Stan’s Obligatory Blog


A very pleasant ride to nowhere

Filed under: — stan @ 9:15 pm

Today’s ride was one of those ‘noodling around not really going anywhere in particular’ rides. But it was a very nice day, so it was a fun time.

We started out from Victory Park and headed west. We rode out to near the Rose Bowl and then went north a bit to Oak Grove, near JPL. We took a left on Berkshire and rode up to Chevy Chase and Descanso. At the top of the hill, we turned left and headed down Hospital Hill.

At the bottom of the hill, we took a little detour to get around the Montrose street market. Then we took Honolulu for a bit before turning down the hill and then taking a detour on some streets that went up and down the hills there in Glendale. Some of the hills were quite steep. I almost said ‘uncle’ and shifted, but I was able to avoid the temptation.

We went up and down a couple of pretty big and steep hills before coming out on Cañada Blvd by the park in Glendale. Then we turned right and headed downhill a bit to Mountain Ave. We turned right there and headed across Glendale.

We took Kenneth for a bit and then went left on Sonora to get down to Glenoaks. Our snack stop was at Paradise Bakery. They have the best chocolate eclairs there. So I got two and snapped a picture of them. They were that good.

After the stop, we headed back across Glendale on Glenoaks. We took it all the way to where it went up and over a short but steep hill to get to Chevy Chase. Then we took a left and rode up the long climb back up to La Cañada. At the top, we took a right and ended up on Inverness for a bit before going left and coming out at the bottom on Highland. That took us into Linda Vista to pass by the Rose Bowl again.

At that point, the route was to go back to the park by way of Orange Grove, but Tommy, Doug, and I decided to do a little more. We took a right and rode up the hill above the Rose Bowl and then down San Rafael, passing by the Old Seismology Lab there. Then we rode down into the arroyo and into South Pasadena. Then we took Monterey Road across and through San Marino, and then got on Huntington. We took that all the way out to 1st Ave in Arcadia, and then up Highland Oaks to Sierra Madre Blvd. Then we took Sierra Madre back home. Like I said, it was a nice day, so it was fun ride.

51 miles.


Random sightseeing, and the tiniest house

Filed under: — stan @ 8:18 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was a sightseeing trip to Hollywood and Silver Lake. Part of the route was the regular Foothill Cycle Saturday ride, but then Gene and I took a side trip to do some sightseeing.

We started out at Victory Park and rode over to the Pasadena Elks Club Lodge, where we met the rest of the club group. Then we headed west on Colorado through Eagle Rock. That was where I saw the gym advertising kickboxing for kids. For some reason, I found this to be a funny mental image, so I stopped for a picture.

We rode into Glendale on Wilson, and then took Jackson up to Glenoaks. Then we took Glenoaks all the way across Glendale. A left on Sonora brought us down to Riverside in Burbank, just across from the Bette Davis Picnic Area. Then we crossed the river and the freeway and took a right on Zoo Drive.

We rode past Travel Town and up the hill in Griffith Park. A right turn at the closed gate brought us onto the road up the back side of Mt. Hollywood. This is a nice long climb, and it’s especially pleasant because the road is closed to cars. So it’s just a nice place to ride.

When we got to the intersection by the tunnel, Gene and I went right, down into Fern Dell. We rode down all the way to Los Feliz Blvd, and then went right to get to Franklin Ave. Then we took Bronson down to the cemetery.

Hollywood Forever is home to many stars, and today we were there to visit with Don Adams, who is perhaps best-known as Agent 86 of Control in “Get Smart”. His grave is currently not marked with a stone, but I was able to locate it with some help from the people on the Get Smart mailing list. I gather that his family is still considering trying to have him buried in Arlington National Cemetery, due to his service in World War II. But in the meantime, he is in Hollywood Forever. Also, while we were there, we walked down by the pond to see the cenotaph for Jayne Mansfield.

