August 09, 2007

Slow Pokes: PCH to Will Rogers State Beach

So here you are, quite proud of yourself for making it this far, with the mountains now behind you ( Part 1 is here, for late comers. ).

The next stretch will take you along the busy, and crowded, Pacfiic Coast Highway, to the start of the Coastal Bike Trail that begins at the beach at Temescal Canyon Rd.

When one thinks of PCH, beaches come to mind. There are plenty of them, and the views to match. 20 miles worth! Tall waves, crashing surf, rocks, and sand, sand, sand........

Escondido Beach, Dan Blocker, Puerco, Amarillo, Malibu, Carbon, La Costa, Las Flores, Big Rock, Las Tunas, Topanga, Will Rogers, and finally Santa Monica.

Mali_ri20 The next 4 miles, to Malibu Rd., still have the great views of the beaches and the islands, on clear days.

The winds off the ocean is a cooling breeze to be savored by the cyclist, and gives one the 3rd wind you need for the return to Santa Monica.

This picture is looking south on PCH, from Zumirez Dr.

As you can see there is that narrow lane, on the right, where cyclists can seperate themselves from traffic.

Pacific Coast Highway IS a Bike Route, and there are the little green signs, every so often, to point this fact out, but that doesn't mean the Route doesn't present problems for cyclists.

For 1 thing, as you will see, that nice wide strip, above, disappears quite often, and even when its there, you can't use it because cars are allowed to park there.

When you have to deal with parked cars on your right, and bumper to bumper traffic on your left, the sandwich you frequently find yourself in requires careful navigating to come out the other side unscathed.

Mali_ri21 What you see here is the hill at Malibu Cove Colony.

At the bottom, on the right, is the entrance.

The road, on the right is a dead end, and even if it wasn't, you can't go there because the Community is private, and you won't get past the security checkpoint.

You have to take the hill.

C'mon, it ain't THAT hard, compared to what came before, hee, hee. ;-D

As you travel you will encounter entrances to private residential properties of all sorts, especially the vaunted Beachfront Properties owned by celebs who think they own the beachfront, and try to use security to intimidate people from using those sections the public is supposed to have access to ( All sorts of news stories came out, the last few years, over this controversy. )

Mali_ri22 Now the true fun begins, as you hit the 1st stretch of road along the beaches.

Doesn't that look like fun? ;-D

As you can tell, in the foreground, you are forced to ride in the door zone of a row of parked cars.

You have to watch for people so intent on getting their tans, or catching a wave, that they may not be looking behind them 1st before opening their car doors.

Not to mention those folks, in, or out, of their cars, preparing to leave, or waiting to, or trying to, park.

Taking the lane is riskier, because there is so much traffic, going so fast, and if you slow the little darlings down, and cause a back-up, for even a couple of blocks, they ain't gonna be happy. ;-D

The good news is that you will not have to take that hill over to Pepperdine University.

Do you see that red car near the top of the picture?

Your salvation is on its right. ;-D

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Enter Malibu Rd. at a WRONG WAY sign on the right, by WALKING YOUR BIKE, along this one way exit, when it's safe to do so, until you reach the 2 way street a few yards in, and, 3 miles later,  say thanks to the road builders for this nice bypass of a nasty PCH hill. ;-D

The view ( Of the beach, of the beach!! Jeez, keep your eyes on the road, ok! ) is quite nice just before you head into this little residential community. ;-D

Mali_ri24

It's 9 miles from Webb Way to the Bike Path entrance in the parking lot of Will Rogers State Beach at Temescal Canyon Rd..

Luckily, for all of us that SUV, that appears to want to make a turn on to PCH, was unoccupied.

I DID run into a couple that were, and had drivers that were not paying attention.

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This genius sped past me on the left, unannounced, and he was not the only one.

To get to the Bike Path you MUST, it bears repeating, beware of a several mile stretch of PCH clogged with traffic.

All these years later nothing has changed.

I felt like I was in a Cyclists version of The Charge of the Light Brigade, minus the cannon.

Parked cars and foot traffic to the right of me, potential traffic violations to the left of me, rumble, rumble, zoom, zoom! I felt trapped.

Mali_26id

There are the problems caused by cyclists coming up from behind you...

Then there are the occasional mindless morons coming, hell bent for leather, right at you!

This idiot has a companion, just beyond him, that I could not get into the shot.

Finally the Bike Path is reached, and truly safe, and sane, riding conditions await!

For the most part. ;-D

Proceed to the final chapter!

August 9, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Slow Pokes: Kanan Road to PCH

So here you are...  lunch is over, you are rested, from the past 29 1/2 miles  ( Part 1 is here, for late comers. ), and ready roll.

And damned if you don't have another choice to make!

Ain't life a, ah never mind, here's the deal:

Back at the Rock Store you saw several cyclists pass by, after obviously coming from where Mulholland Highway met Kanan Dume, and you have my original story, from all those years ago, in which I reported the following encounter at the Rustic, where you now sit:

I talked to a mtn. biker with a flat, and a couple of motorcyclists, and came to the conclusion that I might be better off ignoring a portion of the route slip once I started out again.

You see, the slip called for returning to Mulholland, and heading right on a winding road , similar to the climb from Pepperdine, to reach Kanan Dume Rd.. But, by staying on Kanan Rd. I would supposedly take a little longer, but easier, direct route to the same spot.

