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On that first day of the anticipated/feared “Carmegeddon,” in Los Angeles , while other far fleeter pedalers were kicking ass over a jet plane in a race from Burbank to Long Beach, I was joined by four awesomely like-minded cyclists — Ann, Harold, Robert and Thaddeus — for a more casual 47-mile bike tour that began and ended in Silver Lake and included a climb up from the valley to the top of the Sepulveda Pass for a look at the ongoing demolition of the Mulholland Bridge over an entirely emptied 405 Freeway.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately depending on your tolerance for stopmotion videography) I can’t show you the entire ride as my camera’s memory card filled up at Mile No. 37, just as we were entering Beverly Hills on the way back to our start point.
But it was an awesome day and an awesome group with which to ride.
The other day the entire world collectively pointed and laughed at the obvious publicity stunt unleashed by JetBlue, where they announced plans to offer $4 fares from Burbank to Long Beach to avoid carmageddon. But flying seems pretty fast right? I mean, you are in a plane and all. But how fast is it really? Fast enough to beat Wolfpack A? Seriously, easily the most elite street cyclists in LA, possibly in the country started doing the math and think they can make that trip faster on bike than JetBlue can in a plane. You know what? I think they are right. I’ve seen the hustle in action. I’ve seen Wolfpack A win race after race. I think this is totally legit. Several folks are already trying to get JetBlue to accept the challenge. Let’s see what happens!
UPDATE: IT’S ON! Details being finalized right this very second, but this is happening. Point to point. It’s a battle of commuters. A house in Burbank to the Long Beach Aquarium. More details soon!!!
This third edition of Los Angeles’ CicLAvia events was a much, much quieter one. While originally planned to be as full-on as the original CicLAvia in October 2010 and the second one last April, organizers decided in May to throttle back and take the one planned for July 10 off the calendar so that efforts could be better focused on the extended one set for this October.
But that didn’t stop them from putting out the call to come ride the open roads with them on a nine-mile route beginning and ending at Boyle Heights’ Hollenbeck Park, and I met up with friends Stephen, Alice and Ann in Echo Park to pedal out to the Eastside and join in the festive, leisurely paced trek with a couple hundred other CicLAvians.
After crossing the 6th Street Viaduct and coming down Central Avenue to pay a visit to the African-American Firefighter Museum, we headed into downtown, where on our approach to Chinatown, the four of us broke off from the ride and continued up to the LA River’s West Bank bikeway. Saying our goodbyes at Atwater I headed back through Silver Lake home. Wonderful day. Wonderful ride.
Total distance covered: 21.98 miles
Route link: http://tinyurl.com/6g4785r
So this past Monday I boldly went somewhere by bike that I’d never gone before. And so, for the lack of a substantive and/or interesting post on any number of prevalent topics, I do hereby give you: The Los Angeles Riverbed Ride. In which I navigated downstream from the south end of Elysian Valley down to the Seventh Street Viaduct and then back. For your viewing pleasure, these are the 12 spans I pedaled under, beginning with the 110 Freeway and ending at Seventh Street.
A slideshow of the above Flickr set of images is viewable here.
After the jump is the SFW video-still of the naked guy I encountered under the First Street Viaduct who was bathing in the water (given its quality I use “bathing” in its least optimistic sense), along with the obligatory timelapse video of the entire ride. Enjoy.
I had such a blast discovering the east bank of the Los Angeles River by bike a couple weekends ago, that I’m going back to get me some more laidbackification this holiday weekend. So if you’re not headed/heading out of town for the holiday weekend and don’t have anything cooking July 4 morning, feel free to join my wife Susan and me. We’re planning on setting out from the Fletcher Avenue Bridge around 9:30 a.m. for a heat-beating, entirely casual out-and-back roll that’s about six miles in length.
June 20, 2011 in Biking in LA
In my 475 years of existence in this city, I have been visiting the Los Angeles River for 323 of them. But ALWAYS the west bank south of Fletcher Avenue. Never the much more rugged and less-accessible east bank. Until yesterday, when stuck inside my head I prescribed a self-medicating bike ride instead.
Boy did it coat, soothe and relieve.
Pedaling from Silver Lake to Atwater Village, I accessed the far side via Sunnynook Drive and then headed south, finding the river partially sandbagged and diverted at Fletcher for what looks to be stabilization/reinforcement work that’s being done to the underside of its bridge.
Scooting under the span I then had the three-mile length to Elysian Valley enfuckingtirely to myself, and I felt Lewis & Clarksian in discovering some seriously amazing scenery that strengthened the bond I have with our misbegotten waterway.
Anywhat, it was just what I needed to clear my cranium. And you know if it’s me on a bike there will be handlebarcam timelapsification of the entire trip for your stop-motion viewing pleasure:
June 17, 2011 in Biking in LA
If I told you that someone driving a car ran into a stationary object, would you think the fault rested with the driver or with the stationary object? What if that object was a person? Now whose fault is it? What if that person was actually several people. A large group in fact? And what if I told you the driver had been drinking? Still with me? And what if I told you the driver made no attempt to stop, left no skid marks, and by some eyewitness accounts may have even sped up? Any idea who might be at blame here? And what if this collision sent many of those people to the hospital, some in critical condition, many with broken bones?
So just to clarify. If a driver, who had been drinking ran into a large group of people who were standing still (that is, they didn’t jump in front of the car or anything stupid like that) without making any efforts to avoid them – who do you think is at fault?
If you said the driver, congrats, you have some shred of common sense. If you said it must have been the fault of the people the driver hit, you must work for the LAPD.