Leaving the cemetery, we rode back across Hollywood and into Silver Lake. We took a right on Sunset and headed south, passing by Lovecraft Biofuels, which is a shop that does bio-diesel car conversions. Then we took a left on Benton Way and rode up some hills to come out on Silver Lake Blvd right by the reservoir and the dog park.

At Glendale Blvd, we went left, and then right on Fletcher and right again on Riverside. We took Riverside all the way to Figueroa, with a quick side trip down Oros St to see a house I’d seen the real estate listing for last week. This one is even smaller than the one we saw last week, and the one from the week before. This one is 299 square feet. The flyer says that the lot is 1300 square feet, which means that the lot is smaller than my house alone. It was impressively small.

Oh, yeah. Just for everyone who’s not in California, the asking price for the shoebox-sized house was $199,000.

Leaving the tiny house, we rode up Figueroa St to Ave 60, and then over to Monterey Rd and into South Pasadena. We rode all the way across San Marino and then went north on Sierra Madre Blvd, and then we were home.

It was a nice ride.

46 miles.


On this day in history…

Filed under: — stan @ 5:31 pm

It was May 2, 1976, and it was the day of my first big race. I was 16, and had no idea what I was in for that day. We all had our old-style leather-hairnet ‘helmets’ on, and I didn’t even know to zip up my jersey collar. When the race started, it was all just a blur. We went faster than I’d ever imagined was possible. But I stayed with the pack, and even tried to break away a couple of times. I didn’t know that first-year riders usually get dropped, so I didn’t get dropped. It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t know that you’re not supposed to be able to do it. It was great fun.


Psst – Wanna buy a house?

Filed under: — stan @ 7:32 pm

Today’s ride was the Mt Washington loop, passing the Self-Realization Fellowship. I’ve done the route map before, so if you want to see the map, just look at the time we did it last year.

It was a dreary day at the start, but we all thought it would get nice later. We started out going up Hill St to Woodbury Road, and then out to La Cañada. On the way up the first real hill, we heard a strange beeping. It turned out it was James’ heart rate monitor. He’d had an accident last fall, and was only recently able to start riding again. Today was only his second time back on the bike. So apparently the hills were getting to him.

We rode up past Descanso Gardens, and then down Hospital Hill into Montrose. Then we went left and took Verdugo Road all the way down to Eagle Rock Blvd in Glassell Park.

The road made a little loop down near the Los Angeles River, and then we took a left on Figueroa to start back north. We went just a short way to the turnoff for Mt. Washington. Then we were going up another hill. It was nice this time, since the road was recently repaved. The last time we were there the surface was utterly wretched, but this time was nice. On the way up, James turned off the alarm on his heart rate monitor so we wouldn’t have to listen to the beeping. Near the top, I snapped a picture of him that pretty much summed up the hill-climbing experience.

At the top we took a moment to regroup and catch our breath by the gates of the Self-Realization Fellowship. Then we went north on San Rafael Ave along the top of the hill, and then down the other side.

When we got to the bottom, we saw The House. I’d seen it linked on L.A. Curbed last week. It’s a tiny little run-down boarded-up shack. Only $449,000. It did have a pretty big yard, though, so maybe it’s not all that bad. But it still seems like a lot of money for a house that’s listed as “uninhabitable”.

Leaving the house behind, we passed a church with a small crowd of protesters in front. Apparently the church had made a deal with a cell-phone company to put antennas on top of the tower and these people were unhappy about it. They were saying something about it lowering property values. After seeing the shack down the street, I didn’t think that would necessarily be a bad thing…

At Ave 50, Gene took a wrong turn. Which was funny, since he’s the ride leader, and we were following his route slip. But James took off to catch him while the rest of us continued on the proper way. They caught up with us a little while later. James was red-faced, panting and sweating, but they’d caught us.

We stopped for a snack at the little coffee shop in South Pasadena. The one that has a sign advertising “Pastries Fresh Daily” next to a jar of Twinkies on the counter. Yum. While we were there, we also met Packard the dog. He’s a 17-year-old Husky mix, but very friendly.

