Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Toluca Lake, and Andy Gibb, too

Filed under: — stan @ 2:31 pm
Andy Gibb
Chicken Boy
Doug got a flat

Today’s bike ride was the regular Toluca Lake route. Straight out across Eagle Rock and Glendale to a snack stop at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake. Then home by way of Griffith Park and Atwater Village. It was a nice day for riding.

The ride out was pretty uneventful. We saw one abandoned couch in Eagle Rock, pushed up against the retaining wall for the 134 freeway. We stopped for snacks at Priscilla’s. Then we started back. The route back went past the Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn, so a few of us stopped off to do some celebrity grave sightseeing. The main attraction this time was Andy Gibb, who, sadly was not “Stayin’ Alive“. We also saw Jack Webb, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, Freddie Prinze, Walter Lantz, and Forrest Tucker. Pictures are in the Graves Gallery.

On the way back through Highland Park, we saw Chicken Boy. Then we crossed into South Pasadena, where Doug got a flat.

When we got back to the park, I had 46 miles, so I rode out to Sierra Madre and back, just to get to a nice, round 50. It was a fun ride.

50 miles.


Tour de Carpenters

Filed under: — stan @ 6:19 pm

Today’s ride was a Carpenters theme route. We rode to Downey to see the “Close to You” and “Only Just Begun” apartments, and also to see their old house, which was pictured on the cover of their 1973 album, “Now and Then“.

We rode straight south down through San Gabriel and then on Rosemead Blvd down to Downey. We stopped off at the oldest operating McDonald’s at the corner of Lakewood and Florence. Then we rode over to see the two apartment buildings that Karen and Richard Carpenter bought and named for their first two hit songs. Then we rode back across Downey to see their old house on a cul-de-sac right near the 5 freeway. There was an article about the house in the L.A. Times a couple of weeks ago, since the owner is trying to get a permit to tear it down and build a new McMansion on the lot. Apparently, there’s a lot of that going on in that area.

On the way home, we tried to stop off to see Dennis the Menace Park in Downey, but the entrance was not on Lakewood Blvd, and it was not obvious from peering through the fence how to get to the entrance. So that photo-op will have to wait for another day.

When we got back to Rosemead, we saw the ‘Welcome to Rosemead’ sign, with the slogan, “Where city pride is justified.” And, I guess, “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

By the time we got back to the park, it was a very nice day. So I rode a bit more, just to enjoy the sunshine.

46 miles.


Some nice hills

Filed under: — stan @ 12:40 pm

Today’s ride was the Crown City Trainer, which is another way of saying that it’s a ride that doesn’t really go anywhere in particular, but it does go up and down some hills.

It was cold, overcast, and misting a little this morning. But I still wanted to go riding. We met at the park down the street from my house, so that was easy. And the ride itself was very pleasant. I took them on a short detour to see the weird house I discovered. But aside from that, it was a pretty unremarkable ride.

At the end, it was getting colder, so we all just headed for home.

31 miles.


Ride to Claremont to see another hot-rod mailbox

Filed under: — stan @ 9:28 pm

Last Monday when we were on the way home from playing in the snow, I saw a mailbox with hot-rod flames on Padua Ave in Claremont. I have a small collection of photos of mailboxes like this. Now, I could have just stopped the car and taken a picture of it then, but I thought, “where’s the fun in that?” It didn’t seem very sporting. I thought it would be much more fun to get the bike club and ride out there from Pasadena to take the photo. So that’s what we did today.

The ride out was pretty straightforward, and it was a bit of a slog, since we had a headwind all the way. When we got to Claremont, we stopped for a snack at a little bakery by the Laemmle theater there. Then we took a winding tour across the campus of the Claremont Colleges, before heading up the hill on Mills Ave.

A short distance up the hill, we turned and rode over to Padua Ave, where I found the mailbox and photographed it. Then we turned around and started for home.

The ride back was everything that the ride out wasn’t. There was a nice tailwind, and a good bit of it was downhill, so we really enjoyed it. Even when Doug got a flat in Glendora, we still remained in good spirits. So overall, it was a very fun little ride.

58 miles.


Sunday ride to Toluca Lake

Filed under: — stan @ 9:51 pm

Today’s ride was the classic Toluca Lake ride.

We rode through San Marino and South Pasadena, and then across Highland Park. That was where we were chased for a couple of blocks by a tiny little chihuahua. Then up the L.A. River bike path to Griffith Park. Along the way, we saw the island in the river where we saw the elaborate homeless camp a couple of years ago. We also saw that the burned hillsides from last year’s fire were turning green again. When we got to the end of the bike path, we rode west past Forest Lawn and Warner Bros to get to Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake. We had bagels and such there today. Sadly, they ran out of orange juice. Their orange juice is fresh-squeezed and quite good.

From there, we took Riverside back into Burbank. That was where we passed the General Motors Training Center. As we were going by, I noticed a couple of fuel-cell cars parked behind the building, so I stopped to have a look and get a picture. Then we rode across Glendale with a short detour just to see the new bakery that we’re going to try next week.

Finally, we headed up Hospital Hill and then home through La Cañada. It was a very nice day, and a very nice ride.

45 miles.


Mid-valley trainer

Filed under: — stan @ 7:49 pm

Today’s ride was the “Mid-valley trainer“. This is another of those rambling rides that just goes all around to get to nowhere in particular. But that was just fine for today. I needed to get home a little early anyway.

A small group of us started off faster than the rest, and we just did the whole route without stopping. And when we got back to the park in Arcadia, it was still pretty early. I didn’t need to be home until noon, so Doug and I rode around some more just for fun. And it was a perfect day for riding. So overall, it was a pretty good experience.

48 miles.


