Stan’s Obligatory Blog

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3/19/2017

A Little Piece of History

Filed under: — stan @ 2:57 pm

Today’s bike club ride was one to visit a little bit of my personal history. Back in 1978, I was bike racing, and I was here in Los Angeles that spring. And the first big race I rode in was the Griffith Park Road Race on March 19, 1978. The race was on the order of 50 miles, since that was pretty standard for Category 1-2 races in those days. And when we went around for the first lap, I realized that the course reminded me very much of the course we used to race in the Tuesday and Thursday evening training races at Old Westbury, on Long Island. It was a short loop with a long out-and-back dog-leg with a U-turn at the end. I remember seeing signs for the Merry-Go-Round, so I knew pretty much where it was, and the dog-leg was the out-and-back on Crystal Springs Drive. So today’s ride was to go back and visit the race course again.

The race itself went by in a blur. There were about 100 riders, and we were going fast the whole time. Nobody managed to break away. I don’t remember even making it to the front of the pack. I just stayed in the middle of the pack, hanging on. In the end, it was a pack sprint for the finish, and I recall that the winner was Jerry Ash. I had just graduated out of Juniors, so I felt pretty good to be racing in Category 2, and it didn’t seem particularly hard at the time. Which seems kind of ridiculous now, since I can’t even begin to think about riding my bike as fast as I could then. And even if I could, I think I’d be terrified by the speed…

After visiting the old race course, we rode back through the park and got on the L.A. River bike path and rode down to Spoke. We had some snacks there, and then continued on down the river and then up Figueroa St. The route home was up the Arroyo Seco, and then back across South Pasadena, through Caltech, and then my regular route home from work.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile
Note that the map is incomplete. I forgot to turn my GPS thingy on until 4.4 miles into the ride.

3/12/2017

“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi…”

Filed under: — stan @ 6:06 pm

Today’s bike club ride was yet another celebrity grave tour. This time, it was a visit to the Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn to see Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. It was forecast to be a very nice day, and there was no chance of rain, so it was safe for us to venture forth far away from the nearest Metro Rail station.

We rode through South Pasadena, and then all the way down Figueroa St to the L.A. River. Then we rode over the nice new bridge that put us right onto the L.A. River bike path. We took the bike path all the way up to the exit by the zoo. Then we got off and made our way over to Forest Lawn.

We checked in at the information booth at the entrance to tell them why we were there and where we were going. I’d looked up the location on findagrave.com, but it turned out my mental picture of the orientation of the building was faulty, so I was looking in the wrong corner at first. But there were other people who knew, and we got directions to the proper spot in the building. I’d brought along a little R2-D2 figure for the photo-op.

While we were there and talking about some of the other famous people we’d been to see there, it came out that Chris had never been to Rodney King’s grave. So we took a short side trip up the hill to visit him.

Leaving Forest Lawn, we rode over to Priscilla’s for snacks. While we were there, we met Fred. Fred is a little rescue dog, and he was very cute and had a nice personality.

The route home included the usual slog up Verdugo and Hospital Hill, then the long downhill glide back from La Cañada to Pasadena. It was a nice ride.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

3/5/2017

626 Golden Streets

Filed under: — stan @ 1:25 pm

Today’s bike club ride was to go to the 626 Golden Streets event. This was supposed to be last fall, but was canceled then due to heavy smoke from a fire in the mountains above Duarte. So today was the rescheduled date, and we were headed there.

The event was a Ciclavia-style thing, with a route of closed streets for us to ride on all the way from the Mission St Metro station in South Pasadena to the downtown Azusa Metro station. That’s something like 17 miles. So we started out by riding to South Pasadena, where we picked up the event route. It wasn’t too crowded, and we were able to maintain a pretty good pace most of the way.

We rode to the far end of the route, where we continued east into Glendora for out stop at Classic Coffee. Then we headed back the same way. The ride back was pleasant, until it started raining in Monrovia. At that point, Carla and I decided to bail out and take the train back to Pasadena. The rest of the group decided to take a chance and keep riding. But I figured that I already had 40 miles, and with the two miles to get home from the Metro station, that would make 42 for the day, which was fine, and I really don’t like riding in the rain.

40 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

1/29/2017

The Airplane-Theme Ride

Filed under: — stan @ 3:38 pm

Today’s bike club ride was a trip to Burbank to see the F-104-on-a-stick in the park, and also to see how the new airplane topiary at Burbank Airport is coming along. And today, we also came home by way of the L.A. River bike path and the new segment that’s just opening on the new Riverside Dr bridge over the river.

The ride out was pretty much our standard route across Eagle Rock. When we got to Burbank, we saw the F-104 in the park. Then we headed to the airport. Sadly, we can’t go see the tortoises any more. When we got to the airport, we could see that the new topiary was pretty much filled out. It’s pretty much back to what it was before they had to replace the bush in it. You can see what it looked like early after the replacement here. And for comparison, here’s what it looked like with the old bush.

We went for snacks at Priscilla’s, and then we headed down the L.A. River bike path. In the past, this ended just a little bit before Riverside Dr went over the river on the new bridge they’ve been building for the last N years. But this time, the path continued on, going over the bridge on a piece of the bridge separated from traffic and featuring both bike and pedestrian lanes. It was pretty nice. We found out later that tomorrow is going to be the official Grand Opening of that little bit of the path.

All around, it was a fun ride.