The last part of the ride was across San Marino and back home. But when we got on Duarte Road, Newton and James took off and missed a turn. I went after them, but I lost them when I got caught at the light at Rosemead. By the time I got a green, they were long gone. I think they might be in Arizona by now. Or at least at Newton’s house in West Covina. So I just kept on riding on Duarte Road until I got out to Monrovia. Then I went north a bit on Myrtle Ave, passing “The Wizard of Bras”, and then headed home by way of Sierra Madre.

It was a nice ride.

50 miles.


Noodling around the San Gabriel Valley

Filed under: — stan @ 4:45 pm

Today’s installment of the Foothill Cycle Sunday Moderate Ride was roundabout tour of Pasadena and close-by cities.

We started out from Victory Park with some nice sunshine. Right at the start I tried a quick bit of Myspace-style self-portraiture. That’s taking a picture with the camera held at arm’s-length. I take pictures on almost all the rides, but it’s rare that I actually get in any of them. So this was my attempt to make up for this. But to really get a good bike-riding picture, I need a longer arm.

We headed east to Sierra Madre Villa, and then south to Huntington Drive. From there we went west a bit and then south into Temple City. We took Broadway west back into San Gabriel, and then Mission north to San Marino.

A left on Monterey Road took us across San Marino, and then we got on El Molino and rode all the way north into Pasadena and Mountain Ave. Then we took a left to go to Lincoln and then a right onto Forest. It was there that Rick started complaining about his pedal, so we stopped to see what was wrong. It turned out that one of the screws in his cleat had fallen out, and the second was nearly out. He managed to get the one screw back in, but he had to bail and head for home at that point.

At Washington we went left and rode down past the north end of the Rose Bowl, and then up the hill on the other side to Linda Vista. We went right there and then left on Inverness to start riding up the nice hill there. We rode up for a bit to get to the place where the road was washed out. We had to squeeze in between a fencepost and a cliff to get past the barrier, and then we rode past the washout.

After that, we rode up some more on St Katherine to get to Wendover and the top of the hill. There was a nice view from up there. Then we went down San Augustine to Figueroa and Chevy Chase. A quick left on Inverness again, and we were riding along the top of the hill. Then a right on Hempstead took us back down to Chevy Chase. We went left there and rode up to Foothill Blvd in La Cañada.

We took a right on Foothill down to Oakwood, where we stopped at a little coffee shop. It was our first time stopping there, and likely the last. The people working there got everything wrong on our orders.

After the stop, we rode up Oakwood for a bit and then took a right on Knight Way. Then another right on Crown Ave to get back down to Foothill. Then we turned left and dropped down the hill to Oak Grove by JPL. A right on Oak Grove brought us back into Pasadena and Woodbury Rd.

We went left on Casitas and went up the hill to Ventura, where we took a right. At Lincoln we went left again to get up the hill to Loma Alta, right at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. We took Loma Alta all the way up to the top of Lake Ave. Along the way I stopped for a picture of something not-quite-identifiable. It was a squashed bag with what looked like a large bird’s foot sticking out of it. Yick.

At Lake we went right, down the hill. Then a left on Mt. Curve and Maiden Ln to get to Rubio Canyon Rd. Another left took us around the mouth of Rubio Canyon and Loma Alta again. Then we went left on Pinecrest to the base of the Mt. Wilson Toll Road, which was closed by a large landslide over a year ago. The landslide was still there, and it doesn’t appear that there has been any work done on trying to clear it. You can see this in this picture taken just over a year ago. About the only thing different is that there is more vegetation growing on it now.

From there, we got on Altadena Drive and rode down the hill back to the park. At that point we had gone 35 miles, so I took Sierra Madre Blvd east to Sunnyslope to add a little bit more. I went up the hill to Grand View and then east some more to Baldwin. Then down the hill to Sierra Madre and back home.

41 miles.


