Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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Larchmont Village and The Ramones

Filed under: — stan @ 2:58 pm

Today’s ride was to Larchmont Village. This is a small-town-like shopping district just south of Hollywood in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles. We were also very happy to have Matt along on the ride for the first time in months. Matt is in the Navy, and is just back from Iraq, so we were glad to see him back in one piece.

We started out going through Pasadena and Highland Park, where we passed the LAPD Historical Museum. This is definitely on our list of things to see one of these days. From there we took Eagle Rock Blvd and Fletcher across the L.A. River in to Los Feliz. Then we went past the Silver Lake reservoir. This was where we got into the ‘gritty urban cycling’ part of the ride. We rode through Koreatown, where we saw the ‘98 Cent Discount Store’. Glad to see that the 99 Cent Store has some competition. We also saw the LAPD in action near there.

After we crossed Western Ave, we went into the mansion district of Hancock Park. When we got to Larchmont Blvd, we saw the house where Adriana Caselotti lived. She was the voice of the original Disney Snow White, back in the days when voice actors in cartoons were not the big deal they are today.

We stopped for a bagel at Noah’s Bagels on Larchmont. That was where we saw the ‘Party in a Box’. We all had different ideas of what should be in the box.

After the stop, we went north past Paramount Studios to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The recent rains made the pond there overflow, so there were squished crayfish all over the roads there. We stopped to see the statue of Johnny Ramone, as well as Dee Dee Ramone’s grave, which are both in the same area of the cemetery. We also saw another monument that looks like an Atlas rocket. We don’t know who is buried there, but we were all curious, since it was a unique monument.

Continuing north, we passed the somewhat creepy Scientology Celebrity Center, and then took Franklin Ave east to the Shakespeare bridge. From there it was the standard route home through Highland Park and Eagle Rock.

44 miles.



It was 27 years ago today…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:31 pm

It was February 19th, 1978. I got up at some ungodly hour like 3:30AM to go down to Bud’s Bike Shop in Claremont to meet the guys who were going to give me a ride to the Malibu Time Trial. This was a little 10-mile time trial that used to be the first event of the Southern California racing season. The race started at something like 06:00. The course was out-and-back twice. They sent us off the line at 30-second intervals. This was good, since it meant that the guy who started before me was still in sight when I started. So I just concentrated on trying to catch him. When I did, I just chased the next guy in line. I passed at least two other riders that day. The photo is when I was turning for the second out-and-back. When it was all done, I was in second place for Category 2, and tied for third place overall with a time of 23:19. There were no prizes. It was just an opportunity to see how fast everyone was riding. And it was great fun.



Whitter Narrows

Filed under: — stan @ 2:02 pm

Today’s ride was down to Whittier Narrows and back. It was cloudy, but not raining, so conditions were adequate. We went east through Sierra Madre and then straight south on Santa Anita all the way down past the 60 freeway. Along the way, we felt a few little sprinkles, but actual rain never quite happened.

One road we went on was marked closed, apparently due to flooding during the recent rains. It was passable, and it was a nice treat to have the road to ourselves for a bit.

After we passed the Whittier Narrows dam, we turned west and then north, heading back through Montebello and into Monterey Park. There were a few small hills there, but nothing spectacular.

In Alhambra, we saw a car with a license plate frame that said “Nothing’s Fucked”. I’m not sure if that is an expression of optimism or what, but we all thought it was funny. We also got to see how to write “Washington Mutual Bank” in Chinese, in case anyone was wondering.

Heading north through San Marino, we passed Lacy Park and then climbed up the scarp of the Raymond Fault. Then we continued on into Pasadena, where we stopped at Noah’s Bagels on South Lake. That was where we met the little white dog who was sitting outside waiting while his owner got coffee. He was very friendly.

From there, we went south again and went through San Marino some more before heading home.

39 miles.




Filed under: — stan @ 3:32 pm

I’ve been playing around a bit with This site will do route mapping like Mapquest, but for bikes. And they include information about hills and such.

So I decided to look up Fargo St. They say it’s 0.13 miles and 151 vertical feet. Then I looked up Nolden St in Eagle Rock. This is the ridiculously steep hill that I like to ride up. I figure it’s good practice for Fargo St. They say it’s 0.11 miles and 134 feet up. So they are pretty comparable.

Just for comparison, I went to to get the maps for both places. Looking at the contours on the map for Fargo St and the map for Nolden St indicates agreement with the bikemetro elevation data.

