Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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I still like riding up hills…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:07 pm

Today’s ride was a hilly one. Just the way I like it. In my racing days, I liked riding up hills because it gave me a chance to spank the other riders and show them who’s boss. In those days, it was a Point of Honor to be the first to the top of every hill. Now, I’m no longer the fastest hill climber, but I still like riding up hills anyway. So whenever there’s a hilly ride, I go on it.

Today’s ride was just a big loop through La Cañda and Glendale with some big hills both coming and going. We met at the park in Alhambra.

We started out going north, passing the Rose Bowl and JPL before the first hill, up to Verdugo Blvd. Then we went down into Montrose and Glendale. At the bottom of that hill, we took a left and headed up Mountain Ave. This is a nice, steep climb. The top part has been closed to cars for almost a year, but the sign today said it was open again. Still, it was a nice ride, since there isn’t much traffic up there.

Coming down the other side, we took some side streets to get back to Chevy Chase at the top of the hill between La Cañda and Glendale. Then we went up and over again to come down off the hill back in Pasadena and the Rose Bowl. From there, we went south and then turned up Glenoaks, which was another nice climb up, and then we turned and came down San Rafael, passing the old Seismology Lab that Charles Richter set up back in the 1930s.

At the bottom of the hill, we went south a bit and came back into South Pasadena. We stopped for a snack at Busters, right next to the train station. Then it was time for the ride home. We went back up past the Rose Bowl and then took Windsor Road up to Altadena Drive. Then we went across Altadena and down back to Victory Park and we were done.

47 miles


Hollywood Hills and The T. Marvin Hatley Estate

Filed under: — stan @ 4:16 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today I got to play ride leader for the Sunday bike ride. I made up a route to go to the Hollywood Hills and pass by the former T. Marvin Hatley Estate. T. Marvin Hatley was a composer, and he did the music for a lot of movies from about 1930 to about 1950, and he wrote the Laurel and Hardy theme song. His house had a very large sign painted on the front wall that said, “The T. Marvin Hatley Estate”.

We started out taking the direct route west on Orange Grove, Colorado, and Yosemite across Eagle Rock. Then we turned and went down Eagle Rock Blvd. That was where we saw the church sign asking if we wanted to spend eternity “smoking or non-smoking”.

Turning off on Fletcher, we crossed the L.A. River into Los Feliz. A quick bit on Rowena and St. George brought us to Franklin Ave and the Shakespeare Bridge.

Continuing west on Franklin, we passed the über-creepy Scientology Celebrity Center and moved on into the center of Hollywood. There, we took a right on Cahuenga and headed up into the pass. The road was right next to the Hollywood Freeway, and it was loud, but there was very little traffic on the road with us, so it was all right.

At the top of the pass, we turned off and crossed the bridge to get to Mulholland Drive. From there, there are two ways to climb the hill. Mulholland is a long and gradual climb, and Woodrow Wilson is two steep sections with a flat bit in between. The general consenus is that Mulholland is the easier way to go. So we took a right there and headed up Woodrow Wilson.

When we got to the top of the hill, we stopped to catch our breath, and I had a look to see if I could remember which house was the former T. Marvin Hatley Estate. Since Mr. Hatley died in 1986, I figured that the new owners of the house would have probably removed the painted sign on the wall. In the end, I think I identified the house, but being that this was the first time I’d been up there in 15 years, my memory was a bit fuzzy. And being cross-eyed and seeing stars from the hill climb probably didn’t help.

A left turn on Mulholland took us back down to Cahuenga Pass. Along the way, we passed the Hollywood Bowl overlook, and we also got to dimly see the Hollywood sign through the fog. Then we crossed the bridge over the freeway. That was where I saw the signal-box graffiti about “So many things, too little poetry”.

Next, we headed up Wonder View toward Lake Hollywood. This is another stiff climb, but it’s worth it to avoid having to ride any more on Cahuenga. It’s quiet, and there is very little traffic. Also, at the top of the hill we got to see the bright-orange house. You don’t see one of those every day.