An earthquake tour by bike

Filed under: — stan @ 10:40 pm

Route map and photo locations

Since this coming week is the 100th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, I decided it was time to do a bike ride with an earthquake theme. The route was to visit a number of locations connected with the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake. As it turned out, none of my regular riding group could make it today, so this was a solo effort. The day was overcast and cool, with some intermittent light sprinkles, but overall it wasn’t a bad day for riding.

I started out heading across Pasadena to La Cañada and then up Foothill Blvd. I took Foothill all the way up to Sylmar. It was a pretty long ride, but it was all right. Once I got past Tujunga, it looked, felt, and smelled like I was out in the country. That’s always kind of a weird feeling when one is within the Los Angeles city limits.

When I got up to Sylmar, it started to look more urban, but in a barrio kind of way. That was where I saw the “Live Poultry” shop. Then I got up to where all the freeways meet at the north end of the San Fernando Valley. I stopped there to take a picture of the Los Angeles Aqueduct Cascades. This is where William Mulholland gave his famous “There it is – take it” speech back in 1913.

Then I rode up a little hill to get into the little valley where the big I-5/CA-14 freeway interchange is. The ramps here fell down in both 1971 and 1994, and the photo of the fallen overpass is one of the iconic images from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

I got a nice view of the overpasses from down below. Then I got on San Fernando Road and started back south. That was where I saw the car with the big German Shepherd sticking out of the sun roof. Then I turned right on Balboa and headed down into the Valley. I took a left of Woodley so I could come down next to the Los Angeles Reservoir. The dam here was damaged in the 1971 quake, and a large portion of the San Fernando Valley had to be evacuated for a time because of the danger that the dam would collapse. Sadly, it was not possible to actually see the dam from the road. The USGS has a fact sheet that tells the story of the dam.

At Rinaldi St I took a left. I went a short distance and then stopped at Eden Memorial Park. I’d planned on visiting Groucho Marx’s grave there, but when I saw the Star of David on the fence I knew that they would be closed on Saturday.

Continuing on, I took Maclay St back up into San Fernando. I took a right on Glenoaks Blvd., which is a big and busy street, but it has a bike lane, so it’s not all bad. I took that all the way back down to Sun Valley, passing the big landfill and recycling center (stinkeroo!) and KAOS Auto Parts. Then I turned left on Tuxford to get to La Tuna Canyon Road.

The four miles uphill in La Tuna Canyon is always fun. On the way up, I passed the Dog Resort, and also another mailbox painted with hot-rod flames. Then when I got to the top, the sun came out. I got out my sunglasses and continued down the other side into La Crescenta.

A quick trip up Hospital Hill, and then it was downhill all the way home. It was a nice ride.



House of Prince, House of Moe

Filed under: — stan @ 9:57 pm

Route map and photo locations

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an item on The Smoking Gun about how Prince was being sued by his landlord because he had painted his house purple. The copy of the document on the site gave the address, so I immediately plotted a route to ride out and see it. Today was the day for sightseeing.

I met Gene at the park, and we headed out. Right after crossing the Colorado St. Bridge, we got a very good view of the burned out mansion in the San Rafael Hills, so I stopped for picture. Then we headed down into Eagle Rock.

We took Eagle Rock Blvd and Fletcher down into Silver Lake, and then across the Shakespeare Bridge and onto Hollywood Blvd. We rode all the way across Hollywood and then took a little side trip to see Dicks St.

From there, we went back up Doheny to Sunset and headed west again. Just before the Beverly Hills line, we turned and went up into the hills. We stopped for photos at Prince’s house. We saw the “3121″ by the mailbox, which isn’t the address, but the title of his new album. The house was not purple, so I guess he had it painted again.

From there, we continued on up the hill. At first we missed a turn, so we went up a horrendous hill, only to have to come back down. Then we found Thrasher Ave, which was where Moe Howard lived. We stopped for a quick picture at Moe’s old house, and then continued on, going back down the canyon to get to Sunset Plaza.