But we know what’s really important here: It’s fun to ride up ridiculous hills.



Johnny Ramone and Lake Hollywood

Filed under: — stan @ 1:41 pm

I went riding today, since we’re going to be busy tomorrow. Since I’d heard about the new statue of Johnny Ramone at the Hollywood Forever cemetery, I thought I’d go over and have a look.

I took the fairly standard route through Eagle Rock to get there, pausing only briefly to ride up and over the ridiculously steep hill. I figure it’s good practice for Fargo Street next month.

When I got into Hollywood, I went straight down Hollywood Blvd. I passed Cheetah’s, which Cathy and I have been to and enjoyed. Then it was on into Thai Town, where I saw a Thai food place with a big hot dog on the roof. What’s up with that?

Then I turned south on Bronson and got to the cemetery. The girl at the information booth gave me directions to Johnny’s statue. It’s a nice setting. And they had a sign up telling us not to disturb the goose, since he is guarding his nest nearby.

After leaving the cemetery, I went west a bit into West Hollywood to visit Guitar Center and the Rock Walk, since the Ramones are there.

Next up was the big hill. I went back east through Hollywood to Beachwood Dr, which is the street up to the Hollywoodland neighborhood, right below the Sign. The ride up Beachwood wasn’t bad. They don’t want people to be climbing up to the sign, so they put up signs all over saying “No access to the Hollywood sign”. But I think people do it anyway.

When I was just below the sign, it was time to turn. I went up Belden St, which goes up a pretty scary hill up the side of Beachwood Canyon. Then when I got to the top, I took a wrong turn. I rode for a while down into another canyon before I realized that I’d made a mistake. At that point, I had to turn around and climb back up that big hill. Near the top, I asked some people who were walking their dog. They said, “just keep going on this street until you pass the castle, then take every left turn until you get to the dog park.” Simple enough. I rode a bit until I came to the house that looked like a castle, then I had to climb some more to reach the top of the ridge. Then it was screaming downhill past the dog park, and I was at the shores of Lake Hollywood. I followed the road around the lake and then up and over one more hill and then down into Burbank.

By this time, it was getting late, since that wrong turn had eaten up a lot of time. So I took the most direct route home, going straight across Glendale and Eagle Rock and then back into Pasadena.

50 miles.

Technorati tags: cycling


Griffith Park

Filed under: — stan @ 10:57 pm

Today I did the Foothill Club ride, which was from Arcadia to Griffith Park and back. I met Gene at 7:30 and we rode down to Live Oak Park in Temple City because we were supposed to meet Newton there, but when we got there, there was no sign of him. So we headed up to Arcadia to meet the rest of the group.

We got started on the real ride at 8:30, and we headed out across Pasadena and Eagle Rock. We took Colorado Blvd across Eagle Rock, which is the shortest route, but not really the most pleasant route. But it wasn’t too bad.

When we got into Glendale, the street was being torn up for repaving, so we took a little detour to avoid the bad street. When we crossed the Verdugo Wash, we noticed that there were little periodic waves in the water coming down the wash. This looked odd, but I’m sure there is a good reason for it.

Today’s flat tire went to Jerry. He’s now the latest addition to the Flat Tire Gallery.

When we got to Griffith Park, we went the back way up around the Zoo to the golf course. We stopped for a snack at the golf course coffee shop. Not bad, but the services was slow. We were there for almost an hour.

Leaving the park, we took Los Feliz Blvd back. We stopped off at the Costco there to see the site of the big train wreck that happened last week. They had cleaned up most of it, but there were still train parts around in the parking lot, and the damaged Union Pacific engine was still there.

Finally, we headed home on Colorado and Orange Grove. It was a pleasant ride.

52 miles.

Technorati tags: cycling


Sunday bike ride

Filed under: — stan @ 1:59 pm

It was another perfect day here in Southern California, and perfect for riding. Today’s ride was a relatively flat one. We headed east a bit and then south through Temple City. That was where Jason got the obligatory flat tire. It’s just not a complete bike ride unless someone gets a flat.

After the flat, we soldiered on. We had to take a little detour because part of the usual route is under water due to the recent rains. So we went a different way, passing “Nice Guy Tattoo”. Then we got on the Rio Hondo bike path and headed south.

When we got to Whittier Narrows, we got off the bike path and started back north through Rosemead. This is where we passed the Green Acres Lodge, which is the convalescent hospital where Curly Howard died.