Well, like then, I exited the parking lot, and turned left on Kanan Rd. ;-D

What choice you make in the same situation will, I'm sure, be partially based on what you see next in the pictures  I took, and a bit of new info I learned upon reaching Kanan Dume. ;-D

Mali_ri12 So off I go again, up, up, and away!

Don't let that wide space between the white line, and the curbside, fool ya...

it ain't like that way, all the way to PCH, and you have 3 tunnels to deal with, too. ;-D

In the years since my 1st ride, the amount of traffic, on this stretch, has increased, thus requiring cyclists to pay extra attention to their surroundings as they struggle up the several climbs they have to make to reach the 1st tunnel, on Kanan Dume, past the connection with Mulholland.

A mile up, and I do mean up Kanan Rd., well, let's just say that if you are a cyclist, used to handling hills, then you will be able to handle your gears accordingly, and not do like people such as myself, and walk a few times. ;-D

I did not see another cyclist until I had returned to PCH.

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There's an old saying about how walking does a body good.

Well, I walked the next miles or so, past 2 tunnels.

Unlike the last time I found not money, and apparently, the wedding gig, that was announced with a sign, finally ended, too, because there was no sign. ;-D

Along the way I got honked at several times, especially along stretches such as this one, and I wasn't even in the way of traffic.

I think they were just jealous that they weren't in my place, enjoying a nice leisurely pedal, and stroll, in the mountains. ;-D

The views up here are quite something to behold, and you find yourself close to nature despite the traffic.

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After taking in this particular view ( Finally! A Dale, after all them hills! ) I continued on my way until I approached the intersection where Kanan Rd. becomes Kanan Dume, at Mulholland.

This time around I encounter a Highway Patrolman, and an ambulance dealing with some guy in an SUV, while a couple of Park Rangers stood nearby.

I approached the Rangers, and asked for their opinions about riding Mulholland as opposed to where I'd just been.

From where we stood to the Rock Cafe, its a winding downhill, they said, but the reverse is actually a tougher climb than what I went through.

Ok, fine, I'm a genius, for apparantly making the better of 2 hard choices. ;-D

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As I continued on I encountered a man parked on the side of the road taking his own pictures, and got him to take one of me.

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A couple of more climbs, and winding roads, plus 1 more tunnel, were ahead before the payoff for putting oneself through this begins.

Finally I reached the last tunnel, Tunnel 1, and just before it is the parking lot for The Backbone Trail:

The Trail roughly follows the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains for ~70 miles from Point Mugu State Park to Will Rogers Historical State Park near the city of Santa Monica.

As one website says: "It is so named, in part, for the resemblance of the knobby appearance of the volcanic ridges to the projections (vertebrae) on a spinal column."

This particular spot connects you with that portion of the trail that goes 13 miles to PCH.

The National Park Service website is the best place to learn about the trail, and see maps, and pictures.

They also have an informative  section on Mountain Biking info, and tips ( Y'all, remember to yield to them there Horses, now, ya hear? ;-D )

This is all part of the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, and as I collected a few fliers I learned this spot was Bus Stop, too.

I had seen some Shuttle Busses with bike racks, up there, all day, and was wondering about them, because they were not there before.

It is called the ParkLink Shuttle:

Take the ParkLink Shuttle to National Park, California State Park, and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Sites in the heart of the recreation area.

The Shuttle is free, weekend, service, and  you can take it for a tour, or take it to beach, and mountain locations.

The bike rack is one of the 3 space variety.

The website has more details such as stop locations, Route Map, and Schedule.

Knowing this can come in handy if you have a problem with your bike, so check out the site.

When I was at the Backbone stop,there were 9 cars in the parking lot, which meant that hikers, and bikers would be returning at some point, so I left the last of the books I was doing BookCrossing Releasing of in the mountains, there, and pedaled on my way. ;-D

It was 215pm. ;-D

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Your reward for reaching Kanan Dume Rd., and having endured the 1st 35 miles of your ride is the 8% grade that is the final 4 miles of heaven that is the road down, down to PCH.

At one point you can pull off the road at a View Stop with a spectacular view of the coast that is even more so, on a clearer day than this one.

Mali_ri18 

No pedaling, and careful brake management allows one to enjoy the scenery of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and the gorgeous, clear and unobstructed view of the ocean off Point Dume, and the coastal islands between Malibu and Santa Monica.

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So finally, there you are whizzing down the last stretch to PCH, wind in your hair, what parts of it are sticking out from under your helmet...

Hey, wait a minute!

Um, you ARE wearing your helmet right?

The reason I ask, is because of that sign on the right... something about a "Runaway Vehicle Escape Median - 500 Ft. - Merge Left".

They ain't just talking about them 4 wheel boxes with doors, ya know. ;-D

It was nice of the city to put a bench on the corner at PCH, all those years ago, and I was more than glad to see it still there so I could sit, and rest a bit.

Proceed to the next chapter, as I begin to head south on Pacific Coast Highway, and civilization beckons. ;-D

August 9, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 08, 2007

Slow Pokes 2007: Malibu Canyon to Kanan Road

Mali_ri5 By the time you reach this spot you have travelled 16 miles ( See the Intro. ), and have a serious climb ahead of you.