Heading down into Burbank, we passed Warner Bros and the somewhat shabby-looking Starlet Apartments. Then we stopped at Priscilla’s for a bagel and orange juice. They have very good fresh-squeezed orange juice there. And it’s definitely worth the extra $0.25 to get the large size. If they offered a “Super Size” I’d even get that.

After our snack stop, we came home by the standard route across Glenoaks and up Verdugo to La Cañada. Then down Descanso and Chevy Chase and back into Pasadena on Woodbury Road. Finally, we went down New York Drive and came back to the park.

49 miles.


T. Marvin Hatley, or Another Mystery of the Ages Falls

Filed under: — stan @ 12:42 pm

Since we went on the Tour of Laurel and Hardy last weekend, I was reading a bit about them today, and I ran across this:

“Trivia: The composer of the famous Laurel and Hardy theme song was T. Marvin Hatley.”

Years ago, I used to ride a lot in the Hollywood Hills. I would go down Mulholland Drive to Cahuenga Pass and then make a loop by going up Woodrow Wilson Drive. This was a steep hill, and by the time I got to the top, I was usually seeing stars. And at the top, there was a house with a wall in front with large letters spelling out “The T. Marvin Hatley Estate”. For fifteen years, I’ve wondered who T. Marvin Hatley was, and now I know. Here is his biography from

Of course this means another bike ride. I need to go back there and do the climb up Woodrow Wilson to see his house again, even though it probably doesn’t have the letters on the wall any more.


Laurel and Hardy and some T&A

Filed under: — stan @ 8:43 pm

Route map and photo locations

Since the weather forecast for Sunday involves rain, I thought that a ride today might be just the thing. Gene and Philippe were game, so we set out from the park at 8:30.

The plan was to do the grand tour of Laurel and Hardy, visiting both their grave sites and the staircase where they filmed “The Music Box“.

We started out going west through Eagle Rock and Glendale. When we got to Burbank, we took some small streets behind IKEA and then got on Burbank Blvd. Crossing the freeway, we turned off onto Victory Blvd. That was where we saw our first T&A. It was T&A Hobby Lobby. We decided that this was in the same class as S&M Liquor, and I may have to start a gallery of funny business names.

Continuing on, we got to Valhalla Memorial Park. I got out my portable GPS unit. I’d written down the coordinates of Ollie’s grave, but it turned out that I’d written them down in decimal degrees, and the GPS unit was displaying degrees, minutes, and seconds. Not having a calculator or the GPS unit manual handy, we were stuck. So I just looked for the low wall and clump of trees I’d seen in the Google Maps satellite view. Fortunately, I’m pretty good at seat-of-the-pants orienteering, and a peek over the wall brought us Ollie’s plaque, placed by his grave by the Sons of the Desert. We paid our respects to Ollie, reflecting on seeing his movies when we were kids, and also about how we was not very old when he died.

When we left, we noticed a set of four adjacent markers for four members of the Stiff family. Talk about having an unfortunate name.

Heading south through North Hollywood and Burbank, we passed the Warner Bros ‘ranch’ where they have their big outdoor sets. Then we went past the main Warner Bros studio and turned on Forest Lawn Dr.

At the main entrance to Forest Lawn, we turned and went up the hill. Just above the church we came to the terraced area where Stanley is buried. We had to walk our bikes up two sets of stairs to find him. We paid our respects to Stan, remarking on how they were among the pioneers of film comedy.

Leaving Forest Lawn, we went up the back side of Mt Hollywood. We rode up the long hill and then down the front side, passing through the Griffith Park tunnel and coming out by the Greek Theater. Continuing down the hill, we came into Silver Lake and Sunset Blvd.

We rode down Sunset, but somehow we missed the turnoff for Vendome St. Before we knew it, we were at Alvarado and we realized that we’d gone too far. Since it was getting late, we didn’t have time to go back, so seeing the stairs will have to wait for another time.

We took Glendale Blvd north to Fletcher, and then took Fletcher to Eagle Rock Blvd. That was where we saw the last bit of T&A. This time it was T&A Seafood.