Continuing north, we passed through San Gabriel and San Marino, and finally back into Pasadena. Our snack stop was at Il Fornaio in Old Town.

After a brief rest, we took the Prospect Ave route around the Rose Bowl, and then Arroyo up into Altadena. We got on to Altadena Drive for the long downhill back to the park. That was where we passed the ‘Walsh house‘ from “Beverly Hills 90210″. Then we came down the hill and we were done.

It was a fun time. 40 miles.

Technorati tags: cycling


Bike maintenance

Filed under: — stan @ 8:21 pm

After the ride today, I noticed a small aneurism on my front tire. So I headed out to the bike shop and got a replacement. I also got four new brake pads. They are Clark’s CP200 for the front and CP202 for the back. Steve at Open Road recommended having softer ones on the back. So now I’m ready for tomorrow’s ride.

Sunset Plaza

Filed under: — stan @ 5:52 pm

Today I did ride in the Hollywood Hills with Gene. It was Sunset Plaza, which is a place I used to ride a lot back in the late ’80s, when Cathy and I lived in Hollywood. So today I brought Gene over to see how much fun the hills can be.

We started out with the usual ride across Eagle Rock. Gene declined to go up the terrifyingly steep hill, but we still went past it just to look. Then we headed across the L.A. River into Los Feliz. We crossed the Shakespeare Bridge, and then headed south into Hollywood. We took Fountain Ave across Hollywood, which was the epitome of the gritty urban cycling experience. We even passed L. Ron Hubbard Way, which the L.A. City Council renamed for the late charlatan some years ago.

We then went into West Hollywood, and then up onto the Sunset Strip. We saw the restaurant from the final scene of “Annie Hall”. Riding a bike down the Sunset Strip always seems a bit odd to me, and it’s really not a lot of fun. There is a lot of traffic, and the road is kind of rough. But all was forgiven when we turned on Sunset Plaza and headed up the hill.

The funny thing about bike riding in Hollywood is that it gets really quiet and pleasant as soon as you go up a hill. Once we turned off Sunset, it was very nice. Just a quiet winding street with lots of very large houses perched on the hillside. There was one house in particular that was really impressive. It was huge, and it just dominated the hill. Anyway, it was a nice ride up the hill there, and from the crest, we got a nice view of Century City and the winter smog.

From the top of the hill on Sunset Plaza, we headed down into Laurel Canyon, passing near Wonderland Ave, which was the scene of the Wonderland Murders. Then we crossed over Laurel Canyon, passing by Houdini’s old house and headed up Willow Glen Rd, which climbs up the side of Laurel Canyon to Mt. Olympus and then down into Nichols Canyon.

When we got down into Nichols Canyon, we took a left and went up Nichols Canyon Rd, which brought us up another big hill, ultimately coming out on Mulholland Drive. From there, we headed east, taking the long downhill into Cahuenga Pass, and then down into Burbank. We had a short stop at Priscilla’s for a drink, and then we headed home.

The essential question was whether to take the northern route home up Hospital Hill, or the southern route through Eagle Rock. Gene suggested the middle route up Mountain Ave in Glendale. We’ve passed this hill many times on the regular Sunday rides and never gone up it, so I figured it was worth a try. Yow. It turned out to be a much harder climb than I’d anticipated. I finally had to say ‘uncle’ and shift to a lower gear to make the last bit to the top. But the view was nice. The road was closed, since it had some damage from the rains, so it was nice and quiet.

Finally, we headed down the big hill back into Pasadena. It was a fun ride.

54 miles.

Technorati tags: cycling


Toluca Lake

Filed under: — stan @ 4:24 pm

Todays ride was “Toluca Lake”. We started out going straight west, over the historic Colorado Street Bridge into Eagle Rock and then on into Glendale. Then we went south a bit through the L.A. Equestrian Center and into Burbank. Our snack stop was at Priscilla’s in Burbank. After that, we continued west just a bit into Toluca Lake just to pass by Bob Hope’s old house. Then we came back by Forest Lawn and onto the L.A. River bike path. Apparently, something had happened along the part where the bike path runs along the freeway, as there was a fire truck, an ambulance, and a couple of Highway Patrol cars there. And also, one of the light poles was knocked over. Finally, we headed home through Eagle Rock. When we crossed into South Pasadena, we got a nice view of Mt. Baldy, complete with snow. Overall, it was a very pleasant ride.

43 miles.

Technorati tags: cycling

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