Stan’s Obligatory Blog

12/1/2007

Riding on Easy St

Filed under: — stan @ 3:07 pm

Today’s club ride was the “Crown City Trainer“, which is a nice little route that goes up and down and all around the hills just west of the Rose Bowl. It was a chilly morning, but the rain stopped, and we were all ready to ride.

Starting out from Story Park in Alhambra, we headed west, and then turned north into South Pasadena. We climbed up the hill to the water tower. Then, it was the steep downhill back to Monterey Road.

Next, we headed down into the arroyo and turned south into Highland Park. We looped around to go back north on Ave 66, which led us into Easy St.

We did one totally gratuitous hill on Romney St. This hill is completely optional, since there is a street that goes around it. But we all did it anyway. But it’s steeper and harder going the other direction.

Crossing the San Rafael Hills, we crossed the 210 freeway and headed up Patrician Way. This is a nice climb. It’s only steep at the beginning, and it’s broken up with some flat stretches along the way. We regrouped at the top, and then enjoyed the downhill side, complete with several hairpin turns. Going down that hill always reminds me of the race I rode in Pittsburgh back in 1977.

At the bottom, we rode north just a little bit on Linda Vista, before turning up Inverness to climb back up the hill again. This is a nice long climb, and it gets steeper near the top. We regrouped again at the top, but we didn’t want to stay there long, because it was kind of cold and windy there.

Coming back down the hill, we headed back into Pasadena to our snack stop at the Corner Bakery on Lake Ave. We found a table in the sun and enjoyed the warmth.

It didn’t really warm up like we all thought it would. But even though we were all cold, it was still a fun time.

40 miles.
cycling

11/25/2007

The Mountain Lion Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 9:06 pm

Route to Oven Fresh
Route back to Victory Park

Today’s ride was number 8 in Gene’s “Noodling” series. This is the one that we test-rode last summer. The high point of the ride is the steep hill on Pinecrest Drive in La Crescenta. There is a sign there warning us that mountain lions have been seen in the area. So ever since then, we’ve always referred to this route as the “Mountain Lion Ride”.

Since Gene is out of commission for a while, I agreed to lead the ride today. I went down to the park to meet the group, and we set out.

The first part of the ride was to climb up into Altadena, and then across before dropping back down to Woodbury Road to get to La Cañada. Then we started the real climbing.

We rode up and across La Cañada before going down all the way to Foothill Blvd. Then we went west for one block and rode back up the same hill on Briggs St. At the top of that hill was where we got on Pineglen Road and rode up Mountain Lion Hill. That was as much fun as the first time. I even said ‘uncle’ and shifted all the way down to my 39×22 for the steep part. I still reserve the 39×24 for the really steep hills.

After climbing Mountain Lion Hill, we headed down into Tujunga. We rode through there until we got to the Viking House. I’d put horns on my helmet today in honor of this house. So James took my picture in front of it. Then we continued on. We took Apperson all the way down to the end. Then we came back on Day St and McGroarty, which basically parallel it. We stopped for water at a park along the way, and we also stopped to take pictures of some peafowl and an abandoned couch. Finally, we came out on Tujunga Canyon Road and took the long downhill back into Montrose and our snack stop at Oven Fresh bakery.

After the snack stop, we headed straight back to Pasadena and the park.

42 miles
cycling

11/24/2007

Bad Day at West Covina

Filed under: — stan @ 9:41 pm

Today’s ride was a bit of a debacle. But it started out quite nicely.

It was a chilly November morning. It was clear, and promising to warm up nicely. I rode over to Arcadia to meet the club for a ride out to San Dimas.

Right away, I noticed that my back tire had a leak. So I had to change it right in the parking lot in Arcadia, before the ride even started.

The ride out was very pleasant. We passed a traveling carnival, and we were all amused by the “Kamikaze” ride. A bit later, we saw the Montrose Ride group go flying past us in the opposite direction. Then we got to San Dimas and started back. Then things sort of went bad.

At the corner of Barranca and Cortez in West Covina, Gene and Charlie ran into each other while making the left turn. There were no cars around, and nobody else was involved. The rest of us were about 50 yards ahead, so we didn’t see what happened. But we heard the yelling. We looked back and saw the two of them lying in the road. Gene was in a lot of pain. He said that he’d fallen hard on his hip. The same hip he’d broken once before. So we took up positions to wave traffic around, and I called for help.