Going north, we went around Occidental College and then took Meridian St across Eagle Rock. At the end, we took Ave 64 down to York and took a left to go over the bridge to South Pasadena. Then we took Monterey Road across San Marino to Sierra Madre Blvd. Then it was straight north on Sierra Madre back to the park.

52 miles


Matt’s flats

Filed under: — stan @ 4:50 pm

Today’s ride was a tourist trip to see a piece of Americana. We rode down to Downey to see the last surviving original McDonald’s restaurant. It is the oldest operating McDonald’s, and it was part of the original chain started by the McDonald brothers before they met Ray Kroc and history was made.

The ride down was pretty straightforward. We went south through San Marino and San Gabriel to Whittier Narrows. From there we got on Rosemead Blvd and took that south all the way to Downey. Along the way, it turned into Lakewood Blvd, and before we knew it, we were there.

The McDonald’s is at the corner of Lakewood and Firestone, at 10207 Lakewood Blvd. The sign out front proclaims, “sold over 500 million”. Heh.

We had a look around the little museum there. We saw the “Order your EXTRA French Fries now!” ad. I guess that was the beginning of “Super Size Me“. We also saw an early picture of Ronald McDonald as portrayed by Willard Scott, who later became famous on The Today Show.

The general consensus was that the history was interesting, but we didn’t want to actually eat at McDonald’s, so we headed back up Lakewood Blvd. That was where Matt got a flat. We stopped on the side of the road, and he put in his spare tube. He pumped up the tire, but when we got on to start riding, it had gone flat again. So we patched the first tube and he put it back in. Then he pumped up the tire and we were on our way.

We rode a bit until we saw a Starbuck’s. We stopped for coffees, juices, and muffins. Then, when we were ready to leave, Matt’s tire was flat again. This time he put in another rider’s spare tube, and we were soon on our way.

Continuing north into Pico Rivera, Matt got one more flat. We stopped on the side of the road and he put in yet another spare tube. Several of the punctures had been on the inside of the tire, which made the rim tape suspect. He cut up an emergency tire boot and put pieces of it over the spoke holes. Then we were on our way again. Matt’s four flat tires were an unprecedented occurrance, so I’ve made a special photo gallery for them in the Flat Tire Gallery.

We took a small detour in Pico Rivera to visit Dork St. Then we got on the San Gabriel River bike path and rode over Whittier Narrows Dam.

Above the dam, we took the cutoff bike path over to Durfee Ave and took that back up into South San Gabriel. Then we took Walnut Grove Ave north up to Las Tunas. Going east a bit, we got on Muscatel Ave and took that until it ended at Duarte Road. A left turn took us into San Marino. We rode a bit up some small streets to get to Huntington Drive. Then we went west to Santa Anita Ave and took that north back into Pasadena, where it became Altadena Drive.

At this point, Jason and I headed east on Sierra Madre and then down to Orange Grove and out to Arcadia. We went to Highland Oaks and then came back by way of Sierra Madre Blvd.

47 miles.


Whittier Narrows

Filed under: — stan @ 12:44 pm

Today’s ride was down to Whittier Narrows and back. This was a good choice for today, since a lot of our regular routes go into areas that have a lot of smoke from the brush fires in the mountains this week.

We started off heading east through Arcadia and Monrovia. We took the upland route through Monrovia to get in a little hill. That was where Doug broke his chain. I’ve been cycling seriously since 1973, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a chain break. I’ve heard of it before, but this is the first time I’ve seen it happen. It’s not a flat tire, but it was unusual enough that I took a picture to put in the Flat Tire Gallery

After the chain repair, we continued on, passing through Duarte and getting on the San Gabriel River bike path. We took the path all the way over Santa Fe Dam and down the river. There were two places where the path was being rebuilt. The pavement was gone, and we had just dirt and loose sand to ride on. At the second spot, there were some trenches for the new construction, so we had no choice but to hoist the bikes up and carry them through.