I’m a far more consistent Los Angeles River Ride volunteer than I am a participant. Though I can trace my sporadic involvement as a rider back to 2001, I’ve only done the LA County Bicycle Coalition’s annual trip to Long Beach and back four times.
Part of the reason for such laxness is that I’ve been far more consistent every year since 2006 in getting up the morning before the big event and getting my ride on helping to mark the section of the route from Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights to Imperial Highway and back.
This year’s no exception. And the reason I’m telling you this is not only to remind you the ride itself is Sunday, but also to invite you — if you’re both morning-embracing and volunteeristically inclined — to join me and the hearty band of route markers tomorrow morning either at 7:30 a.m. in front of Echo Park’s Brite Spot for the ride to the Los Angeles River Center, or at 8 a.m. there (map). Either way have a bike in good working order as well as a pack-pack to help haul the materials.
If the volunteer ranks marshaled tomorrow by organizer extraordinaire Colin Bogart end up a bit thin you might get pressed into service marking another stage, but if the no-shows are minimal feel free join me and my friend Stephen Roullier. We’re planning after we finish placing arrows and hanging signs (somewhere around noon) on lunching at the Most Awesome Blue Star in the Scrap Metal District before heading back uptown.
The good news: CicLAvia is expanding into South Los Angeles and deeper into Boyle Heights. More room for more people doing more things. Sounds like this thing is a hit. Since you guys are taking time off to do a little more planning, maybe we could get this thing up to Hollywood and the Valley? Pretty please?
The official post is after the jump.
You’re pardoned if you didn’t know that a world-class sports competition, featuring many of its top athletes, wrapped up yesterday in Thousand Oaks. It was the Amgen Tour of California bike race, and is seen as a lead-in to the Tour de France in July.
The Tour of California covered 8 stages, beginning at Lake Tahoe. It included many of the world’s best cyclists, including California resident Levi Leipheimer, who placed second to fellow American Chris Horner. In Europe, where bike racing is as popular as soccer and Formula One auto racing, many racers are household names. In the U.S., bike racing has more of a cult status, even among the many commuter biking enthusiasts at blogging.la.
However, the Tour of California could change that. Cult members showed up along the route, or followed the action on the Versus cable channel or website. The weather was excellent, and the route showcased much of the beauty of Central and Southern California. In particular, on Saturday, the riders climbed more than 6,000 feet up Mt. Baldy (i.e., Mt. San Antonio), the 10,000+ foot highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains that border the Los Angeles area, and the snow-capped biggie that many of us see outside our windows. The “Mt. Baldy” climb could become an iconic staple of the Tour of California the way the infamous Alpe D’Huez has for the Tour de France.
It was an exciting race, and a great chance to show off our neck of the woods to the world, and, hopefully, to some Americans too.
As someone who rides bikes in Los Angeles, who is obsessed with subcultures, and who walks the line on cool kid wannabeness, it’s no surprise that Takeover LA is one of my daily reads. If you aren’t into bikes then it’s likely of no interest to you, but if you are this is a rabbit hole that runs very, very deep. TOLA (as it’s more commonly known) is an LA blog in that the authors live in LA, the post about LA events, post videos of LA stuff and LA is in the title of the site, though I’d argue it’s focus is really more about the fixed gear / track bike scene. They write about stuff they are into, and since they are in LA a lot of that stuff happens to be in LA as well. There is also no question these are the cool kids, which, not being one of the cool kids, is cool to be able to live vicariously through this blog. It’s a fun guilty pleasure at worst.
On the good side they posts all the time. Really several posts a day on any given day. These are pretty well balanced between videos, photos, events, reviews and profiles. I can’t say I’m totally down with some of the fashion they endorse but I’m old so that’s to be expected I think. If you wanted a good idea what is cool in the fixed gear scene right this very second, you could read TOLA for one day, and no other site, and have a very good idea. They are seriously all over this, and I really appreciate passion in a blog. There’s no question they are into the stuff they are writing about.
On the bad side, I’d challenge you to find a single review on the site that says anything negative about the product they are reviewing. I’d also challenge you to find a review that doesn’t causally mention that the product they are reviewing was given to them free. I’d also challenge you to find a review that didn’t say that said free products were awesome. Ethically, this is a little suspect. I don’t really trust their reviews because of this, are they giving this product a good review because they like it or because they got it free? It’s hard to tell. I wish they talked more about stuff they thought was lame or not awesome, or stuff they just bought for themselves because they wanted rather than only stuff given to them for free. That would add a ton of credibility in my book, but again, I’m old. So take that how ever you will.
Having participated in Bike Week going back to its beginnings in the mid-1990s, it’s good to see how far the events have come from such humble origins. But one thing that’s always perplexed me through those years is how big the collective emphasis is on biking “to” work, with pretty much a total divorce from that whole “from” part.
Though the Law of Commuting states, “What goes out, must come back,” year in and year out Bike Week organizers ignore that all-important second part. On the designated “Bike To Work Day” that “To” part is taken literally. Mornings are chock full of strategic events and pitstops and various freebies, sprinkled with the occasional councilpersons who’ll don helmets and grins and pedal under an MTA sign and past a camera pool. And if you’re in the right place as you pedal, you might find a few scattered Starbucks that’d give up a free drip coffee if you rolled there before 9 a.m.
But pretty much after that hour things are broken down and packed up and put away — which is literally half-assed; a willingly missed opportunity to keep the good vibrations and awareness going on for that integral return trip. Well, with this coming edition of Bike Week (May 16-20; with Bike To Work Day on May 19) I’m pleased to report some progress has been made. Not by the city or the county or Metro, but rather by the LA County Bicycle Coalition who for better or worse is gonna help returning cyclists get their drink on.