Emergency calls on cell phones are a bit of a crapshoot, at least here in California. They are all sent to the California Highway Patrol, and their call center is almost always overloaded. But I had the Pasadena Police number in my phone. I’d made sure to program it into the phone after the last time I had to call for help after an accident. So I called the Pasadena Police, and they got me the number for the West Covina Fire Department. I called them, and within about a minute there was a police car and paramedics there. They checked Gene out and then took him off to the hospital. Before they left, he gave me his phone number so I could call home and tell his wife what had happened. Ben offered to stay at the scene with Gene’s bike until she could get there to pick it up. Ben also knew where the hospital was, so he could give her directions to it. And the rest of us headed off for home.

The remainder of the ride home was reminiscent of the Napoleon’s Retreat from Moscow. Except we didn’t have any horses to kill and eat.

48 miles
cycling

This evening, I spoke with Gene’s wife. She said that Gene has a broken femur. He was being transferred tonight from the hospital in West Covina to Verdugo Hills. (This is the hospital at the top of “Hospital Hill” that I’m always talking about here.) He will be having surgery to put a plate and screws in his leg, and he should be home in a few days.

11/18/2007

A loop around Griffith Park

Filed under: — stan @ 8:59 pm

Today’s ride was out to Glendale for a stop at Paradise Bakery, and then a loop through Griffith Park. It was chilly this morning, but forecast to get warm later. When I was pumping up my tires this morning, the tube ripped at the valve stem when I pulled the pump off. So I got a flat before I even left the house.

Heading out from Pasadena, we went up to La Cañada, which was good. Going uphill warmed us up, and the fog thinned out in that direction. Then we went down Hospital Hill and down the long hill into Glendale.

We took Mountain and Kenneth across Glendale to get to Paradise Bakery. I had my usual chocolate éclairs. I still think they have the best éclairs there.

As we were leaving Paradise, some fire trucks came racing by, so we took a one-block detour to see where they went. There wasn’t any obvious fire, but they were setting up a big ventilator fan in the door of a house, so maybe it was a gas leak or something like that.

After the stop, we headed into Griffith Park. The sign said that the fire danger was “LOW”. I had to take a picture, since I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen one of those signs say anything other than ‘HIGH’ or ‘VERY HIGH’ or ‘EXTREME’. Maybe it’s low now because everything flammable already burned up last May.

After passing the Los Angeles Zoo, we rode through the DWP Festival of Lights area. Of course, being daytime, there wasn’t much to see there.

On the way back across Eagle Rock and Highland Park, I saw an abandoned couch underneath a tree, and another one that looked like it had been overturned in a riot.

It never did get particularly warm today, though.

43 miles.
cycling

11/17/2007

Mulholland Drive

Filed under: — stan @ 8:27 pm

Today’s ride was down the length of Mulholland Drive from Cahuenga Pass to the hills above Encino, and then back to Pasadena by way of the San Fernando Valley. It was kind of chilly this morning, but promising to warm up nicely. We met at the Elks Lodge in Pasadena, where they already have bleachers up for the Rose Parade. From there, we rode over to Griffith Park to meet the rest of the group.

On the way, we passed T&A Grocery in Glendale. This makes the third “T&A” shop we’ve seen. There’s also T&A Seafood and T&A Hobby.

When we left Griffith Park, the route said to go up Barham and then on Cahuenga to get to the beginning of Mulholland Drive. I hate that section of Cahuenga, since there’s a lot of traffic, the road is narrow, and it’s rough. So I took a detour up Lake Hollywood and then down Wonder View. This cuts through a quiet residential area to bypass Cahuenga. The only downside to it is that taking the ’shortcut’ involves going up and over a steep hill. So nobody else joined me for this part of the excursion.

Once we got on Mulholland, we just rode west all the way until the road ends above Encino. Along the way, I pointed out some of the local sights, including the Chemosphere House, another house with some nice glass-block walls, and one with a tennis court on stilts hanging off the hillside. I missed it, but a couple of the guys saw Jay Leno out road-testing an antique steam car that he’s restoring.

At the end of Mulholland, the road just drops off a cliff down into the Valley. It was a very steep descent, and I didn’t think we were high enough for that much downhill. When we finally got to the bottom, we headed for home.