But this one's easy, trust me, compared to others you will face. ;-D

I ran into a couple of Lady cyclists, just beyond this spot, who thought I was nuts for trying the ride I planned, alone ( Go with the LA Wheelmen, they said! ), and seemed disinclined to believe me when I said I'd done it alone before, and why ( Because the Wheelmen left me behind. ).

In addition to my Camelbak full of 100oz. of water mixed with 2 packets of fruit flavored Crystal Light powder, and a 1 lb. bag of Trader Joe's Pacific Shores All fruit Trail Mix, I had a plastic bag with my lunch of 2 sandwiches, and apple, and a banana. ).

Mali_ri6

It is  7 miles along Malibu Canyon Rd., past the tunnel, where it soon became Las Virgenes Rd., and up, up, to the Mulholland Highway intersection.

At the tunnel is a turn-off, like this one, and there I left another one of the BookCrossing Releases ( Like those in Pt. 1, there's a picture! ) in my panier. ;-D

The Rollies were a breeze, and the scenery was lovely as I passed State Park Lands, the climb impressive, but quite manageable, all the way to Mulholland.

Mali_ri7

So here I am, loitering on a street corner in the middle of near nowhere, at Las Virgenes Rd., and Mulholland Highway.

The cliff where I saw the Buck, and his Harem, was no longer there, and that saddened me.

There are hiking, and biking, jogging, and camping opportunites aplenty up here, and people park where they can, and are allowed.

At this point you have a choice to make:

Take the long ride like me, and hang a Left, or hang a Right, for a shorter ride back to the park ( Mulholland Highway, Left on Mulholland Dr., Right on Ventura Blvd., Right on Sepulveda ( Parallel to the San Diego Frwy. ) all the way back to Ohio, for a total of about 57 miles, start to finish. )

Mali_ri8

So hang a left, and follow me into Malibu State Park!!

Up, up, and up some more!

I was passed by several cyclists, who experessed concern when they saw me walking my bike along several stretches, but I smiled, and said I had forgotten how tough some of these hill were!

Mali_ri9 You have to be very careful up here as the roads are narrow, and along many long stretches that white line on the right has nothing between it, and the side of the road.

Up to this pont you may have noticed the cyclists in my pictures.

I saw them coming, and going, until I reached Kanan Rd., and then nobody until I again reached PCH.

Most were along, and of the Spandexed, Need for Speed, Daredevil variety, using the narrow, winding, hilly, roads of the mountains as their own personal Tour de France type challenge.

These people need to seriously slow down, take in the scenery, and smell the good clean air.

I'm just sayin' is all. ;-D

I noticed some new housing tracts up there, and some new paving on some stretches of rorad.

The above intersection, at Mulholland,  and Lake Vista Rd./Cornell Rd., for 1, or more detours, for a few extra miles:

A Left on Lake Shore takes you past Malibu Lake ( Actually Malibou Lake, despite what the maps say! )  before returning to Mulholland.

A Right on Cornell, to the historic Paramount Ranch, where Hollywood has been filming since 1927, and there are plenty of hiking opportunities.

As for me I just stayed on Mulholland. ;-D

Mali_ri10

Eventually I come to Sierra Creek Rd., and staying the course went a bit further, on Mulholland, to find where all those numerous Harleys that had been passing me since Pepperdine had been heading. ;-D

The famous Rock Store Cafe, is located at 30354 Mulholland Hwy , in the mountain Community of Cornell.

The Rock Store is the most famous motorcycle stop in Southern California and has been featured in many commercials, films, music videos, television productions and magazine photos.

It is a famous hangout not just for regular folk and their families, but Motorcycle Enthusiasts from your neighbor to the notorious Hell's Angels, and celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jay Leno, and others.

My experience this time pretty much matched the one last time, except that me, and the bike, were proud, confident, and unafraid!:

As I walked my Bicycle (hard to say who was more nervous there for a moment, me or my trusty steed) thru the crowd of what turned out to be mostly ordinary folk, with only a handful of Hell's Angels, my smile grew wide as I noticed all the Harleyholics eyeing me up and down with varying degrees of puzzlement and amusement.

Of course, I left another book behind before moving on. ;-D

Returning back to Sierra Creek Rd. I turn Left, and follow it a short distance to its end at Kanan Rd.

Mali_ri11

The popular Rustic Canyon Grocery and Grill is located on this short road that connects Mulholland Highwy with Kanan Rd. , in the mountain Community of Cornell ( This spot is also known as barely a part of Agoura Hills, and that city is its "official" location ), east of Malibu.

It is a popular stop in the mountains for cyclists, hikers, and campers.

As one website for Motorcyclists says about it: "Good Parking, Good Food, Good Prices, around the corner from the Rock Store, just not quite as crowded.";-D

Oh, and it's a popular Wednesday "Watering Hole" for a group of friendly MotorCycle Enthusiasts know as The Weasels:

"A Drinking Club With a Motorcycle Problem Since 1993, and A Legend in Motorcycling Since Earlier This Week!" ;-D

After enhancing my packed lunch of 2 Baloney Sandwiches, fruit trail mix, an Apple, and banana, with a purchase of potato salad, and a 24oz. Bud Light, I spent a leisurely hour resting, and reading the Sunday paper. ;-D

After riding a strenouous 13 1/2 miles, don't you think I needed an hour to rest, and recuperate? ;-D

If you have biked the whole way, from the park start, to Kanan, you will have travelled 29 1/2 miles.

It was 1135am when I got there.