45 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

1/15/2017

“And your little dog, too!”

Filed under: — stan @ 3:12 pm

I recently read that there was a memorial monument at Hollywood Forever in memory of the dog who played Toto in “The Wizard of Oz”. So of course I figured it would have to be a sightseeing destination for the Sunday bike ride.

We started out heading into downtown L.A., and then out of downtown on 7th St. Along the way, we got to see how construction of the Regional Connector was coming along. The plan was to get to Larchmont Village for bagels at Noah’s, and then to go the short distance to the cemetery. When we got there, we asked the guy at the information booth, and he gave us directions to where the monument was. On our way there, we passed yet another pyramid crypt. I’d read some years ago that there were only three of these in Los Angeles County, and this one makes four. And we’ve been to see all of them now.

The bronze statue of Toto is life-sized, and I’m surprised I’d not seen it before, since it’s basically right across from the monument to Johnny Ramone. And while we were there, I stopped off to look at Dee Dee Ramone’s grave, which was covered with a larger-than-usual number of lipstick kisses.

For our route home, we began by taking the advice offered by Bette Davis, and we took Fountain. Then we crossed the L.A. River and headed up Eagle Rock Blvd, and then home across Highland Park and South Pasadena. It was a pleasant ride.

39 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

1/8/2017

The Peephole Cinema

Filed under: — stan @ 3:59 pm

A few weeks ago, we went to an event at the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood. Part of the event was a brief presentation by the Atlas Obscura people about a few odd things they know about in Los Angeles. One of the slides showed a person peering into a little hole in a wall in an alley behind a building. They said it was a miniature cinema that is continuously showing a few short films made by local artists. And GPS coordinates for it were in the footer of the email reminder about the event. So that night, I looked up where it was, and it turned out to be in an alley in Chinatown. So I figured that was going to be a bike ride one day. And today was the day.

We started out across Eagle Rock and Glendale, and then down the L.A. River bike path to Elysian Park. We rode up and over the hill to get to Echo Park and Chango Coffee. And after the stop there, we went back over the hill to get to Chinatown. Then we went in to Chung King Way to get to the little alleyway where we saw the small sign for the Peephole Cinema. We took turns standing up on the little step stool to be able to peer into the hole. It’s an odd little art project.

The route home took us back by way of Huntington Drive. This is usually our route to go into downtown, but this time we were riding the other direction, which felt a little odd.

36 miles.

Route map and elevation profile


1/1/2017

New Year’s Day

Filed under: — stan @ 3:37 pm

It rained all day on Saturday, and the forecast was for clearing, but still a small chance of rain on Sunday. So today we did the Metro Rail tour again. This was the original Metro tour, going through downtown and then west to Larchmont, with a return by way of downtown again. As it turned out, there was literally not a cloud in the sky. So it was cold, but we didn’t get rained on.

On the way home, we made a point to ride down Colorado Blvd in Pasadena to see all the people camping out to wait for the Rose Parade tomorrow.

44 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

12/25/2016

Christmas Day on the Bike

Filed under: — stan @ 5:56 pm

Christmas fell on Sunday this year, so we had a smaller-than-usual turnout for the Sunday bike ride. We did the old Whittier ride. We’ve done this one many times before. It’s a fairly easy route, and there was very little traffic out this morning, so that made for a pleasant ride.

43 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

12/18/2016

It’s a Wonderful Ride – 2016

Filed under: — stan @ 2:54 pm

It’s the Sunday before Christmas, and time for our “It’s a Wonderful Life” theme ride. There’s not much to go see around this theme, since the movie was mostly shot on soundstages in Culver City and at a long-gone backlot in Encino. There was only one scene shot on location, and that was the Martini family moving into their new house in Bailey Park, and the house was played by a house in La Cañada that is still there, and still looks the same as it did in the movie. So we go see that, and pay a visit to James Stewart at Forest Lawn in Glendale.

A few years ago, we had a run-in with the security guard at Forest Lawn. Because of that, we now make a point of checking in at the front gate so that they know why we’re there, and then it’s not a problem. And this time, when we got to the top of the steep hill where James Stewart is buried, we were thinking that it wasn’t such a bad hill after all. This is largely because of our trip to Whittier last year to see Eazy-E from NWA. He’s at the top of a mile-long, fairly steep hill. That one was a hard hill to climb.

After Forest Lawn, we went and had coffee and eclairs at Paradise Bakery in Glendale. Then it was time for the long slog up Verdugo into La Cañada. The good side of that is that once we’re there, it’s nearly all downhill back home to Pasdena.

So yes, it was a Wonderful Ride.

36 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

12/4/2016

Boogie Nights

Filed under: — stan @ 2:56 pm

This past week I saw an item on Curbed L.A. about the house that was the location for Jack Horner’s home in the 1997 movie, “Boogie Nights”. Apparently, it’s up for sale now, so I thought we should go and have a look at it.

The house is on Cameron Ave in West Covina. We were very near there a few weeks ago when we went to see Rainbow Donuts. It was a bit chilly this morning, but still a nice day for riding.

The route was relatively flat, with a gradual downhill trend all the way there, and gradual uphill coming home. On the way back I saw signs offering to buy diabetic test strips. I had no idea that was even a thing.

We got a nice view of Mt Baldy with a tiny little snowcap on top. I guess that’s there because we had a little rain last weekend.

41 miles.

Route map and elevation profile

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