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August 09, 2006

Thank You LACBC!

The scene is a small, cramped, 8th floor office in an old, refurbished building in downton Los Angeles....

The 2 members of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition are deep into discussing whatever it is that such advocates of cycling talk about during the long 8 hour days they put in at the office when in walks a dude wearing a bike helmet, and carrying a bag.

The puts his finger to his lips, gazes mischieviously at them, and says:

"There's a Right-Wing Cyclist in the building!"

"Where?" is the reply...

"Why, me, of course", says the helmeted one, with a smile, "I'm The Cycling Dude". ;-D

Let me start at the beginning....

A few days ago I received an e-mail from someone in LA named Valerie.

She was looking for a route for a bike ride from downtown LA Balboa Park in San Diego her and some friends were hoping to take later this month.

She is relative new to cycling, it seems, and bravely jumped in with some long distance rides before deciding on this one:

I got into cycling this past Feb.- trained for the AIDS Lifecycle (SF to LA in
early June).  It was a great experience, feeling stronger as the week progress.
Prior to that I did a double century (Sat./Sun)from Santa Monica to Santa
Barbara and back with Shifting Gears, which was fantastic.  This is purly a
hobbie, but am used to riding for many hours at a time.  This weekend I did 2
45 mile rides back to back.

Having written about my rides from Seal Beach to Oceanside I was able to provide that part of the route, and tell her that she could get to Seal Beach, from the LA River Bikeway, on Pacific Coast Highway.

It was the beginning , and ending, that needed to be worked out.

I have long had a route from Oceanside to San Ysidro mapped out, but there was a question about one section north of downtown San Diego, along a dedicated Bike Trail, that I've had no answer for.

This Sunday  I'll go down for a ride on this trail to get my answer.

Yesterday I solved the 1st stage by exploring the portion of the LA River Bikeway, from Long Beach to Vernon, for the 1st time ( I'd done the Long Beach part years ago as part of a ride that begins on the Rio Hondo Trail in El Monte ).

The ride to downtown LA, from where I started, at PCH, is a 23 mile ride, with Bikeway part about 15 miles of the ride.

Getting off at the end point of the Bikeway, Atlantic Blvd. you continue with a nearby right on District/ Leonis Blvd., turn right on Soto, left on 1st, then right on Alameda to arrive at Union Station ( alternatively you could continue on Soto to turn left at Cesar Chavez, and ride to Union Station. ).

The reverse of this is Vals start to her journey.

It is one that will reward her with the joy of admiring some really cool mural artwork, on the sides of buildings, from those with Hispanic themes to one long, and gorgeous, one at the packing plant of a a very famous company, just before she leaves Soto to head for the Bikeway.

Once I got to Union Station I had one more stop to make, before dinner, and that was the LACBC office on Spring St.

I had only thought to stay for 15 min., leaving my card, and a few flyers, and maybe getting a few copies of the recent issues of their newsletter, but ended up visiting for just over an hour!

Matt Benjamin is the Planning Director, and Monica Howe is the Outreach Manager, of the LACBC, and they were very interested in what I had to say about The Cycling Dude, and I spent time talking about it, my purposes, and goals, and showing it to them on their computer screens.

They seemed suprised at the amount of links I'd compiled, and impressed by my efforts.

I told them about an inaccuracy on the LA BIKE MAP that I discovered on my ride ( Leonis and District, are the same, with Downey Rd. the dividing line, but only Leonis is on the map. ), and informed them of the death of the creator of a certain popular website ( Ken Kifer ), and the history of Bike Shops ( See my sidebar for a list of old shops, and this archive. ), that they did not know.

They were kind enough to provide me with a nember of things in addition to copies of their newsletter, The Bicycle Times ( Also available as a PDF Doc on their site. ):

The 2005 Ventura County Bikeways Map.

The 2003 Santa Clarita Bike Trails Map. ( This moring Parks and Rec promised to mail me the new one! )

Pima County Az. -- SHARE THE ROAD 2006: A Guide for Bicyclists, and Motorists.

This booklet is a wonderful little resource of tips, and vehicle code info, even detailing the cost of various fines!

A phone call, this morning, to the office of the Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, will get me a copy of the current Pima County/Tucson Metro Bike Map sent in the mail!

A Flyer about the Better World Club, which bills itself as providing the nations only Bicycle Roadside Assistance.

THANK YOU LACBC!!

In the 3 years I've been blogging I've focused so much on compiling links that I've not had time to explore them, and write about them, but now I believe it's time to start, thus doing more to explain why the sites are useful, and worth your time to explore, and make use of.

Besides many of them are useful resources for cycling news, and events, to Blog about, as well.

After my visit i rode over to one of the oldest ( Born in 1908! ), and most popular, restuarants downtown for dinner: Philippe: The Original.

While it has an extensive menu it is justly famous for its French Dip Sandwiches.

I had the Lamb, along with sides of their wonderful potato, and macaroni salads, washed down with 2 bottles of beer ( I took the train, and bus, home, so don't freak out! ).

Best $15 I ever spent! ;-D

The dining experience, and the atmosphere, of this establishment are hard to adequately describe in words. You must experience it to understand why people adore the place, including Dodger fans, and Bicyclists.

After dinner I went to Union Station, and commited my 2 Good Deeds for the Day!

2 cyclists recently arrived after a ride from Seattle were trying to find out what bus to take to get to Orange County, and where to catch it, and so i gave them my Bus book, and directions.

An elderly, disabled African-American gentleman ws having a hell of a time figuring out the new ticket machines for Metrolink, so I, never having used the infernal contraption myself helped him get his ticket.

I then headed downtown to start my own journey home, discovering along the way just how much the area is changing with new businesses, and expensive Loft Apartments sprouting in old buildings that the last time I was there, a few years ago, were long abandoned, and looked awful from the outside.

Skid row is still there, and so are panhandlers, and crime, but real, significant, change is in the air in all parts of the downtown.

August 9, 2006 in The Opinionated DUDE | Permalink

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