Yes, I left a book here, too. ;-D

Proceed to the next chapter! ;-D

August 8, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Slow Pokes DO Have All the Fun 2007: An Intro

08_06_18 On Sunday I put Pedal to Pavement, and went Hog Wild with the camera, while visiting the area surrounding a legendary Cyclist Hangout in the Santa Monica Mountain Range above Malibu, CA.

As you can see my stylish ride ( On the end of the row, on the right. ) fit in quite nicely with all the great looking cycles around me. ;-D

No, I didn't leave it there during my short visit. ;-D

Anyway this series of posts is a long overdue step to begin enhancing old ride posts with pictures, now that I have a digital camera to play with.

I originally took the ride in the Spring of 2002 when I joined a group of cyclists from the famous Los Angeles Wheelmen Club.

I naively thought I'd be able to keep up, but... well, read the original story:

Slow Pokes DO Have All the Fun! ( Posted on January 6th, 2003 as the 3rd entry written for this Blog. )

It is my hope that this update serves as a complimentary piece, one a bit more serious, to the one of naivete, and exuberant sense of accomplishment, that was the original. ;-D

My approach, this year, was not to ride the whole ride, but skip the northbound PCH portion, and take the MTA 534, from Temescal Canyon Rd. to Pepperdine University, because I wanted to include pics for the more dangerous, in many respects, southbound PCH side of the stretch from Pepperdine to Topanga Canyon Rd. ( Which is actulally a bit further north of Temescal. )

Another reason was that I had 10 books in my panier, 7 of which I was going to Release "Into the Wild" as a member of BookCrossing.

Each book is placed in a plastic bag, with a yellow book with arms, and legs, the words "Free Book!", and a brief explanation of BookCrossing. ( If you decide to join me as what I call a Bicycling Bookworm of BookCrossing, use Sneakeasy as your Referrer! )

Up in the mountains, except for some more housing, little has changed.

The route is just as challenging

Since that ride I moved to Orange County, and so how I got to the start was a little different.

Anyone living in the OC, and does not have a car, can connect the westbound OCTA 60, on 17th St./Westminster Blvd., on its way to downtown Long Beach. ( Get a $3 day pass on the 1st bus you take. )

Once there you can take the Metro Blue Line Train ( Get a $5 day pass from a machine before getting on the train. ) downtown to 7th and Grand, and catch the MTA 20 West on Wilshire, at Flower, and get off at Wilshire and Bonsall ( The 1st stop west of Sepulveda. ), then head South on Sepulveda to the park.

People in LA County can use Foothill Transit, Culver City Transit, Torrance Transit, and Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus, to connect with the MTA 20, or even the Rapid 720, along Wilshire. ( Links to all agencies mentioned are here. ) 

Mali_ri1 Cycling is NOT just about speed and exercise, but about taking the time to stop and see the deer, if you are lucky! ) and Harleyholics ( There are plenty of those on the weekends! )......

Westwood Park has 2 sections, and this was the smaller side, and after leaving my 1st book behind, and taking a picture of it, I set out at 7am. ;-D

West on Ohio.

Right on Barrington.

Left on San Vicente.

Right on 7th and along Entrada, and the West Channel Rd. to PCH I went.

Along the way I left a book outside a Whole Foods Market. ;-D

Mali_ri2 The good thing about riding in the bike lane along San Vicente is that no cars can park on your right for most of the day.

A few blocks beyond this spot 2 cyclists came up un-announced, from behind me, one on each side, and sped past me, with out a word.

As I approach my turn at 7th i found that I'd caught them at a light.

Me: Hey, aren't you the 2 that sandwiched me, without warning, a couple of miles back? Don't you know it's common courtesy to announce yourself when passing someone?

1 piece of spandexed "White" bread on wheels: Sorry! ( Sounding very annoyed that I should have the nerve to complain. )

Me: Just remember the next time you pull a stunt like that.

They were not the 1st to pass me unnounced that day, and far from the last, even on PCH.

Mali_ri3 I finally reached Pacific Coast Highway, at West Channel Rd., and headed north.

Notice the lack of room on the right?

You have many opportunities to hug that white line all the way to the turn off to Pepperdine, though there are some places where the space between the line, and the curb, is wider, and there are places where cars are parked on the side of the road.

If you know how to handle your gears, keep your eyes on traffic around you, and try not to treat PCH as a straight-waway on the Tour de France, the ride along here is a breeze.

Along the way you will see several yellow warning signs along the side of the road warning motorists about the presence of cyclists, and to "Share the Road'.

Over the last few years there have been cyclists killed, and injured, all up and down PCH, from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara, and "Careful" is truly the all important watchword for everyone who uses this famous highway.

Mali_ri4

At PCH, and Temescal Canyon, I caught the MTA 534 ( You can take this bus past Kanan Dume into north Malibu. ).

For the cyclist who continues on up PCH the next change in route comes with a Right on Webb Way, and a Left on Civic Center, and up a hill toward Pepperdine University.

Now, if you need to go potty, you can do so at some place off PCH near Webb, or climb a couple of more short hills onto the Pepperdine Campus to find a restroom because the next potty is at that place in my 1st picture, or another, less crowded, store/restuarant a couple of miles away. ;-D

I got off the bus at Malibu Canyon Rd, and Civic Center, rode up into Pepperdine, to a church, and left another book. ;-D

I returned to where I got off the bus, and prepared to head up into the mountains.