A left turn on Sunset Plaza sent us uphill again. This time we rode all the way to the crest, stopping only briefly for a photo of the mobile dog-grooming van. There was also a construction site with a scaffold that had half of a mannequin on it. That was kind of strange and worthy of a photo. Then when we got to the top, we headed down the other side. We stopped for another photo of the foundations of a new house. Obviously, the definition of a ‘buildable lot’ is somewhat different in the hills.

Continuing on down the hill, we took a side road to get to Wonderland Ave. But Google Maps had lied to me, and the road ended partway down, so we had to turn around and come back up. Then we took Lookout Mountain the rest of the way down to Wonderland.

After a left on Wonderland, we groaned up yet another steep hill. I stopped for a picture of an Elvis mural on one house, and then we continued on to see the house that was the site of the 1981 Wonderland Murders. Then we turned back down and took Laurel Pass and Allenwood up to Mulholland. We stopped at the park there to get some water.

After just a short jaunt on Mulholland, we turned left on Laurel Canyon and headed down into the Valley. We stopped for a photo of the ruins of a house that had slid off its foundation earlier this winter. Then we went the rest of the way down the hill.

At the bottom, we stopped to see a house I’d seen on L.A. Curbed. 636 square feet on a 0.04 acre lot for $499,000. It made the $1.27 million house we’d seen in Laurel Canyon look like a bargain.

For the trip home, we took Moorpark and Riverside back across Studio City and Burbank, passing by Bob Hope’s old house in Toluca Lake. Then we went up to Kenneth and Mountain in Glendale and took them back to Verdugo.

The ride up Hospital Hill was all right. We had a little tail wind, which helped a tiny bit. Then we took the standard route home across La Cañada. I stopped to snap a picture of the Linda Vista overpass where the stencil said “LINDA VITSA”. They probably outsourced the stencil-making.

From there, it was downhill all the way home across Pasadena.

56 miles.


Tour de Glendale

Filed under: — stan @ 7:15 pm

Today’s ride was the “Glendale Vistas” route. A trip all around Glendale, with a nice hill at the beginning and the end.

We started out from Victory Park and rode across Pasadena and into La Cañada. Then we turned left and rode up Chevy Chase, which is a nice little hill. Then at the top we rode down the other side into Glendale.

At the bottom of the hill, we continued on through Glendale all the way down almost to the L.A. River. Then we turned north and went back up to Glenoaks Blvd. We turned left and took Glenoaks out to our snack stop at Paradise Bakery.

They have the best chocolate eclairs at Paradise, and I made sure to have one today.

After the stop, we headed up to Kenneth and Mountain for the trip back across Glendale. Then we went left on Verdugo for the climb up to Hospital Hill. At the top, we took a right on Descanso and headed back down through La Cañada and back into Pasadena.

By the time we got back to the park, it had turned into a very nice spring day. Newton had ridden from his house in Covina, so I followed him part way back just to enjoy the nice sunshine. We rode out through Arcadia and Monrovia. I had heard that Velo Monrovia had changed its name to Stan’s Bicycles, so I had to stop for a photo-op. I always take pictures of signs that have my name on them. And I got to meet Stan, too.

Then I went back through Sierra Madre to my house. It was a very nice ride.

51 miles.


Around the world by gimpy bike

Filed under: — stan @ 9:02 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride went all over the world, and we were just riding around L.A.

The first part of the ride was down Huntington Drive and then across Ave 60 to Figueroa. Then we took Figueroa down to the river and into Riverside Dr. Then we went north a couple of miles to Alessandro St and took a left. That brought us to the first sightseeing stop of the day. The Fargo Street Hill Climb.

Fargo Street is reputed to be the steepest street in Los Angeles. In fact, it’s the steepest street I’ve ever seen anywhere. It’s funny, but in real life it looks about twice as steep as it does in the picture. I don’t know why that is. I tried to ride it last year but was defeated. This time I didn’t try. I’d pulled a muscle last week fighting with a stuck gas pipe fitting, and I didn’t think it wise to risk aggravating that further by trying to ride up a 33% grade.

