Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Hot day at the Corner Bakery

Filed under: — stan @ 3:28 pm

Today’s ride was the “Corner Bakery” route. We’re having another spring heat wave now, so it was already warm in the morning, and promising to get hot later.

We started out and headed east. Almost immediately, YK got a flat. For some reason, it took everyone a long time to fix it, but we were finally going again.

We rode out to Arcadia, passing the park where we sometimes meet to start rides. That’s where we saw the inflatable slide that looked like the sinking Titanic. Then we headed south into Temple City before turning west again to make a big loop.

We crossed South Pasadena and then headed back into Pasadena, passing above the Rose Bowl. Then we hit the hills in La Cañada. We rode all the way up the hill to the school at the top, and then came back down all the way to the Rose Bowl. There was some sort of charity walk going on there, so the road was closed and packed with people. We rode slowly through the crowd for a short distance before deciding it would be better just to go back up the hill and take Linda Vista around to get where we were going.

Back in Pasadena, we stopped at the Corner Bakery on Lake Ave. I found us a table with an umbrella, so we had a bit of shade. We sat and talked for a bit before headed back to the park.

It was a nice ride.

38 miles.


No Tuna, Bagel Instead

Filed under: — stan @ 4:47 pm

Today’s bike ride was the “No Tuna for Me” route that Gene made up last year. It’s got just as much climbing as La Tuna Canyon, but it’s broken up into little pieces, so it doesn’t feel like the 4-mile grind up La Tuna Canyon Road.

We headed out to Eagle Rock. At the bottom of the Colorado hill, we usually turn right up Figueroa to Eagle Vista. But today we tried something different. We went straight and then turned right on Monte Bonita. This got us to the same place, but without that sharp off-camber turn on Figueroa.

We rode across Glendale on Kenneth. When we got into Burbank, we took a quick detour to look at the backyard pirate ship again.

When we got on to Glenoaks, Steve got a flat tire. So I took a picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

In Sun Valley, we turned right on Peoria St. This street runs along the edge of the big garbage dump there. And right along the fence, we saw two pieces of a formerly-nice black sectional couch. Then, just a short distance up the street, we saw two chairs that matched.

Leaving the dump, we headed up into Horse Country. It’s always a bit odd to be riding down a residential street and see horses within the city limits of Los Angeles. We rode up, winding our way back into Sunland, where we turned and headed up toward Tujunga. We stopped for a moment at a little park. Then we rode on, coming out on Tujunga Canyon Road for the fast descent into Montrose.

We usually stop at one of the bakeries in Montrose, but today we decided to try an experiment. The bakeries are all at the bottom of Hospital Hill, and we always have to ride up the hill after the stop. So today, we rode up the hill first, and we stopped at Goldstein’s Bagels instead.

Inside, Susan pointed out the specials board that listed a “Reese’s Peanut Butter ‘n’ Cream”, which is truly not a traditional bagel flavor. But Susan and I got a laugh out of it because — well, I guess you just had to be there… We also got a laugh about the ATM that was apparently on its break, and the stickers on the back of one of the signs out front. “Andre the Giant Has A Posse“.

We all liked the fact that after the stop, we were already at the top of the last hill. And it was all downhill back to the park. It was a nice ride.

45 miles.


A nice ride with no hills

Filed under: — stan @ 8:10 pm

Today’s ride was the “Molly’s Souper” route out to Upland. We started at Arcadia Park and headed east.

Right away, the group split up, and Steve, Susan, Silvio, Garett and I went ahead. We took a short detour through the Santa Fe Dam bike path to avoid the rough stretch of road on Foothill Blvd. We thought that would give the rest of the group a chance to catch up, but when we got to Gladstone St, they were still behind us. So we carried on. We rode all the way out to the border of Claremont. By that time, it was 10:30. Susan had to be back by noon, so she needed to head back. I’d offered to keep her company for the ride back, so the two of us turned around there. We stopped at the park in La Verne to refill our water bottles. Then, when we were leaving the park, we saw the rest of the group still on their way out. We waved and said hi. They asked if we’d done the whole route. Susan was about to tell them “yes” but I beat her to it and said “no”. I’m no fun that way.

The ride back was about 10 minutes faster than the ride out, largely due to that 1% grade on Gladstone. Heading west on the street is always a joy. Our average for the ride was just over 16mph, which is not bad. And the round trip from Arcadia Park was about 44 miles. Since I always ride to the start of the ride, I got a little extra. So it was a good distance and a nice ride.

56 miles.