It was 830am. ;-D

Proceed to Part 2....

August 8, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 13, 2007

Acura Bike Tour: Dining, Diplomacy, and Dissent

NOTE: For latecomers to this series Part 1 can be found here ( And includes the chapters about my day at the Quality of Life Expo. )

NOTE 2: For latecomers interested in my coverage of the 2007 Acura L.A. Bike Tour only, begin here.

After leaving the aftermath of the Tour I went in search of food.

I rode my bike on an uphill journey, northwest of Downtown, to the fabled corner of Beverly and Rampart.

It is there that, for over 60 years Burgers, Hot Dogs, and French Fries, have intermingled, in orgasmic nirvana, with the most divine Chili ever made.

So special that to sit down to eat would be blasphemy!

I had only 1 place in mind, diet be damned!

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Original Tommy's! Accept no substitutes! Unless, of course it is one of its other 29 locations in Southern California ( You are forgiven for the sin of sitting ONLY if you eat your meal at one of these locations. ( If you take your meal home, especially from the Beverly location... Bow your head before the meal, cross yourself, and say 10 Hail Tommy's, before eating, and all will be forgiven!) ;-D

I hadn't been to this location in years!

I got a little entertainment, in the way of a Hispanic Domestic Drama, with my meal, too. ;-D

I was in line when 5 teens ( 4 girls, and a guy, all about 16. ) got in line behind me.

One of the girls said she was just gonna order the meat patty.

I turned toward with an appalled look on my face...

"Just the meat! Just the meat?  What the heck is you thinkin' woman? You DON'T come to Tommy's just for the MEAT!

I'll have you know I came all the way from Santana, and I didn't come just for the meat!"

As they all busted out laughing, I turned to the guy making the burgers, and pleaded:

"Hey! Talk to this young lady, will you, man? She only wants to order the MEAT!! Please explain to her the error of her ways!"

Anyway, it turned out to be the happiest moment of their stop at Tommy's.

They came over to my spot along the wall of stand up counters, where I had been chatting with a nice older Hispanic man and his wife, about the Tour, and set their orders on the counter.

Next thing I know one of the gals is upset as the guy gets in the car, and leaves them all standing there.

I guess one of the Girls called her Mother for a ride, and then that mother called another Mother, and this led the girls to try to co-ordinate the story of why they had been out ALL NIGHT.

Something about ending up sleeping together at a hotel, led them to try to pinpoint a suitable hotel in the area, whose name, and location, they could be vague about.

I heard comments about Mom's going to be "pissed", and "I'm going to be SOOO screwed!"

Suddenly a car pulls up, and The Wrath of God, in the form of a fiery, tiny, Mexican Mama, probably about 35, gets out.

She wades into the circle of girls...

"Never again!" Never again, Mijo! You will NEVER go out with them again!! Get in the car, now!!"

2 of the girls got in, leaving the other 2 stunned, and depressed, where they stood.

They were silent for another 10 minutes, then a van pulls up with a couple of other women, including 1, about 50 or so, who had obviously been crying, and the girls got in.

All the food had been long forgotten, and left behind.

During this who drama, I,  on one side, and my 2 new acquaintances, on the other, could only watch.

Actually I picked up my book, and pretended to be reading as I ate..... ;-D

After the dust had settled, and they were gone, we looked at each other, and I smiled, and said....

"Man, that was one furious Mama! If South Central, and East LA, had more like her, that inner city would be cleaned up in a hurry!"

The gentleman smiled at that, and made the point that the guy in the group was trouble, and the young must learn from their mistakes.

He agreed with my observation that the Mama obviously looked like she had once made the same mistakes, and was trying to keep her daughter from doing the same.

After this bit of excitement I head out for Hollywood, on the Metro Red Line Train, to ride down Hollywood Blvd., from Vine west to Graumann's Chinese Theatre, and the Kodak Theatre, near Highland.

Along the few blocks around this intersection of entertainment venues can be found some enterprising men, and women, dressed to appear as famous characters in film.

Give them a nice little tip, and you can get your picture taken with your favorite. ;-D

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Look closely at where I'm pointing the Blaster.

I didn't realize it until I got home, and saw the picture.

No wonder Darth was so friendly, and co-operative! ;-D

In a bit of masterful Intergalactic Diplomacy I got a Wookie to take the above photo.

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When I returned to the Metro Station, near Hollywood, and Vine, I encountered  a staple of the Los Angeles Cycling Scene.

Critical Mass is the best known element of the Bike Protest Movement in LA, but hardly the only protestors around who use the Bicycle to spread their various messages.

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A small group of a dozen cyclists, 1 of whom wielded a Microphone, had staked out the corner of this busy intersection, across from the Pantages Theatre, for an hour in preperation for their little protest ride.

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I must say they were a friendly bunch. ;-D

The guy with the microphone rushed up upon seeing me, stuck the mike in my face, and asked me about the Dude.

Boy, that Microphone is loud, and the sound carries quite a distance. ;-D

So, finally, I headed home, tired, but happy, after a very long, and interesting day. ;-D

March 13, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

Acura Bike Tour: The Medal, The Surprise, and The Networking

NOTE: For latecomers to this series Part 1 can be found here ( And includes the chapters about my day at the Quality of Life Expo. )

NOTE 2: For latecomers interested in my coverage of the 2007 Acura L.A. Bike Tour only, begin here.