When we got down to Whittier Narrows Dam, we took the cross path to get to Durfee Ave. That was where Gene got a flat. So we stopped at the corner of Rosemead and Durfee and he fixed his tire. For some reason, it smelled like a sewage treatment plant there. I’ve still got a stuffy nose from being sick this week, but it was still pretty rank. After putting in a spare tube, Gene started pumping up the tire. Then the valve stem snapped off. In 30+ years of cycling, I’ve seen this happen several times. So he had to put in his second spare tube. Since this was caused by something other than the initial puncture, I figured it constituted a ’second flat’, so I took another picture.

After the tire repair, we took the Rio Hondo bike path back up to Lower Azusa Road. We got off the bike path there and went west a bit to El Monte Ave. This is the street with the biggest bike lane ever. We rode this all the way up to Duarte Road. Then we took a left and a right, ending up on Huntington Drive.

Huntington Drive took us back through San Marino. At Old Mill Road we took a right, taking that and El Molino Ave back up into Pasadena. Then we stopped for a snack at the Corner Bakery on Lake Ave.

The last part of the ride was across the Caltech campus and then home by way of San Pasqual and Altadena Drive.

49 miles.



Mt Washington and Self-Realization

Filed under: — stan @ 8:36 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was to Mt Washington in Los Angeles. This is a little hill neighborhood just northeast of Downtown.

We started out heading up the hill into Altadena. Then we took Woodbury Road across to La Cañada and went up Chevy Chase and Descanso. Then it was down Hospital Hill to Montrose and then the long downhill on Verdugo Blvd.

Verdugo took us all the way down into Glassell Park and Eagle Rock Blvd. We took a right there and took Eagle Rock down the Cypress Park. There wasn’t a whole lot of interesting stuff to take pictures of along the way. And even where there was something, I was too slow in getting the camera out. So I missed a picture of the sign advertising the “Happy Dolling Doll Show”, among others.

When we got down almost to the L.A. River, we got on Figueroa St, which was newly repaved. That was nice. We took that north a bit and then turned up Mt Washington. The street got very narrow and winding, which was a nice change of pace from the big streets we’d been riding on. We climbed all the way up the hill, and at the top, we stopped by the gates of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship. We paused to meditate briefly before heading down the other side of the hill.

At the bottom of the hill, we headed north some more, back into South Pasadena. There we stopped at a little cafe and bakery. They had a sign advertising “Pastries Fresh Daily”, but then I noticed that they had a jar of Twinkies next to the biscotti. I asked them about this, and they said that they usually also had Ding Dongs, adding that they were actually pretty popular. Hmm. I had a bagel.

Leaving the cafe, we headed east across San Marino. Newton had ridden in from Covina, so we decided to follow him part way back. We took Colorado across Arcadia, and then went one block south to Santa Clara St, which is a nice quiet street that goes across Arcadia and Monrovia. That was where we saw the hot rod parked on the side of the road. We all agreed that it looked like it would probably be a fun car, but that you’d need to wear earplugs while driving it.

When we got to Duarte and the Nun Crossing sign it was time to turn around. Philippe and I turned around and retraced our route back to Pasadena, pausing only briefly to snap a picture of the AMME sign. Now that we’ve seen it, it seems obvious that there would be a group such as the “Worldwide Association of Mexicans Abroad”, but who knew it would be in a strip mall in Monrovia?.

The last bit of the ride was back through Sierra Madre. Then I was home.

52 miles.


Something I have in common with Jerry Lewis

Filed under: — stan @ 4:10 pm

I noticed this in my web server logs. I was linked from a French cycling site. They have a link to a picture of me sitting on the side of the road fixing a flat tire. Not knowing French, I used The Fish:

(As promised the week spent, we speak today about the tire). One can affirm without fear to be mistaken that the tire is an essential part of the bicycle. With proof this image: the tire is abolished by a puncture, therefore the bicycle is sagging unusable on the ground. Stan, Cathy, and Lucinda

A bit clumsy, but it’s understandable. The tire is an essential part of the bicycle. Dunno how they found that particular picture, but it’s still amusing.

Update: I asked a woman in my office who reads French, and this is her translation:

“(as promised last week, today we’ll talk about the tire)
One can say that the tire is a key piece for the bike. This picture proves it: a puncture puts the tire out of order, so the bike is lying on the ground, useless.”