Ridin’ bikes in the hot sun, I sought a rhyme then I saw one

Filed under: — stan @ 7:38 pm

Today was the infamous “Mountain Lion” ride. We did this ride back in November, so I thought it was time to go back and do it again. Of course, I hadn’t counted on it being an early-spring L.A. heat wave. So it was hot like summer, and we were dripping sweat on the climbs.

The ride goes up into La Cañada, La Crescenta, and Tujunga, going up and down the front face of the San Gabriel Mountains. There’s a fair bit of climbing, and some terrifying descents as well. The high point, both symbolic and literal, is the hill on Pineglen Road that we refer to as “Mountain Lion Hill”. There is a sign part-way up that warns us that mountain lions have been seen in the area. So we try to maintain a brisk pace through there, which can be difficult when you’re riding a bike up an 18% grade. I was expending maximum effort just to go 3mph. That’s why the picture of the sign is blurry. It’s hard to have a steady hand with the camera while riding up a hill like that. I even had to shift. I ended up in my next-to-lowest gear for the final steep pitch to the top.

Coming down into Tujunga, we were on somewhat more level ground. We passed the Viking House, and then continued on down to cross Foothill Blvd. That’s where I saw the Roe Zee Market, which I found amusing for some reason. Maybe it was just the heat.

We stopped for water at a little park in Tujunga, and then rode down Tujunga Canyon Road into Montrose. Our snack stop was at Oven Fresh bakery. I always get orange juice there, since it’s fresh-squeezed and very tasty. And it also means I get to watch the Zummo orange juice machine doing its little mechanical dance, cutting each orange in half and simultaneously squeezing both halves, while more oranges roll down the feeder track. It’s entertaining to watch. Especially when you’re dazed from riding up Mountain Lion Hill.

After the snack stop, I got some couches for the Abandoned Couches Blog. Then we headed straight for home across Pasadena. Don’s fancy bike computer said we’d done a total of 3,600 feet of climbing. It was a nice ride, even with the heat.

42 miles.


La Tuna Canyon the Right Way

Filed under: — stan @ 12:32 pm

Today’s club ride was “Up La Tuna Canyon“. To my mind, this is the right way to do this road. I like the four or five miles of steady uphill. I enjoy that more than riding down that hill.

We met at the Pasadena Elks Lodge for the 9:00 start. On Green St outside the lodge, I noticed that there were two parking spaces marked in blue paint for the Rose Parade. They were marked, “BLIMP”. But I’ve never seen a blimp parked there. That would be some impressive parallel parking skills. Leaving the Elks lodge, we headed out across Eagle Rock and Glendale. It was a nice day, and promising to be hot like summer by mid-day.

In Sun Valley, we took a right and took some small residential streets to get to La Tuna Canyon Road. And then the fun began. Look at how Susan is smiling in the picture. She and I set the pace, and by the time we were near the top, we’d dropped everyone in our group. We were passed by one guy from another group, but we figured that that didn’t count. She was fading a bit near the top, so I did a few practice Madison throws to give her a little push to the summit. When we got there, we stopped to regroup.

When most of the group was there, we headed down the other side into Montrose. We stopped for a snack at Berolina Bakery. I had an eclair there. It was good, but not quite as good as the ones at Paradise Bakery in Glendale.

After the stop, we headed back up Hospital Hill and then back down into Pasadena and home. It was a fun ride.

40 miles.


San Dimas on a gloomy Sunday

Filed under: — stan @ 9:32 pm

Route map

Today’s ride was the “San Dimas South” route. It’s a ‘flattish’ route. There are a few hills, but nothing really big. This was good, since I was still feeling the effects of the 78 miles yesterday.

The weather forecast said, “June gloom in April”, and that was about it. It was gray and overcast. No drizzle, but just gray and gloomy. But it was cool, so it was all right for riding.

We headed straight east all the way to Covina, and then south in to San Dimas. We went close to Bonelli Park before turning back west. There were a couple of small hills there, but soon we were back on the flat land and heading for our stop at Panera across the street from the mall in West Covina.

After some bagels and such, we mounted up and headed for home. There really wasn’t anything remarkable on this ride, but we had a nice time anyway.

46 miles.


Seal Beach

Filed under: — stan @ 7:07 pm

Today’s club ride was a longer one than usual. We started at Live Oak Park in Temple City and rode to Seal Beach. It was kind of cool and overcast, so it was nice weather for riding. I have a policy of not going on any ride that I can’t ride to the start of, so I rode down there from my house. On the way, I got a flat. Since I was alone at this point, I had to take the picture for the Flat Tire Gallery ‘MySpace-style’, holding the camera at arm’s length.