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There it is!

The pretty litle bauble that is your reward for riding the full 21.6 miles, mastering hills, tiredness, and the pain in your legs on a sunny Sunday morning in Los Angeles. ;-D







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Many thanks are owed to the members of the Redondo Union High School Marine Corps Jr. ROTC, of Redondo Beach, CA., for the Civil Service they provided in helping to pass out the medals to bicyclists who completed the ride.

Your friendliness, good humor, dedication, and patriotism, are greatly appreciated, and bode well for the future of our great nation.





Bike_t20_1  Similar thanks are also owed to the members of the University of Southern California Naval ROTC for their help in this task as well.

I especially got a chuckle from this guy who demonstrated the genius that his high priced college edumication has instilled in him by devising a brilliant way to pass out medals in a quick, and efficient, manor that led to the line moving faster. ;-D





Bike_t21_1This picture allows me to give you a closer look at the, um, adjustments I had made to the posters I snagged at the Expo ( Crossing out the word RUN, in exchange for BICYCLE, and writing in my blog name, and URL. )

Thanks are also due the volunteers who manned several stations where people could safely leave their bikes while going potty, checking out the various booths, nearby, and and generally realxing, and chatting with friends, family, and other cyclists.

For the next few hours people hung out, eating, chatting, relaxing, buying the odd T-shirt, and other items, and enjoying the day.

I kept my bike close to me, as I circled the area, not intending to stick around too long, as I had other places I wanted to go.

Bike_t29_1 The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition had a booth, and I snatched up a copy of the brand new edition of its Bicycle Resource Guide.

When I visited their office, a few months ago, and they added me to their resource page on the website, the new guide was not yet ready.

As described on their website:

"Our new handbook on everything you need to know about biking in L.A. – includes shop listings and government contacts by city, advocacy groups and cycling clubs, tips and tricks for maintaining your bike and getting around the city, and a guide to bike laws and advocacy. Forty-six pages of essential information."

Later in the day, when I had time to look thru the booklet, I discovered, to my surprise, and great pleasure, something quite delightful.

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Yes, that is The Cycling Dude listed as a Local Community Resource! ;-D

Very cool! ;-D

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This picture gives you sense of the number of people hanging out in the aftermath of the ride.

See the guy, relaxing on the wall, with his legs crossed? ;-D

I stopped by the REI booth, and mentioned that I was a member who got his card at the Huntington Beach Store, and I found myself in conversation with Lyndie Bradshaw, who works out of that store and, it turns out, is the new Outreach Specialist for the area.

When I mentioned my Blog, and my intention to see about leaving a flier at the store, I learned what her job was, and she asked me to tell her about the Blog, and e-mail her my flier.

Seems that while it can't be set out near the Bulletin Board in the front of the store, there was some other prominent place it could be displayed, if she decides its appropriate. ;-D

Since she was also looking to learn more about the bicycling opportunities in the OC, I told her about the related stories, and resources, I offer.

Very cool! ;-D

In appreciation of her at lesast chatting with me, and as a show of suppott from a member, I created a free BlogAd, in the sidebar.

I finally left, and headed out on my bike for the ride north to one of my favorite restuarants for lunch.

Turns out things would be quite, um, entertaining there, and later, when I took a jaunt up to Hollywood Blvd. before finally heading home.

Next up -- Dining, Diplomacy, and Dissent: An OC Bicyclist gets up close with the natives in their natural environment.

March 12, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 11, 2007

Acura Bike Tour: Downtown, Koreatown, Trojantown

NOTE: For latecomers to this series Part 1 can be found here ( And includes the chapters about my day at the Quality of Life Expo. )

NOTE 2: For latecomers interested in my coverage of the 2007 Acura L.A. Bike Tour only, begin here.

After a nice downhill off the 6th St. Bridge we head north, west, and south, on Central Ave., 3rd St., and Los Angeles St..

The area along Los Angeles St., and eastward to the LA River, and between maybe Temple, on the north, and 7th on the south, encompased an area long known as LA's infamous Skidrow.

It was not always as bad as you hear.

Once there was a huge Transit Hub near 5th and Los Angeles, where all Mass Transit Bus Agencies, and even Greyhound Busses, came and went, until sometime in the 70's.

It had some fine eating there, too.

The underground  terminal was a mysterious, and entralling, place to a child, and later, teen with a vivid imagination, but toward the end signs of trouble had begun to show themselves, and change came to the area.

The area was also called The Warehouse District.

The homeless took over, and decay, and crime ruled the streets in some portions.

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In recent years, City Hall, Law Enforcement, and Business Interests have begun to reclaim the area, by bringing residential lofts to long abandoned historic buildings all over the Downtown, and bringing in restuarants, clubs, and a developing Arts District, as well and, as we rode through, the homeless problem was barely discernable, for 1 day at least.







As we passed small groups of the areas poorer residents watching us, watching them, we then headed west on 7th, past the Jewelry District, the second-largest Jewelry District in the nation, after New York, and then up Figueroa to meet up with 6th St. again.




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Seems that we were all being buttered up with all the flat riding, the 2 bridges notwithstanding. ;-D

There we are, turning west onto 6th, and suddenly things began to slow down a bit, as everyone who did not know what was coming either ended up struggling to change their gears, for the easy climb, resigned themselves to managing the climb at the gear they were in, or just saying "I Surrender!", and walking their trusty steed up the hill, over the freeway. ;-D




I switched gears in time and as I slowly conquered the hill, kept encouraging my fellows not to give up!