The trip home was pretty easy. It was flat all the way across the Valley. We stopped for a snack at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake. Then we rode straight across Glendale and back to Pasadena, going back up the Colorado hill. By that time, it had warmed up very nicely.

64 miles.
cycling

11/11/2007

Beating Newton

Filed under: — stan @ 6:01 pm

Today’s ride was up and over Turnbull Canyon, which is a nice hill between Whittier and Hacienda Heights. To ride up it is to challenge Newton and beat the force of gravity. And today, I also beat Newton, who is the star hill-climber of our group. This is one of the very few times I’ve beaten him to the top of a big hill. So it was an exciting day.

It was cool and threatening to rain today, so I thought the ride might get cut short. So I left a few minutes early and took the long way down to the park. Along the way, I saw the first abandoned couch of the day, on Orange Grove Blvd. Then I headed over to Victory Park to meet the group.

We had a small group today. I suppose the weather may have scared some away. We headed out to Arcadia and then directly south through El Monte, where I saw the second abandoned couch. Then we crossed into Whittier and headed up to Turnbull Canyon.

The road up Turnbull Canyon is a nice bit of the country in the middle of the city. It’s a steady, winding climb. Jon, Newton, and I led the way. I made sure to stay with Newton, even when he put on some bursts of speed to try to shake me. I knew that no matter how much it hurt, I had to stay close. If I lost contact, it would hurt twice as much to try and catch up later. It also helped that it’s been a while since we did this ride, and I’d forgotten just how long the climb is. Several times I thought we were almost at the top, only to go around a bend and see yet another switchback. But in the end, I managed to hang on to the top, which was a remarkable thing. I usually can’t hang with Newton on a tough climb. So maybe all this riding is actually making me stronger. Or maybe I’m just learning how to hurt and make more effort. Whatever. And being first to the top made up for the fact that I’d said ‘uncle’ and shifted on the way up. To commemorate the occasion, I got a souvenir picture at the top.

The ride down is nice. It reminds me of riding a steel roller coaster. For some reason, the road gives the feeling of flying, even though we stay firmly on the ground. It’s a fun downhill, and I don’t even find it terrifying for some reason.

At the bottom, we headed back by way of La Puente and Industry. Amid all the warehouses in Industry, we saw some people riding horses, which looked kind of strange. We also saw a Metrolink commuter train go by, which is a rare sight on a weekend.

Our snack stop was at Planet Cookies in Monrovia. The whole Old Town Monrovia area has already been decorated for the holidays. It seems a bit soon, but that’s not unusual these days.

By this time, it was getting colder again, and starting to look more like rain. So we headed straight home.

It was a fun, if slightly chilly ride.

53 miles.
cycling

11/10/2007

Around Bonelli Park

Filed under: — stan @ 7:45 pm

Today’s ride was out to San Dimas for one lap around Bonelli Park. We’ve done this ride before, and it’s always nice.

On the way out, I saw a nice abandoned couch in Baldwin Park, and then a little way down the road, I saw a pile of trash with yet another couch. And then Frank got a flat. He said we should just go on, but I had to stop to take a picture.

After the flat, we continued on. The ride out to San Dimas is pretty flat and not very exciting. But when we got there, we headed into the hills around Bonelli Park. We rode down past Brackett Field. There was a lot of activity on the drag strip at the Pomona fairgrounds. The Love Ride is tomorrow, and apparently they go out there at the end of the ride. So there were thousands of people on motorcycles there to warm up the pavement or something. It was the most motorcycles I’ve ever seen in one place that wasn’t having a tattoo convention.

We took Via Verde back through the park and over the hills. The plastic horse in front of the equestrian center was pretty funny. Then we climbed the hill out of the park and headed down the other side. I saw 40mph on one of the downhills, which is unusual for me. I’m terrified of high speeds now that I’m old. But it was fun.

Coming down into Covina, Tom got a flat. He changed the tube, but the spare had a too-short valve, so he had to borrow a tube from someone else. Finally, he got the tire fixed and we continued on.

The stop was at a restaurant in Baldwin Park. By that time it was getting late, so Jon and I skipped the stop and just headed for home.

It was a fun ride.

55 miles.
cycling

11/4/2007

Larchmont Village

Filed under: — stan @ 7:19 pm

Today’s bike ride was down to Larchmont Village for a bagel at Noah’s. Sure, there’s closer bagel places, but that’s not the point.