A ride to Claremont

Filed under: — stan @ 7:21 pm

Today’s ride was out to Claremont for a bagel at 42nd St Bagels in the Claremont Village.

We had a good-sized group starting out, but it quickly split into a fast group and not-quite-as-fast group. We headed straight east, with a short jog north on the Santa Fe Dam bike path.

In Glendora, I noticed the historical marker for the Chance Building, so I had a quick look.

When we got to Claremont, we stopped at the bagel place and sat down. It was chilly sitting there, so we didn’t stay for too long. That was where we noticed the Verbal Building, so I figured that was worth a picture.

On the way back, we took Gladstone St most of the way. We had a headwind on the way back, but the 1% downgrade on Gladstone made up for it, and we still went very fast. Just before the street ended back at Santa Fe Dam was where I saw the odd bit of guerilla artwork on a street light box.

It was a pretty nice ride overall.

60 miles.


Glendale vistas again

Filed under: — stan @ 3:36 pm

Today’s ride was the “Glendale Vistas” route. We do a variation on this ride on Sundays some times. The most recent time was at the end of December, when I broke my cassette going up one of the hills. I’ve been sick this week, so that, along with various other unpleasantness at home meant that I was not feeling particularly strong today. So I didn’t break my bike this time.

We are having a quick break between storms today, so it was actually a perfect day for riding. A bit chilly at first, but it warmed up nicely. Mt Wilson had a dusting of snow on top, which doesn’t happen all that often.

We rode up into La Cañada and then over Chevy Chase and down into Glendale. This is normally a fun descent, but the road was still wet from the rain last night. So we all went pretty slow.

On the ride across Glendale, I saw the Eat Well Coffee Shop. I thought that this was a nice, straightforward name for a restaurant. Sort of like Hammered Liquor.

Continuing on, we turned and started up the hills north of downtown Glendale. There were some nice views along the way before we came out at the top. That was where they had a sign at the end of the street warning us about mountain lions.

After all the hills, we rode down into Montrose and stopped at Berolina bakery. From there, we just headed home by the usual route over Hospital Hill and back to Pasadena.

It was a fun little ride, even though we didn’t really go anywhere or see anything.

40 miles.


Larchmont and Doo Dah

Filed under: — stan @ 8:34 pm

Today’s bike ride was our Larchmont Village route. The idea was to see the headless Statue of Liberty that I’d heard Paramount had near their front gate on Melrose Ave. This was supposed to be promoting their new movie, “Cloverfield“.

It was chilly when we set out. We rode down through Eagle Rock and across the L.A. River. Then on down Silver Lake Blvd. There was no sign of the work to drain the reservoir that we’ve been hearing about lately.

When we got to Larchmont, we stopped at Noah’s Bagels. There was a little promotion for “Cloverfield” written in chalk on the sidewalk there. I guess that’s what you get when a mega-corporation attempts viral marketing. I thought it was funny that there was some person who was paid to go around writing stuff on the sidewalks in chalk.

Leaving Larchmont, we rode down Melrose past Paramount. But there was no sign of Lady Liberty. So either they’d taken it down, or it was in some place that was less than obvious.

When we got back to Pasadena, I remembered that today was the Doo Dah Parade. So several of us stopped off to have a look. We saw lots of people handing out campaign materials for Dennis Kucinich. It would be interesting to study why he so appeals to people with the anarchist spirit of the Doo Dah Parade. We also saw the Angel City Derby Girls and the Midnight Ridazz. I developed an immediate crush on all the Derby Girls. They’re just so darn cute. And one of the Midnite Ridazz was also my favorite. I love heavily tattooed girls with nose rings. As a final treat, we saw that the Grand Marshal for the Parade was Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping.

Pictures of the parade are here:

38 miles


A harrowing trip to The Bagelry

Filed under: — stan @ 8:49 pm

Today’s ride was out to San Dimas to The Bagelry. It turned out to be a harrowing experience.

We met at Victory Park in Pasadena. While we were waiting to leave, a woman drove into the parking lot and told us that a bike rider had been hit by a car around the corner. So several people rode over to see what happened. It turned out to be YK (I have no idea he spells his name, but that’s what we know him as.) who had been on his way up to meet us. So a bunch of us waited around to see that the paramedics took him off to the hospital and to take care of his bike. They said that they didn’t think he had broken anything too badly, but it was still a very unsettling experience.

In the meantime, the rest of the group had headed off on the ride. So the rest of us started out with about half an intention to catch them. But then Ben got a flat. I stayed back to help him fix it while the rest went on. I was so unsettled that I completely forgot to take a picture for the Flat Tire Gallery.

When we got Ben’s bike back on the road, we were quite far behind. He got in behind me and we made a serious attempt to catch up. We averaged a bit over 20mph all the way out to San Dimas, where we caught up with Sandy and Silvio. The rest of the riders were already there. But we were only about a minute or so behind them by then, so if we’d had another five miles or so, we would have caught them. Along the way was where I saw the very worn penny embedded in the pavement.

While we were sitting there, I noticed that Sandy had a fork in his backpack. I thought this was pretty funny, since nobody carries a spare fork around normally. So I took a picture of it.

We all set out together for the trip home. Then we went down Gladstone St, which is the street with the 1% downhill grade, so we always end up going very fast. This split the group in two. At the end, we rode through the Santa Fe Dam Nature Center and back up the bike path to Duarte. From there, we just took the straight route home. Then we caught up with the other part of our group. They had fallen behind on Gladstone, but then they took a shorter route, so they’d ended up ahead of us. Then we took the quiet residential route back through Arcadia and back to the park.

Aside from the unpleasantness at the start, it actually turned out to be a fairly nice ride.

46 miles.

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