Riding over Mt. Hollywood

Filed under: — stan @ 8:47 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was the ‘Greek Theater’ route through Griffith Park, but today we did it in the opposite way. We rode through the park from north to south so as to do the uphill part on the rough part of the road.

We started out going through Eagle Rock and Highland Park. On Figueroa St. we saw what may have been a bit of a student film. There was a guy with a camera filming a car pulling away from the curb. I snapped a picture of him.

When we got to the railroad crossing, there was a train coming. As the train came across the road, it blew its horn. I have a duck call that’s louder than that train horn. I’ve read that the train horns are toned down due to complaints from people in South Pasadena, but I don’t know how the horn is supposed to warn people that a train is coming if it’s not loud enough to hear.

When we got down by the L.A. River we had to take a short detour, but we made it back onto the proper bridge to cross the river and get on Riverside Drive. And that was where I noticed that my tire was going flat. I was hoping it would hold out long enough to make it to the park, but that didn’t happen. I had to stop and fix it, and this makes my fourth appearance in the Flat Tire Gallery.

After the tire repair, we continued on, entering Griffith Park. We rode through the park and up Crystal Springs Road, past the golf course. Then we turned and went up the road to Mt. Hollywood. This road through the park has been closed to cars for years, and it’s not been maintained well. It’s got lots of holes and bumps and is generally not that good to ride on. But there are no cars. So it is Good. We headed up the hill. It’s actually a pretty nice climb. You’d never guess that you’re in the middle of the Los Angeles megalopolis when you’re riding up that road.

After we crested the hill, we started down the Hollywood side of the hill. There was a little sign on the side of the road warning us of filming ahead, and of possible delays. When we got there, we saw the camera trucks and dressing room trucks, but I guess they weren’t working on Sunday morning. We also saw a sign that I guess was a prop for the movie. It said something about a ferry, and we know that there aren’t any ferries anywhere near Griffith Park.

Coming down the hill, we went through the short tunnel, and then down the hill past the Greek Theater. Then we took Hillhurst down to Sunset, turning left and taking Sunset all the way into Downtown. That was where we passed the art-project van parked on the side of the road.

When we got downtown, we stopped for a snack at Philippe’s, which is just north of Downtown, on the edge of Chinatown.

After the snack stop, we continued north on Main Street, passing by the corn field in the old rail yard. Then we took a short detour to see the winery. Most people are surprised to learn that there is a winery in the industrial district right outside downtown Los Angeles.

Crossing the river again, we continued on Main Street, passing S&M Liquor. Of course this was a photo opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. After that, we got on Mission Road, which later merged into Huntington Drive. We took Huntington all the way back to San Marino. Then we turned left on Sierra Madre Blvd to get back to Pasadena.

44 miles


Glendora and back

Filed under: — stan @ 8:12 pm

Today’s ride was a new route out to Glendora and back, with a stop for a bagel in Arcadia. I took a few pictures on the ride, but for some odd reason, they didn’t come out. The camera did something weird, and the pictures all looked like pointillist paintings. When I discovered this, I took a few test shots around the house, and they all came out fine. I don’t know what happened.

Anway, the ride was very pleasant. We went east through Arcadia by a new route, which was nice. Then we went south a bit and then back up to the Santa Fe Dam bike path and on to Sierra Madre Ave in Glendora.

When we turned south in Glendora, we stopped for a minute to regroup. I noticed a real estate sign, so I picked up a flyer. It was a nice house, but nothing spectacular, but they were asking $1.1 million for it. I’m so glad we bought our house back in ‘95. If we were trying to buy a house now… Yikes.

From Glendora, we went south to Covina and then back through West Covina and Baldwin Park. It was a basically flat route, and we went pretty fast. When we got to the snack stop at Goldstein’s Bagels in Arcadia, we were all marveling that our average speed was somthing like 17.3 mph, which is fast for our group. Normal is about 16, which includes stopping for red lights and such. When we were moving, we were going pretty fast. And it was fun.

The last part of the ride was back up Orange Grove and Sierra Madre Blvd back to the park. The ride came in at 40 miles even, and I decided that that was enough for today.

40 miles.

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