Stan’s Obligatory Blog

4/11/2010

A chilly spring Sunday

Filed under: — stan @ 5:33 pm

Due to the earthquake this week, I didn’t have much time or inspiration to find some weird sight to go see on the Sunday bike ride. So we just rode out to San Dimas and back. It was chilly and overcast, and not much remarkable happened. Still, it was a pleasant ride.

43 miles.
cycling

4/4/2010

Mt Washington on a spring morning

Filed under: — stan @ 11:46 am

This Sunday’s bike ride was an old favorite. The loop through northeast Los Angeles and over Mt Washington. It was chilly, but a nice day for riding.

We started out going up to La Cañada and then down into Glendale. That was where we saw the topiary dolphins. Sadly, they’re in the wrong direction to add to the Topiary Tour. So I need to find some more topiary out that way to make a second Tour.

Heading across the L.A. River, we went down Riverside Dr. We took a short detour down Oros St to see the tiniest house in Los Angeles. We also took a peek over the fence to see the new part of the L.A. River bike path that they have been building recently. Then we crossed back over the L.A. River and headed up to Mt. Washington. There is a dog partway up the hill who always stands on the roof of the garage and barks at us as we go by. At the top we stopped briefly at the Self-Realization Fellowship gates before heading down the other side.

Our stop was at Kaldi’s in South Pasadena, which is nice and shady for hot summer days, but not so pleasant on chilly ones. After that, we took a direct route home, since I needed to get back a little early to get ready to go to Easter.

It was a nice ride.

38 miles.
cycling

3/28/2010

The Wall

Filed under: — stan @ 5:31 pm

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.

58 miles.
cycling

3/21/2010

The new and improved Topiary Tour

Filed under: — stan @ 6:24 pm

Today’s bike ride was a new version of the Topiary Tour that I debuted back in November. I’d added one more stop for some topiary animals in a yard in Baldwin Park. It was cool, but basically a very nice day for riding.

The first stop was the Bunny Museum, where they have a giant topiary rabbit on the front lawn. Then on to the Pasadena Elks Lodge and the topiary elks by the front door. The nose of one was brown. There’s a joke in there, I’m pretty sure.

Riding back across Pasadena, we stopped at the Mobil station at Lake and San Pasqual. The topiary Pegasus was kind of overgrown, and didn’t look much like a horse at all.

The next stop was the house in Baldwin Park. They have a giraffe, a bear, a deer, and and an elephant. After that, we continued on to Glendora to the house with the teddy bears and the swan.

Our snack stop was at Classic Coffee in Glendora. Then we took a short detour to see the Glendora Bougainvillea. It wasn’t flowering, so we’re going to have to stop by again next month to see it in bloom.

The route back was pretty straightforward, ending with a final topiary stop in Sierra Madre at the rocking horse. Since it’s spring, the horse had lots of new growth, and it was somewhat in need of a trim.

It was an entertaining little ride.

48 miles.
cycling

3/7/2010

A random ride with almost no hills

Filed under: — stan @ 8:21 pm

Today’s ride was my ‘Random Ride to Whittier’ that I cobbled together last fall. It takes pieces of several other routes and puts them together to make a route that basically doesn’t go anywhere in particular, but it does it without going over any hills. Since I’m going vertical next weekend with the Stratosphere Stair Climb, I thought that staying level today would be a good thing.

It rained overnight, and the forecast called for a 60% chance of rain today, so only four of us showed up. But the clouds moved out and we had sun and blue skies for the whole ride. It was very nice. It waited until we got home, and the the sky opened up. So we were lucky.

This route uses the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River bike paths. The rain last night dropped a layer of fresh snow on the mountains, which made them a very nice backdrop for photos.

When we were riding through Whittier Narrows, Alex got a phone call. But that’s all right. I know it’s supposed to be illegal to drive while talking on the phone, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t say anything about riding a bike.

On the way back, we went farther up the San Gabriel River bike path, and we came to an underpass that was partially flooded. The guys we saw turning around said it was too deep to ride through. But I tried, and it turned out to be only 3-4 inches deep. So that wasn’t so bad.

Our snack stop was at Merengue in Monrovia. Then we rode straight home by way of Sierra Madre.

We didn’t get rained on, so it was a nice ride.

45 miles.
cycling

2/28/2010

A visit to the Shrine of Aviation

Filed under: — stan @ 6:44 pm

This Sunday’s bike ride was to visit the Portal of the Folded Wings at Valhalla Cemetery in North Hollywood. It’s a monument to people who you’ve probably never heard of, but who played key roles in the early development of aviation. It was a nice day for riding.

We rode straight out across Eagle Rock and Glendale into Burbank. Then we took Victory Blvd to the cemetery. We spent a little time looking around before we headed out. On the way, we stopped to see Oliver Hardy and “Curly Joe” DeRita, who are also buried there. Then we headed south to our snack stop at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake.

The route back took us down the L.A. River bike path, where we saw trees bent over from the rushing waters that filled the channel last week when we had some hard rain. Then we headed home by the standard route through Highland Park and South Pasadena.

It was a very pleasant ride.

44 miles.
cycling

2/21/2010

The Big Donut

Filed under: — stan @ 8:02 pm

Today’s bike ride was out to La Puente to see the Donut Hole drive-through donut shop. We’ve been out there before, but it’s always an entertaining sight. The weather was overcast and threatening to rain. Due to the street closures for the Pasadena Marathon today, we met at Memorial Park in Sierra Madre.

Riding east and south, it started to rain lightly. And then it started to rain harder. It got to be a pretty steady rain by the time we got to Las Tunas and took shelter under the overhanging roof of a 7-Eleven store. We waited there for about 20 minutes and the rain stopped. Looking at how the clouds were moving, it appeared that the rain was done with us for a while, so we continued on the ride.

When we got to the Donut Hole, we all got donuts and took a group photo. Then we continued on the route, making a loop around and ending up at Panera Bread in West Covina. We had some bagels and such. Then we rode back to the park. It was a pretty flat ride, and aside from the rain at the beginning, it was very pleasant.

43 miles.
cycling

2/14/2010

The scene of the crime

Filed under: — stan @ 5:19 pm

Last week, I saw that TMZ had posted the coroner’s report on Michael Jackson’s death. Right on the first page of the report, it gave the address of the house where he had been living, and like Phineas Flynn, my first thought was, “I know what we’re gonna do today.” I mapped out a route for the Sunday bike club ride.

We rode out by the most direct route possible, through South Pasadena and Highland Park, and the across the L.A. River and into Hollywood. We rode down Hollywood Blvd, which is always a bit of a weird place to be riding a bike. Then we cut south to Fountain Ave, where we saw the house with “STOP In the Name of Love” on the roof. Then we rode down part of the Sunset Strip and on into Beverly Hills. We made a short sightseeing stop at the tree where Lindsay Lohan crashed her car a few years ago. Then we stopped at the park where George Michael was arrested in 1998. Then we turned off Sunset Blvd and up the street to Michael Jackson’s house. The gate was covered in flowers and little printed tributes that people had posted online.

Leaving the scene of the crime, we passed what was one of the coolest mailboxes we’ve ever seen. Then we rode up Benedict Canyon and then down the other side into the Valley. We stopped for a snack at a little coffee shop in Studio City, right across from Vitellos, which is the restaurant where Robert Blake and his wife shared their last meal before she was murdered.

On the way home, we also stopped off at the Barris Kustom showroom to peek in the windows at the Batmobile and other cars on display there.

All in all, it was a fun little sightseeing ride.

56 miles.
cycling

2/7/2010

Lions and boulders and mud – Oh my!

Filed under: — stan @ 8:07 pm

Today’s bike ride was the somewhat notorious “Mountain Lion Ride“. This is the one that goes way up the hill in La Crescenta, where they have signs warning that lions have been seen in the area. And because of that, we always try to maintain a brisk pace, which is difficult when going up a 20% grade. Also, we wanted to tour the mud and debris flows that had come down Ocean View Blvd in La Cañada yesterday.

It was chilly, but clear and sunny today. So it was pretty good for riding. We headed out, up into Altadena and then across to La Cañada. Then we started up the hills. When we got close to Ocean View Blvd, we started to see a lot of mud on the street, and occasional basketball-sized rocks. A lot of the houses had sandbags and K-rails in front of them. When we got to Ocean View, it was obvious that something had happened there. There was mud all around, even though a lot of it had already been cleaned up. There were trucks and earthmoving equipment heading up the hill, and there was a pile of random debris. Tree trunks and rocks piled up.

We headed down the hill and then took a shortcut across the wash on a pedestrian bridge. That brought us out in La Crescenta, where we started back up the hill. There wasn’t much mud there, but there were a lot of small rocks on the road, and it was still obvious that great quantities of water had been flowing down the streets yesterday. We rode all the way to the top of Pine Glen Road, which we refer to as “Mountain Lion Hill”, since that’s where they have the ‘Beware of lion’ sign. Then we came down Pine Cone Road, which ends at the Genofile house, which was the subject of one of the stories in John McPhee’s The Control of Nature.

From there, we rode west some more, into Tujunga. Then turned south, passing the Hobbit House and making a loop through the flat part of Tujunga. That was where I got a flat.

After fixing the flat, we rode down through Montrose and up Hospital Hill to Goldstein’s Bagels. We sat at a table in the sun, and it was very pleasant. Then we rode back to the park. It was a nice ride, although a bit more climbing than we usually do.

41 miles.
cycling

1/31/2010

The ‘Relatively Flat’ ride

Filed under: — stan @ 8:35 pm

Today’s bike ride was the ‘Relatively Flat’ route. This was the first time we’ve done this route since last May. It was a bit colder today than it was back then, but it was still a nice day for riding.

Not much interesting happened along the way. This ride doesn’t go anywhere in particular. We passed the topiary teddy bears in Glendora, and that was about it for weird sights.

Our snack stop was at Merengue in Monrovia. I got an eclair there. It was good, but still not quite as good as the ones at Paradise Bakery in Glendale. But that’s all right.

It was a nice ride.

43 miles.
cycling

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