"Come on, You can do it! It ain't THAT hard, come on!" ;-D

What even I had forgotten was that 6th, as it heads west into Koreatown, has several hilly stretches, made tolerable by several downhills.

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Just look that!

Block, after block, after block, of nothing but bicyclists as far as the I can C! ;-D

As I continued on my merry way I met some interesting folks.

There were the many cyclists out for their 1st Tour, and the men, and women, with funny hats.

There were the older men in their recumbents, and the men, and women, with their young children, on tandems, who got laughs out of my inquiring if the one in back ( The kid ) was doing all the work. ;-D

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As we rode thru some residential areas we began to realize that the ride would soon be coming to an end.

With any ride that has so many participants there are always a few mishaps.

Cyclists crash into each other, or crash when going too fast on a crowded downhill.

People get so caught up in the experience, and gawking at the scenery, and matters are made more difficult by the fact that many cyclists are not used to riding in groups of other riders.

Bike_t17It is amazing that accidents are so few .

And then real tragedy strikes when you least expect it.

On Expostion Blvd., west of Vermont Ave. a few blocks short of finishing the ride, a bottleneck has developed.

As we get off our bikes, and walk past the police, fire truck, and ambulance, we see a downed bike, but no rider.

I later learn that the cyclist had suffered a heart attack, and died.

Unawares of the true nature of the scene we had just passed excitement built up as we again got on our bikes, and finished the ride.

Things slowed down again as we arrived at USC, and everyone got off their bikes to slowly walk into the after ride staging area.

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Security kept urging us to not stop, but I pulled over to the left out of the the way of traffic and, pleading the cause of the "New Media", asked if i could take a shot for my blog.

The nice security lady thus announces, LOUDLY, i might add, and with humor in her voice....

"Don't stop, keep going... unless you are a blogger taking a picture, then you can stop for just a second! "

Hee, hee. ;-D

And so, after 2 hours, exactly, I had finished my 3rd Acura Bike Tour.

I was tired, but exhilirated, from the experience.

And proud, too, I might add, to have accomplished something that, once published on my Blog, would be something special in my 4 years of sharing my thoughts, and experiences.

Next up: The Medal, The Surprise, and The Networking.

March 11, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Acura Bike Tour: Bicyclist's, Start Your Pedaling!

NOTE: For latecomers to this series Part 1 can be found here ( And includes the chapters about my day at the Quality of Life Expo. )

NOTE 2: For latecomers interested in my coverage of the 2007 Acura L.A. Bike Tour only, begin here.

Bike_t07 As the sun began to rise we all headed out on Menlo.

Even this early there were many people on the sidewalk, just to watch the spectacle, or setting up water tables, and other booths.

A nice, young, Hispanic lady was kind enough to take this shot for me.






Before I go on let me tell you about the little sign on the panier of my bike. ;-D

At the Expo they were giving out these placards with happy faces, and the word RUN, with a line to write the name of the person you were cheering on.

Genius that I am I saw an opportunity, for promotion staring me in the face, and grabbed 2 of the signs.

I Blocked out RUN, and wrote BICYCLE above it, and wrote my Blog name, and URL, for all to see. ;-D

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Heading out Martin Luther King Blvd. we travel on Jefferson, as well as Adams Blvds.











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At one point I had my 1st encounter with a group of patriotic bicylists. They called themselves "Americans" when asked where they were from but , when pressed, admitted to be friends from all over the region. ;-D

Seems they have shown their patriotism this way for several years in a row. ;-D

If I hadn't noticed it by now, there were people out here who decked out themselves, and/or their trusty steed, for the occasion. ;-D

Funny hats, and funny t-shirts, joined the flag wavers, and me with my signs, to add and amusing mix of Color, silliness, and seriousness, to the proceedings.

Bike_t10 Heading onto 11th street, up San Pedro St., to Olympic Blvd., we get a close look at portions of the famous Fashion District ( AKA: Garment District ).

As the website brags: "The LA Fashion District spans 90 blocks and is the hub of the apparel industry on the West Coast. Retailers, wholesale buyers, designers, stylists, students, shoppers and residents all converge here. Whether you're a wholesale buyer reviewing the latest collections in the District's designer showrooms, or a shopper on the prowl for a bargain - it's all here."

Bike_t11

The 1st hill, and 1st bridge, confront us as we head east on Olympic.

The Olympic Blvd. Bridge takes us out of Downtown and into the western edge of East Los Angeles, in the area along Boyle St.







Bike_t12

The 6th Street Bridge is justly famous as the longest bridge over the Los Angeles River, and for the spectacular view, from east to west, as THIS VERY RECENT PHOTO, does such a gorgeous job of showing.

Can you say 'WOW!"? I knew you could! ;-D

That mile banner is for the Marathon, not the cyclists!





At this point we are just about reaching the halfway point of the ride. ;-D

Next up: We head into a seedier side of Downtown that, in recent years is showing signs of revival, and check out the center of Downtown, before heading westward.

March 11, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2007

Acura Bike Tour: Getting to the Starting Line

NOTE: For latecomers to this series Part 1 can be found here ( And leads to succeeding parts, all, up to this point, about my day at the Quality of Life Expo. )

I'll have you know that, without a car, living in Orange County as I do, and having to make a late night journey, by bus, and bike, into LA, took some planning.