Still, it was an entertaining thing to watch. And while we were there, I ran into an old friend who I know from somewhere else entirely. Lisa is someone I know from tattoo conventions, but it turns out that she has bike-riding friends, and she now lives just a few blocks from Fargo St. So I got to visit with her for a bit, which was fun, even if it was one of those ‘when worlds collide’ kind of things.

Leaving Fargo St, we headed south on Glendale Blvd, and then go on Sunset to head into downtown. At Broadway we passed the dragons that mark the gateway to Chinatown. Then we took a left on Alameda and passed Union Station. At Ord St we took another left and I once again heard that unmistakable “PANG!” sound that meant I’d broken another spoke. My bike went gimpy again, but I was able to make it the last couple blocks into Chinatown. After my experience last week, I had put a spoke wrench in my bag, so I was able to get the wheel straight enough to limp the rest of the ride.

In Chinatown we stopped at a bakery, right by the statue of Sun Yat-sen. Gene was looking around and he pointed out the sign for “Ooga Booga” around the corner. That was definitely worth a photo.

Leaving Chinatown, we went up Main to Daly and then turned south. The street turned into Marengo when we passed Mission and the L.A. County Coroner’s Office. I always say that Los Angeles is a unique place. How many cities have a gift shop at the Coroner?

Heading into East L.A., we came to the Evergreen Cemetery, and then the excavation next to it where they discovered the bones of 108 Chinese who had been buried in a potter’s field dating from the 1800s.

Continuing on, we went deeper into East Los Angeles. Newton is from El Salvador, and he remarked that the houses looked just like the ones he remembered from back home.

Coming out on Whittier Blvd, we came to the Home of Peace cemetery. We went in the gate and followed the streets back to Curly Howard’s grave.

The last part of the ride was north a bit to get to 3rd St, which we took east until it turned into Pomona Ave and then Potrero Grande. We took a left on Del Mar, which brought us all the way back up to San Marino. Then we got on Sierra Madre Blvd and then Altadena Dr for the last bit home.

It was a fun ride.

43 miles.


San Dimas and a Gimpy Bike

Filed under: — stan @ 6:09 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today’s ride was out to San Dimas to see the third stage of the San Dimas Stage Race. This is a three-day affair, and today’s race was a short-course criterium around downtown San Dimas.

We started out from Victory Park and rode out through Arcadia and Irwindale to get to San Dimas. We had hoped to get there in time to see the Masters 45+ race, since they are my age, and some of them are even people I raced against back in my racing days. But when we got there they were running late, so we ended up seeing the finish of the Category 5 race and the beginning of Category 4.

As I usually do when we go to see a race, I’d brought along an extra $20 bill to donate as a prime for one of the races. So I went up to the stand and gave it to them for the Category 4 riders. They did a good sprint for it, but I missed out on getting a picture, since the batteries in my camera decided to go dead right at that moment. But it was a good sprint, and I hope the winning rider got some satisfaction from it.

After that, we rode up to Gladstone and took that back west to go home. While we were riding through Glendora, suddenly I heard that unmistakable “PANG!” sound that meant that I’d broken a spoke. My bike immediately went gimpy, with the back wheel wobbling and rubbing on the frame. Vikki had the presence of mind to grab my camera and take a picture for the Flat Tire Gallery. It’s not technically a flat, but it’s a mechanical failure, so that’s close enough. Fortunately, Makoto had a spoke wrench, and I was able to call upon my old bike-mechanic experience and managed to get the wheel straight enough to limp home. It wasn’t rubbing on the frame, but it still was hitting the brake pads. That meant that I had some extra drag, and that made it impossible to do my usual track stands at the red lights. But my Gimpy Bike and I made it home just the same.

43 miles.

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