We rode out across Pasadena to Eagle Rock, and then down to the L.A. River and into Silver Lake. We rode around the reservoir and down the hill by the dog park. Then across Koreatown to Hancock Park. When we got to Larchmont, we saw Snow White’s wishing well.

The bagel at Noah’s was quite good, and they had fresh-squeezed orange juice, so I was happy.

The big movie billboards on the wall of Paramount Studios were pitching a movie called “Things We Lost in the Fire”, which seemed appropriate enough right now.

After the stop, we rode up Wilton to Franklin, and then east across the Shakespeare Bridge. Then back home through Eagle Rock to La Loma in Pasadena.

It was a very nice ride.

44 miles.
cycling

11/3/2007

Tuna and No Tuna

Filed under: — stan @ 7:58 pm

Today’s ride was a combination of the regular La Tuna Canyon ride, coupled with Gene’s “No Tuna for Me” return route. It was a bit chilly in the morning, but warmed up nicely once we got going.

We went out by the regular route up through La Cañada and Montrose. That was where we saw The Cone. Ever since going to the “Cone Migration” art show, I look at every cone to see if it’s part of the project. And today, it was. It was Cone number 6. The label said that it was released into the wild on September 8th. And now it’s sitting in front of the Montrose Village Newsstand at 2329 Honolulu Ave. I took some pictures to document the location and condition of the cone, and I logged the sighting on Lana Shuttleworth’s web site.

We regrouped at the top of La Tuna Canyon. By then, it was quite warm, so nobody was cold on the four-mile downhill into Sun Valley. Then we rode up past the dump and took the back streets back to Sunland Blvd.

We rode a short distance on Sunland Blvd before turning off to take Apperson, which is a nice, quiet street that parallels it. Along the way, I saw a truck parked in front of a house. It looked like another family was getting leopard-print carpet like ours.

Our snack stop was listed on the route slip as being at Oven Fresh in Montrose. But we like Berolina better, so we went there. It’s just down the block. I got a big fresh-squeezed orange juice, which is a nice treat.

From there, we headed back the way we went out. Back up Hospital Hill and then down past Descanso Gardens and back into Pasadena.

It was a fun ride.

45 miles.
cycling

10/28/2007

Down for the Count

Filed under: — stan @ 3:41 pm

Today’s ride was one that I’ve been thinking about for several years. And since this is the weekend before Halloween, the time was right for a trip out to Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City to visit the grave of Bela Lugosi.

(If you want, you can cue the song by Bauhaus.)

The route out there was basically the same as when we rode to visit Moe Howard’s grave, and also when we went to the bike race at West L.A. College.

It was a nice day for riding. We headed down Huntington Drive and Mission Road into downtown L.A. Then south almost to USC before we turned on Adams for the ride out to the west side. That was where we saw the somewhat odd-looking house. It was reminiscent of the Witch’s House in Beverly Hills, and also the Viking house we saw in Tujunga.

When we got to the cemetery, I got out the map I’d downloaded and we went looking. Bela Lugosi’s grave is pretty easy to find. He’s in The Grotto, and not far away, we found Bing Crosby, too. The next stop was Barney Oldfield. He’s best remembered as the first great race-car driver, but not many people know that he was a professional bicycle racer in the 1890s.

We went over by the big crucifixion statue to fine Eadie and Elena Del Rubio. Years ago, we saw the Del Rubio Triplets in the Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood. Today, Eadie and Elena are buried right near each other, with one more space between them, presumably for Milly when the time comes.

The last stop was to see Darby Crash from the seminal punk band, The Germs. Be sure to go read the story of the band. They had a lot of influence and really made their mark, even though they were only active for a short time.

Heading back, we went up to Venice Blvd. I got a flat. We stopped at a little French bakery in the Helms Bakery complex. The eclair there was pretty good, but we were kind of annoyed by the fact that they wouldn’t let us sit at the outside tables unless we ordered from the menu.

The rest of the ride was pretty straightforward. We took Venice all the way back into downtown, and then north on San Pedro and Alameda to get to North Main. Then back home the way we’d gone out in the morning.

It was a fairly nice ride, although the traffic on Venice was kind of heavy on the way back.

As always, I put the pictures in my Graves photo album. And yes, so far I’m quite happy with my new camera.

55 miles.
cycling

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