Even then, it didn't go quite as planned. ;-D

Listen my fellow cyclists and you shall be told
Of the 21 mile ride of a bicyclist bold,
On the 4th of March, in 2007;
Nary a TV Reporter was anywhere near
Who covered that famous day and year.

Bike_t02

He said to his Cat , "I set off now, my friend,
By bus and bike from Santa Ana to-night,
I will stop for breakfast, but not at the golden arch.
Of the darkness, and  neighborhood I will not be afright,--
One route by Westminster Blvd., and the 2nd  by Long Beach;

And I will sleep on the 1st, but the 2nd awake I will  be,
Ready to ride thru a dangerous place keeping eyes open to see.

Through Beach city,  and South Central I live a life of charm,
For no-one can touch me, on my steed, or cause me harm."



Then he said "Good-night!" and hugging his friend once more
Silently headed out the door,
Just as a minute after midnight signalled a new day,
Where on the corner the 1st bus stop lay
The Orange County Transit, making one night run more;
A mightly vehicle stopped with a screech
Ready to take him to the beach.
And there was another hulk, that was prepared to go the rest of the way
In its mission to carry him into LA.........

Actually my journey began around 1230am, and Nikita just looked up, yawned, licked my hand good-bye, and went back to sleep.

Bike_t03 I had planned to get off the 2nd bus at a part of Martin Luther King Blvd cut off from the main MLK, near 41st, at 3am, ride west on 41st, and a couple other streets, to re-connect with MLK, and head to the USC Campus.

It was a shorter ride than going into Downtown LA, and dashing south, 45 minutes later.

Alas I could not tell where 41st was, and so played it safe by going into Downtown.

As I got my bearings I saw a fellow cyclist who, it was clear to my, um, well-trained, 4 eyes, was headed toward the Bike Tour.

So I followed him, and a couple of blocks later caught up with him.

After confirming he was heading my way I introduced myself and, as we rode down Figuroa, we chatted about Blogs, bicycling, and the fact that he was going to be doing the marathon after riding the bike tour!

Yesterday, a comment was left to one of my reports, and it was then that I learned the name of this brave individual, and the fact that he is a fellow blogger who, among many other things, writes about cycling.

William Campbell, writes the Blog called [Sic] ( Yes, just like that! ), and is based in LA County.

His reports on his Marathon Exerience over 4 posts, with pictures, beginning here.

In just over a year as a blogger he has a collection of 73 posts on cycling, and counting.

Bike_t04_1

Once there, I went off to check out the quality of the Porto-Potties before heading over to the starting line.

At 4am, people were just beginning to arrive, and one could be forgiven for thinking that there was no-way 15,000 bicyclists would be in this, several block long, staging area by the start of the ride at 550am.

Over the next 2 hours I contented myself with taking a few pictures, and talking to my fellow cyclists about the ride, and about The Cycling Dude.

In the process I helped an Hispanic guy, with limited English, figure out his camera so he could take a panoramic shot, took a couple of photos of an African-American cyclist, and 1 of a Caucasian mother, and her son.

Bike_t05

Yup, not only is the tour of the city a multi-cultural look at LA, but so is the make-up of the ridership each year.

Young, and old, single, and with family, low income, middle income, and upper income, they all come out for the cameraderie that is this famous ride. ;-D

I had a great time checking out the variety of folks, and the variety of bikes, from tandems, and recumbents, from fixed-gear to beach cruiser, from mountain bike to road bike, and hybrid to racing bike.




Whole clubs came out in force, the main one being, of course, the Los Angeles Wheelmen, who always help lead the ride as it gets underway.

Bike_t06

As darkeness gave way to dawn, sure enough, 15,000 riders gathered and, as the Star Spangled Banner was sung, eagerly prepared themselves for the journey ahead.

Bike_t01




21.6 miles  beginning with a jaunt down MLK, then into the Garment District, over to Boyle Heights, then back downtown for a look at the Jewelry District before heading west, then south, in the KoreaTown area, and back to USC.







Next up: The ride gets underway.

March 10, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 08, 2007

Acura Bike Tour: Survey Says!

NOTE: For latecomers to this series Part 1 can be found here ( And leads to succeeding parts. )

As mentioned previously I thought it would be interesting to engage people in conversation with an unscientific little survey.

Question 1: Do you know what a Blog is?

Question 2: If yes, have you visted any BikeBlogs?

Question 3: If Yes, have you ever visited The Cycling Dude?

I passed out my business card, and little pieces of paper with my Blog name, and URL, when I ran out, and explained the mission of The Cycling Dude along the way, at the Quality of Life Expo, and before, during, and after, the Bike Tour, on Sunday.

The results, from 110 people, were quite interesting, and pretty much what I expected, except that, as explained previously, I actually found 1 person who was familiar with The Cycling Dude! ;-D

Question 1: Do you know what a Blog is?

YES = 78

NO = 32

Question 2: If yes, have you visted any BikeBlogs?

YES = 10

NO = 68

Question 3: If Yes, have you ever visited The Cycling Dude?

YES = 1

NO = 9

So, what do you think of these results? ;-D

Next up: The Acura Bike Tour.... The ride the Mainstream Media is too Wussied to cover like it does the Marathon! ;-D

March 8, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack