Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Hollywood signtseeing by bike

Filed under: — stan @ 8:26 pm

Today’s ride was an informal sightseeing trip to Hollywood. Five of us went, and we had a nice list of sights to see.

We met in South Pasadena and headed on over to Hollywood. When we got there, the first stop was at Hollywood Forever. I’d been there a while back to visit Don Adams’ grave, and I wanted to see if he’d gotten a stone yet. As it turned out, he had. I took a couple of pictures, and then we took a short tour around the cemetery. We saw Cecil B. DeMille’s grave. Also Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone, and Mel Blanc. Pictures are all in the Graves Gallery.

Leaving the cemetery, we took some side streets across Hollywood, passing by my old house there, as well as Mickey’s Greenhouse. Then we stopped for a photo-op on La Brea at Kat Von D’s tattoo shop that is features in “L.A. Ink“. Then we went up to Franklin Ave to see the Highland Gardens motel, where Janis Joplin died back in 1970.

Heading west, we stopped at the site of the motel where Divine died. The building was recently torn down, so it was just a vacant lot. Then we headed over into West Hollywood, passing by Jack Cassidy’s old apartment, as well as the alley where Sal Mineo was murdered.

We took a small detour down to Dicks St just for a chuckle. Then we went back up to Sunset and headed back east, passing The Viper Room, where River Phoenix died back in 1993. Then we turned left up Sunset Plaza and headed up the hill. Along the way, I spotted another hot-rod mailbox, so I added it to my collection.

Going over the top, we headed down into Laurel Canyon, passing by the site of Houdini’s old house. Then we turned and rode up Willow Glen, which is a very steep hill. It’s also always wet, which makes for tricky riding. At the top, we went down into Nicholls Canyon, turning left on Nicholls Canyon Road for the climb up to Mulholland.

We rode part-way down Mulholland before realizing that we’d gone the wrong way. We wanted to visit the site of Errol Flynn’s house, so we had to backtrack a bit to find it. Then we went back down Mulholland, turning on Woodrow Wilson to go down to the freeway in Cahuenga Pass.

Coming down the hill into Burbank, we stopped at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake for bagels and orange juice. Then we headed home by the most direct and flattest route possible.

Overall, it was a very nice ride.

about 60 miles (my bike computer was on the fritz)


I’ve never seen one of these break before…

Filed under: — stan @ 5:57 pm

Route slip

Today’s ride was the “Glendale Vistas” route. We haven’t done this one since June, so it was time. It was chilly this morning, but we had a good group of ten riders. Michael came out for the first time in months, which meant that there was going to be competition to be first to the top of the hills. And Vikki is visiting from Canada this week, so she came to ride with us, too.

We rode out of Pasadena to La Cañada. Then we turned up Chevy Chase for the first hill of the ride. The hill up the north side of Chevy Chase is long and winding, with a steep pitch at the end. Then a nice long downhill into Glendale.

At the bottom, we made a loop through Glendale, ending up on Glenoaks, where we stopped at Paradise Bakery. I had my usual two chocolate eclairs, since theirs are the best. And I wasn’t even worried about eating them before the steep hills in the second half of the ride.

Leaving the bakery, we rode back across Glendale and started up into the hills. The first big hill started out on Royal Blvd, which wasn’t too steep. Then we turned on Old Phillips Rd, which was close to flat. Finally, we took a right on Kidonan Dr, which is the steep pitch to the top. And that was where Things Went Wrong.

I was riding up the hill in my usual 39×17 gear, and I was pushing pretty hard to try and stay ahead of Michael. Then my chain skipped. I head the sound of pieces of metal falling on the ground, and the cranks spun free. I managed to get my foot out before falling over, and I looked down to see that the 17-tooth cog on my cassette had self-destructed. It broke into three or four pieces, and the chain was just wedged down into the space where the cog had been. I’ve been riding seriously since 1973, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen something like this break.

Needless to say, this was a problem. First, we took the obligatory picture, and I stuffed a couple of the pieces into my bag for a souvenir. Then I walked up to the next flat spot. I was able to get the chain onto the next larger cog. The picture shows the chain on the 9 speed 8 speed cassette. Then I rode very carefully the rest of the way to the top. The other cogs didn’t seem to be going too far out of alignment, so the bike was rideable, but shifting was probably not a good idea.

Fortunately, we were getting close to the end of the ride, so just continued on. We rode down into Montrose and then up Hospital Hill. Then straight down and back into Pasadena and back to the park.

It was a fun ride, even with the broken cog. Things like that are rare enough that the inconvenience was worth it just to have the story to tell. And it was nice to see Vikki again.

41 miles and one broken 17-tooth cog.


Fall Foliage – and a few very steep hills

Filed under: — stan @ 8:28 pm

Today’s ride was the Fall Foliage route through Monterey Park. Apparently there are some areas that have trees with leave that change color and fall in the autumn. And there are some very steep hills, too.

We met at Arcadia Park and headed out. The first part of the ride was pretty uneventful. The first funny thing I saw was a pet grooming place with a sign that said that they had “The Furminator”, which is apparently a line of anti-shedding products. Well, I thought it was funny.

In Alhambra, we saw a couple of abandoned couches. One on the side of the road, and a second one that was being picked up. So now we know what happens to all those abandoned couches.

We crossed over the 10 freeway on a pedestrian bridge, which was kind of novel. And it gave a good view of the freeway, and the lack of traffic at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.

Then we did the first little hill. It was something like 17%, but it was short. Then we had a short downhill, and that’s where we saw the big fountain. No idea what the reason was for it being there, but it was a nice fountain.

The next turn was up Cadiz St. This felt like the steepest hill of the bunch, but Frank said it wasn’t. But it was longer than the others, so the joy was long-lasting. And this was the hill that made me say ‘uncle’ and shift down a couple of gears. We regrouped at the top, and that was where we noticed that part of the group had taken a different route to avoid the hill.

Coming down off that hill, we crossed Atlantic Ave and then rode up another nice hill. And that was where we saw the purple house. Then we came down the other side and rode up into Alhambra. We stopped at the golf course and had snacks at the little coffee shop there. Jon and I were comparing our cleats. Mine are a lot less worn than his. I think that may have something to do with my rarely putting my foot down. We were also all amused by the display of golf energy bars.

Finally, we rode the flat route back to the park in Arcadia. When we were almost there, Bob got a flat. This is Bob’s second appearance in the Flat Tire Gallery.

Overall, it was a fun little ride.

44 miles


Mt Washington in Los Angeles

Filed under: — stan @ 11:28 pm

Today’s ride was the Mt Washington ride. We have done this ride before, but it’s been several months, so the time was right.

We rode north from Victory Park, up into Altadena, and then over through La Cañada and down Hospital Hill. Then we went straight down through Glendale and Atwater Village, over the Los Angeles River and down Riverside Dr.

At the end of Riverside, we went north on Figueroa and then turned left up Mt Washington. This is a nice little climb. Not too steep, not too long. And they repaved the road about a year ago, so it’s pretty nice for riding now. Note in the photos how everyone is smiling as they crested the hill.

Coming down the other side, we got on Ave 50 and took a little detour over to Eldred St. This is reputed to be the steepest street in Los Angeles. The grade is something a bit over 30% at the top. I’d read that the trash trucks back up the hill so that they don’t have to turn around at the top. They are afraid the truck would tip over if they did. We made a couple of attempts at riding up it, but none of us made it all the way to the top without slipping. But we did talk to one of the residents of the street, and he confirmed the story about the backwards trash trucks.

Leaving Eldred St, we rode north through Highland Park and then into South Pasadena, where we stopped at Kaldi’s for a snack. Then we went east through downtown South Pasadena, passing a large inflatable dinosaur. From there, we took Monterey Road east, turning south to get to Duarte Road, and then made a loop back to the park. By then, it had warmed up quite nicely, and we were mostly overdressed for the temperature. So it was a good time to be done.

40 miles.


Bicycle tourist

Filed under: — stan @ 10:33 pm

Today’s club ride was one that I thought didn’t sound like all that much fun, so it was time for the special sightseeing trip out to Westwood. The main goal was to visit Frank Zappa’s grave, as well as a number of other sights along the way.

I rode down to South Pasadena and met up with Doug and Rachele. And we headed out. We went through Highland Park, making a quick side trip to see the second-smallest house in Los Angeles. It’s been fixed up, and it looks pretty good now.

We rode through Silver Lake and into Hollywood. Riding down Hollywood Boulevard is always a surreal experience, and one that’s best done early in the morning. We stopped briefly at the Chinese Theater to see the costumed performers posing for pictures with tourists.

Going across West Hollywood, we bypassed the Sunset Strip to make another side trip to see Dicks St. Then we went up Doheny to just above the Strip to see the Garagemajal. A lot of the neighbors were upset by it, since it looked like a giant parking structure. But now it appears that it’s just a very large extension on the house.

Crossing into Beverly Hills, we stopped for photo at the tree where Lindsay Lohan crashed her car last year. Then we doubled back one block to pass by the Menendez murder house. And then west again to pass the Witch’s House.

Leaving Beverly Hills, we rode out to Westwood. We stopped briefly to make a phone call, and in the process I slipped and fell on a wet spot on the street. Apparently, this wet spot is wet all the time, and it has slippery algae growing on the pavement. Sheesh.

When we got to the Pierce Brothers Cemetery, we headed over to Frank Zappa’s grave. After that, we played tourist a bit more in the cemetery. The pictures are all in the Graves Gallery.

The next sightseeing stop was Stan’s Donuts in Westwood Village. I always stop for a picture with businesses that have my name on them. (Like these: 1 2  3  4) Then we stopped off at Holmby Park for water before heading up the hill on Benedict Canyon.

At the top of the hill, we turned and took Mulholland all the way to Cahuenga Pass. Riding west to east on Mulholland it nice, since the trend is downhill. And it was a clear day, so the views were very nice. And then we took the most direct route home to Pasadena. We had one minor incident with a car in Glendale when it looked like they were going to pull out into us. Doug yelled at the driver. A little later, she caught up to us at a light. She was rolling down her window like she wanted to say something. I pulled out my camera and took her picture. And she shut up.

Overall, it was a fun little ride.

67 miles.


La Tuna Classic

Filed under: — stan @ 8:34 pm

Route slip

Today’s ride was the La Tuna Classic. That’s how I refer to the route that does La Tuna Canyon from west to east. Up the four-mile hill. Call me weird, but I’d rather ride up that hill than down it any day. So today was the day.

Gene came out to the park to see us off and to deliver some new club jerseys. He can get around with a walker now. So he’s able to move around the house, but he’s not back to work yet, and certainly not riding yet. Still, he looked good.

We set out and rode across Eagle Rock and into Glendale. We took Mountain and Kenneth across Glendale and into Burbank. Then we took Glenoaks the rest of the way to Sun Valley, where we got on La Tuna Canyon Road. Then it was time for that nice long climb to the top.

At the top, we rested a bit and enjoyed the sunshine. Then we headed down into Montrose. We stopped at Oven Fresh bakery. Only one of the tables was in the sun, so we all crowded around it. If we’d been a half-hour later, they would have all been in the sun. But we just rode up the hill too fast.

After the stop, we headed back across Altadena. On one street, a dog got out of its yard and ran out at us. Rachele got spooked by this and bumped wheels with another rider, and she fell down. Fortunately, she didn’t land too hard, and she wasn’t hurt. And on that note, we rode back to the park.

The final bit of riding was back home from the park, and along the way I saw a house with one of the busiest holiday displays I’ve ever seen. And the channel 7 news truck was there to look at it. I guess it’s a slow news day.

48 miles.


Turnbull Canyon and the Buddhist Temple

Filed under: — stan @ 7:29 pm

Today’s club ride was over Turnbull Canyon into Hacienda Heights, with a stop at the big Buddhist Temple there. Here’s the route:

It was pretty chilly this morning when we set out from Live Oak Park in Temple City. We rode down the Rio Hondo bike path to Whittier Narrows. Then we went across to the San Gabriel River bike path and rode that down to near Beverly Blvd in Pico Rivera. At that point, a few of us took a little detour to go see Dork St.

When we got back on the route, the group was several minutes ahead of us. I decided that my goal was to catch everyone by the time we got to the top of Turnbull Canyon. I’ve been more ambitious about hill climbing since I beat Newton up that hill.

On the way up the hill, we saw three guys skateboarding down. They had their friends following them in a car. I managed to get a picture of one of them as they went by.

By the time I got to the middle of the climb, I’d passed everyone, or so I thought. But then I did a mental inventory of who I’d passed and realized that I hadn’t seen Silvio. This meant he was still up ahead. So I picked up the pace, and when I got to the last big switchback before the top, I saw him. But I knew he was too far away to catch in the short distance remaining. Oh well.

At the top, there was a nice view of downtown Los Angeles. And on the way down into Hacienda Heights, there was a nice view of the San Gabriel mountains with their new coat of snow from the rain last week.

When we got to the bottom, we rode over to the Hsi Lai Temple and had a look around. It was pretty impressive. Even though I’m half-Chinese, I really don’t know anything about Buddhism. So it was interesting to see.

Leaving the temple, we took Colima Road back up over the hill into Whittier. I got a picture of Silvio hamming it up at the top. Then we rode down into downtown Whittier and stopped at a little pastry shop there. They had a nice courtyard with tables in the middle of the building. It would be very nice in the summer, since it was shady. Fortunately, it had warmed up enough that we weren’t too cold sitting in there.

On the way home, we passed the corner of Citrus and Orange in Whittier. That ranks right up there with the intersection of Summit and Mountain in Pasadena, and the one I saw many years ago: Hatfield and McCoy.

When we were riding through El Monte, we heard a weird noise. Silvio had a flat. The noise was the nail stuck in his tire hitting the bike frame. This marks Silvio’s first appearance in the Flat Tire Gallery.

And that was our ride.

53 miles.


More old-school bike racing pictures

Filed under: — stan @ 8:41 pm

I finally got to go through and separate the pictures from the 1978 Longsjo Classic in Fitchburg, MA. Apparently this is a stage race now. But back then it was a single-day criterium in downtown Fitchburg. The course was about a mile, and it went up and down a hill in town. The race itself was something like 100km.

I don’t remember a lot about the race itself. I rode the whole thing, staying snug inside the pack. I didn’t try to do anything fancy. But it was still a fun time. About the only real memory I have of the race is that I spent a good part of it following Jon Schuster. He was a Category 1 racer with the Indy USA team, which was the big team of the day. A lot of the National Team members rode with them, including the Stetina brothers. Wayne Stetina won the race that day. But I followed Jon because he was big. Like a moose. And when he moved through the pack, it was like the Parting of the Red Sea. Everyone just got out of his way. And I just sort of followed along. It was fun.

So have a look at the photos from that day. It’s old-school late-’70s bike racing at its best.


More stuff I see when riding my bike

Filed under: — stan @ 8:21 pm

More things I see while riding my bike instead of driving:

Signs in a posh neighborhood in Pasadena, warning of roving wild animals. Keep your cats, dogs, and small children indoors.

I can go to the mall right before Christmas and get Doris Day Parking. They have a bike rack right by the door. And almost nobody uses it. Who knew?

And there are feral peafowl in Arcadia.



Filed under: — stan @ 8:59 pm

Route slip

The rain has moved on, and today was a gloriously clear day. A bit chilly by SoCal standards, but still quite nice. The mountains had a good dusting of fresh snow, and it was very much the type of day when they take postcard pictures.

After riding up Mt Hollywood last week, and Mountain Lion Hill the week before, we decided it was time for a flat ride. And we also wanted to go someplace where the outside tables are in the sun, rather than the shade. So the Bagelry ‘fit the suit‘.

The ride out there was nice and flat. Not much to say about it. And when we got to the Bagelry, it was indeed very sunny at the tables. So our plan worked. And we were all very amused by Rachele’s sushi-hat.

And on the way back I made sure to get a picture of the house with Jack Skellington on the front lawn.

It was a nice ride.

45 miles.

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