Stan’s Obligatory Blog


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.


Glendora on a perfect winter’s day

Filed under: — stan @ 9:30 pm

Since it rained last weekend, we did last week’s planned ride today. The route was out to Glendora and back, with a stop at a bakery there.

It was chilly when we met at the park, but promising to warm up nicely. For some reason, we had a very small group today. Only six of us. But that doesn’t stop us. The ride must go on.

The route went pretty much straight east out to Glendora, and the only funny thing I saw along the way was the house with the topiary teddy bears and animals in the front yard. That was worth a picture.

When we got to the bakery, I got an eclair. Silvio got some apricot pastry thing that looked for all the world like sunny-side-up eggs. While we were sitting there, we called Gene to see how he was doing, since he’s not able to lead the rides with his broken leg.

The route back was nice. We tried a little different version to avoid the part of Foothill Blvd across the San Gabriel River, since it’s got really bad pavement. We took a little detour up through Azusa to Sierra Madre Blvd, and then got on the bike path to cross the river.

And then we headed straight back across Monrovia and Arcadia to home. It was a nice ride.

40 miles.


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.

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