

Filed under: — stan @ 7:32 pm

Last week, I saw an article in the Times about how some coyotes had moved into a burned-out house in Glendale. I thought this sounded interesting, and it could be yet another theme for a sightseeing bike ride. I’d also recently found out the location of the fabled Altadena wallabies, so we had an animal theme today.

The wallabies are just a bit up the hill from Pasadena. They’re apparently not always out, but today we could see one through the fence. Just a wallaby-shaped silhouette. Sort of like the Wallaby Protection Program. But we did see it.

We went up and over the hill to get to Glendale, and just when we were almost to the coyote house, I broke a spoke on my back wheel. I managed to true the wheel enough to keep going, but it was still a big gimpy.

The burned-out house was at the top of a pretty steep hill. It was a nice setting, but the house is a mess. We didn’t see any coyotes, partly because they tend not to come out in the daytime, and also because they were probably underneath the house, and we couldn’t see down there.

Our snack stop was at Paradise Bakery in Glendale. After that, we took a side trip up to Sport Chalet in Burbank so I could fix my wheel. I got a replacement spoke and sat down to fix it. Fortunately, it wasn’t hard to do, and we were back on the road again. Still, with the general gimpiness of my bike, we took the direct way home.

It was a nice ride, aside from the broken spoke.

35 miles.

9/11/2011

Yet another ‘theme’ bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 12:27 pm

Since today is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and all of America is holding various events to mark the occasion, I thought that we at Foothill Cycle Club should join in. So today’s bike ride was a route to visit the World Trade Center memorial at the Los Angeles Fire Department training center near Dodger Stadium. We’d been to see this once before, but I knew that they were going to be having some sort of event going on there today.

We rode out, across Glendale, and then down the L.A. River bike path. Then up into Elysian Park, where we took a short side trip into Echo Park to stop at Chango Coffee.

Leaving Echo Park, we had to go back up a pretty steep little hill. I’d checked out that part of the route in Google Maps Street View, and it really hadn’t looked all that steep there. But everyone who rides with me knows that that’s just how it goes. We’ll find ourselves riding up a wall, all the time while I’m saying, “But it looked flat on the map!”

Rolling down past Dodger Stadium, we came to the LAFD training center. And yes, they were having a big event going on. They had fire trucks, news vans, and a big crowd gathered. We stayed for a little while to listen to the speakers, and then we headed home. The route back was pretty direct, taking Broadway out of downtown, and then up Huntington Drive.

When we got back, it was just me and Carla, and I had only 38 miles. So we took another little side trip to try and see the Altadena wallabies. They weren’t out when we went by, but at least we know where they live now, so we’ll go back another time.

It was a nice ride.

42 miles.

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.

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