We started out going down the Rio Hondo bike trail. This brought us to Whittier Narrows. As we rode over the dam, I felt that my tire was going flat again. So I stopped and this time I had to patch the tube. Susan took the picture this time.

Continuing on, we rode straight down the San Gabriel River bike path. For some reason, we were riding very fast. You can see it in the lean of the bikes in the first photo. Along the way, we saw egrets and other birds in the river. We also saw a guy doing like “The Karate Kid” in the river bed. As we got close to the ocean, there was more water in the river, and we even saw a few boats. Then we got to the end of the path, where we turned left and headed into Seal Beach. At this point, my tire was going flat again. So this time, Silvio and I went and found the local bike shop on Main St in Seal Beach. I bought a new tire and tube. As before, Susan took the picture as I put it on. After that, I went down to the beach just to see the ocean, since it’s not every day that I ride my bike all the way to the ocean. Then I went back to the bakery and very quickly ate a honey-bran mini-bundt cake. Yum.

When it was time to head back, we went back the way we came. Since water runs downhill, the way back was a gentle uphill grade the whole way. Susan set the pace, and she pretty much rode the rest of us into the ground. I was able to keep up, but I was working pretty hard. Garett and Andy also kept up, but they were having a harder time. We dropped everyone else. We were all impressed with her riding.

When we got back to the park, Garett, Silvio and I headed back home to Pasadena. They were dragging by then. I was doing all right, but I could still feel that we’d done some miles. Our bike computers all said our average for the ride was just over 17mph. It was a fun little ride.

78 miles.


Another wet bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 8:02 pm

Today’s bike ride has no pictures. And it nearly didn’t happen. Lucinda is with me for Saturday and Sunday, so I had to find a babysitter for Sunday morning in order to be able to ride. I was able to arrange that, but then Sunday dawned, and it was raining. But because I’d already gone to so much trouble to arrange everything, I had to still go riding. I went down to the park, and there was only one other rider. But we went anyway. It rained pretty hard on us for a little while, but then it stopped. We were pretty cold and wet, but we still managed to soldier on. It was actually pretty entertaining, since he was new to the Sunday ride, and he used to race back in the ’70s, too. We both knew a lot of the same people from the races back then. So we had a good time swapping stories. In the end, we only went 35 miles, but that was enough for how cold and wet it was.

35 miles.


Mt Hollywood again

Filed under: — stan @ 2:02 pm

Today’s bike ride was the “Philippe’s for brunch” route. We met at the Elks Lodge in Pasadena for the 9:00AM start. A lot of rides start there, but this was the first time I noticed the topiary elk heads by the door.

We rode across Eagle Rock and into Glendale. That was where we saw both the giant inflatable rubber ducky and the VW Beetle complete with antennae. We took Glenoaks all the way across to Sonora, and then left down to get to Griffith Park.

In the park, we took a right on Zoo Dr and looped around Travel Town and up the hill behind the zoo. Then we turned and rode up Mt Hollywood Drive. This is a nice climb, and the road is closed to cars, so it’s nice and quiet. We saw a couple of coyotes along the road there. One of them is somewhat visible in the fifth photo.

Coming down the hill and leaving the park, we commenced with the Gritty Urban Cycling part of the ride. We took Vermont down to Sunset, and then rode Sunset all the way into downtown L.A. Along the way, we Lovecraft Bio-Fuels, Rough Trade Leather, and the new LAUSD high school that’s been dubbed the “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century High School

We stopped at Philippe’s downtown. I wanted to get some of their biscuits, but they were out. Then we headed for home. The route back was very direct. We took Main St to Mission, and then Mission to Huntington. Finally, we took Collis to Hill and into South Pasadena, and then Grand Ave back to the Elks Lodge.

It was kind of chilly, but aside from that, it was a pleasant ride.

42 miles.


I’m on a low-car diet

Filed under: — stan @ 11:32 pm

Low-carb diets were all the rage not so long ago. But I’m on a low-car diet. For a long time, I’ve wanted to not have to use the car for grocery shopping. But there are a lot of heavy and/or bulky items that I have to buy that just don’t fit in my backpack. So I bought a little bike trailer on craigslist. And now I can do my grocery shopping by bike. The trailer can carry 100 pounds, so that pretty much covers anything I need for a week. It’s slightly uphill to the store, so on the way home, the trailer just pushes me down the hill. I think this is going to work out nicely.

This is a Good Thing, since I’m having to use my car a lot more than I’m used to due to the current unpleasantness at home. So anywhere I can cut down on driving is good. Based on my last three years of car usage, it costs me 58 cents per mile to drive. It’s 1.25 miles to the grocery store, and that’s $1.45 saved on each trip. That will add up over time.

Powered by WordPress