Stan’s Obligatory Blog


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.


Ride to Whittier

Filed under: — stan @ 5:22 pm

Today’s ride was Ruby’s in Whittier route.

I’d never been on this ride before. By the time I got to the start at Live Oak Park in Temple City, it was already starting to get warm. I took off my bubble wrap. And I messaged my friend Susan in Detroit about it, since she’d sent me a message about being snowed in there.

The ride down was nice. I good bit of it was on the bike path along the San Gabriel river. It was a pleasant ride. The only problem was when I was riding with Chris, and we got to talking, and we missed a turn. We got halfway up the hill on Colima before we realized that we’d missed the turn. So we went back. Chris thought she had a map in her bag, but it turned out she’d given it to Steve. So she asked for directions. The guy she asked didn’t know where the street we were looking for was, but he knew where Ruby’s was, and we were very close. So we just found our way over there.

Everyone was already there by the time we got there. They were all settling down for lunch, but four of us had to get back early, so we started back immediately. The route back was a bit different from the route out, but it was all right.

In Pico Rivera, I got a flat. Fortunately, there was a nice shady spot to sit in to fix it. Then, when we started out, we only got about 50 feet before Garett got a flat. This marks his first appearance in the Flat Tire Gallery, and only his second flat in the year he’s had his bike.

The rest of the ride back was very pleasant. It was a perfect spring day for riding.

55 miles.


Fargo Street 2008

Filed under: — stan @ 9:46 pm

Sunday’s bike ride was down into Echo Park in Los Angeles to see and possibly attempt the Fargo Street Hill Climb. This is an annual event where people attempt to ride up the steepest street in Los Angeles. It’s about 33%, which is terrifying by bicycle standards. Last fall, after I beat Newton up Turnbull Canyon I was thinking I would make another attempt on Fargo Street this spring. But with the unpleasantness at home and such, I pretty much gave up on that. But it was still fun to go watch.

The day was chilly, and rather windy. It felt like we were fighting a headwind all the way there. That made the ride down there a bit of a trial. But when we got there, we got to see the spectacle of people trying to climb that hill. The first picture is one I took of a guy trying the hill. The second picture is the same as the first, but rotated so that it is actually properly oriented. Look at the wall of the garage in the background. That gives an idea of just how steep this hill is.

A couple of guys in our group tried, but neither one made it. I think the farthest the made was about 3/4 of the way up, which is about how far I got when I tried it in 2005. And you can see how that turned out for me in the bike photo album. I was curious about two things: I thought that letting some air out of the tires to make them soft would help with traction on the hill. Gaurav tried this, and he said that it did help, but he still just wasn’t able to make the top. The second was my idea of riding part-way up and then stopping to do a trackstand to rest for a bit. I was curious to see if I could do a trackstand on a hill that steep. I rode one block over to Baxter Street and tried it. But the hill was just too steep, and I couldn’t deal with it. So that was that for any thoughts I had of trying it this year. Maybe next year, when things are better. I’ll practice on Nolden Street in Eagle Rock.

After watching for a while, we headed home. Not surprisingly, it felt like we had a headwind going back, too. Still, it was a fun ride.

39 miles.


Ride to Paradise

Filed under: — stan @ 7:16 pm

Route slip

Today’s ride was the “Kenneth Village” route through Glendale, with a stop a Paradise Bakery. It was a fairly nice day, but a bit chilly by SoCal standards.

We started off headed up to La Cañada. On the way, Doug got a flat. This marks Doug’s third consecutive appearance in the Flat Tire Gallery.

After fixing the flat, we continued on up the hill, and then down Hospital Hill, and the long downhill into Glendale. Then we took Mountain and Kenneth across Glendale to Paradise. I had my usual two chocolate éclairs. They have the best éclairs there.

Next, we rode over into Griffith Park, which was where we saw the woman on roller skis. That’s something you just don’t see every day here. Then through the park and past the Mulholland Fountain, left on Fletcher, and home by way of Eagle Rock and South Pasadena.

By the time we got back, the sun had finally started warming things up. But even with the chill, it was a fun ride.

46 miles.


The Art Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 11:27 pm

Tonight is Art Night in Pasadena. And there was a group doing a bike ride around to visit all the museums. So, in the interest of getting out of the house and having some fun, I put the light on my bike and headed over there.

The group met in the courtyard at One Colorado. It was a pretty big group. We started out riding to the Norton Simon Museum, which I’d never been to before. We had about 30 minutes there before going on to the Pasadena History Museum. The exhibit there was about the history of the purse. A bit odd, but very entertaining. Then, on to the Armory Center for the Arts. The collection there was more to my liking, with lots of very strange pieces, and some that were outright disturbing.

There was a short interlude at the main Pasadena Public Library. They had coffee and snacks there. A very nice woman I’d met on the ride bought me a chocolate-chip cookie there, which was very sweet. Both the woman and the cookie, that is.

Next and last was a double at the Pasadena Museum of California Art and the Pacific Asia Museum. The PMCA was very nice, and had a lot of interesting pieces. Also, I got a nice picture of Pasadena City Hall off the roof there. And that was the rest of our evening. By the time we all trooped over to the Asia Museum, it was 10:00 and they were shutting the doors.

Still, it was a very fun time.



Filed under: — stan @ 3:40 pm

Route slip

The Sunday ride for this week was my route up to the Hollywood sign, coming back by way of Toluca Lake and La Cañada. The time change had some of us a little sleepy starting out, but it turned into a perfect spring day.

We rode out through Eagle Rock and down to the L.A. river, crossing over into Silver Lake. Then we went across the Shakespeare Bridge and down Franklin Ave. At Beachwood, we turned right up the hill and headed for the sign. Just after the Hollywoodland gate, we turned left, and that was where the real climbing began. The road up the hill there is very steep and rough. At the top, we went right on Mulholland to get to the dead end right below the sign. There are large signs telling us that hiking up to the sign is prohibited. But there is an obviously well-worn trail that begins right behind those signs. We stopped to take in the view and take some pictures. Then we headed back down Mulholland, down to the Lake Hollywood reservoir. From there, there was another steep climb up and over the hill to get to Barham Blvd. Then down into Burbank, and our snack stop at Priscilla’s.

Coming home, we rode straight across Glendale and then up Verdugo to Hospital Hill. Then down the other side through La Cañada and back into Pasadena. Finally, we took Mendocino back across Altadena and then back to the park. The actual route was about 44 miles, and I rode out to Sierra Madre and back again, just to enjoy the sunshine some more.

50 miles.


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.

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