March 08, 2007

Acura Bike Tour: The Expo 3

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

As  an, um, "Distinguished", member of the "New Media", when I saw the Media Center area, the temptation to waltz right in, and make myself at home, was just too great.

Expo_six

Once inside I was less than overwhelmed. ;-D

A nice lady was manning a table with a chair on my side of it in which a youngish media-type dude was sitting as she imparted her wisdom.

On the table were various fliers, and pamphlets, a couple of which I promptly availed myself of. ;-D

On the left side of the room was a table with a few things on it.



On the right was a table with a few computers, 1 of which was being used by another media-type dude.

Near the entrance was a large board on a stand, on which various print stories, and press releases had been stuck with stickpins.

I approached the nice lady, introduced myself, and asked for the ok to stick one of my cards to the board.

Alas I was denied... now if I'd had a printout of my initial Blog story I would have gotten an ok to stick there, but I, of course, had not thought ahead to such a blessed opportunity, so had to settle for asking the nice lady to pass my card on to whoever was in charge of the Media Area, and hope that she would not lose it.

Expo_seve

Meanwhile back over at the sign-in area business was brisk....

Well, ok, I know, I know, there are 15,000 riders expected, for the ride, and this doesn't exactly appear to be a stampede...

With the Quality of Life Expo being 2 days, there is lots of time for folks to get their Bib, and Goody Bag.

I continued wandering around, and near the exit found another opportunity for placement of my cards for publicity.

I was looking at a table full of fliers about running events all across the state, when 3 ladies, looking to be in their 50's, walked up, and after a few minutes, began grumbling about the lack of cycling stuff on the table....

I, of course, was more than happy to assuage their keen disappointment in this regard, and so introduced myself, explained about the Dude, and bestowed upon each of the charming worthies their own little business card.

Then I promptly asked the nearby Security Guard who I could talk to about "getting a stack of my cards on that nice little table over there?" ;-D

And that's how I found myself inside another Inner Sanctum of the Expo, explaining about how I kept 3 nice Expo attendees from going away keenly disappointed, explaining what the Dude was all about to yet another nice lady, who called over her male boss, and politely requesting the OK to leave 25 of my cards neatly stacked on the table by the exit.

Must have been my suave, and charming, good looks, and friendly attitude ( Balding Guy + Confident Attitude + Politeness that any Mother Would be Proud of = Success! ).... ;-D

One interesting encounter caught me completely by surprise, and led to my spending maybe 20 minutes, or more, I'm not sure, at 1 booth.

When I asked people my survey questions I really did not expect to encounter enyone who had even heard of The Cycling Dude, even if they had heard of BikeBlogs.

I was stunned when I began chatting with one of the gentlmen at the IonSports Network Booth, by asking him my survey questions, to have him say, "Yes, I've heard of you."

Well, Sacre, my Bleu, and knock me over with a feather, why don't you! ;-D

In my surprise all I could manage was something sophisticated, and intelligent, along the lines of, "Um, how?"

As he explained it, it had to do with being in the Sports Media, and keeping abreast of various trends, and such.

One thing led to another and he asked me if I was interested getting more eyeballs for my Blog, including a free video, and asked me about my traffic, and began explaining to me about the Vision, and Mission, of IonSports ( It has a section that bills itself as The Original Sports + Lifestyle Social Network ), and how I, and the Dude, could be a part of it, joining others in blogging, and forums, on their site, and more, in what a visit to the website later told me was called, the Ion Cycling Section.

It was all so interesting, confusing, and overwhelming, and I'm sure, despite his protestations that "No, no, we just met, and I can understand the way you feel", that he must have been frustrated by my trying to grasp just what his site was all about.

In the end I try my best to explain to him that I have esssentially just started out with trying to publicize the blog, and bringing in advertising, and other income, over the last year, and am comfortable with the efforts I am attempting for now.

I'm no expert in marketing, just an ordinary guy who, when he began Blogging, in 2002, never dreamed he could make a single dime doing it.

One more thing... the man who was kind enough to chat with me for so long, and said he knew of The Cycling Dude.... was the owner of the company, Dave Behar.

Where's that feather? Hit me again! ;-D

I also had a chance to talk with Geoff Barnett, Marketplace Manager for Competitor Magazine, at its booth.

The website for the magazine has a nice Listing of Events Section which include links to cycling races, and Tour rides in Southern California, and the Western US.

I also chatted with Gregory Graber, Director of Programs for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, in Newport Beach, about Team Duke.

As the team Website says:

Team DUKE is an athletic fundraising program unlike any other. You pick the sport. You pick the event. And all of your hard work benefits the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

You don't have to be a pro to wear our jersey.

You've just got to have what John Wayne had - grit.

Together we'll bring courage, strength, and grit to the fight against cancer.

Your pick the sport,Team DUKE gives you the freedom to participate in as many sports as you want.

John Wayne was one of my favorite actors of Old Hollywood, and a True Patriot, and this is a great cause. ;-D

Compare all this genuine interest with what happened at another booth, which shall remain unnamed, to protect, not the guilty, but the innocent.

I had, on my 1st wallkabout, had left a piece of paper, with my URL, and a "Hi! Sorry I missed you!" message, at an unattended booth.

I eventually returned to find a young lady, and much older man, holding down the fort.

When I mentioned the note, and presented my card as a replacement, they both, innitially, showed an interest, especially the youg lady, but when, in response to her question about what type of links i had on my blog, I started to answer, the man suddenly said "Excuse me, a moment", and leaned in very close to the lady, and started talking too low for me to hear over the din of the room.

I could tell the woman was caught off guard, and didn't seem too thrilled, but after 3 minutes of watching this, with no sign of our conversation resuming, anytime soon, I just faded away into the crowd.

In addition to the the safety packet and t-shirt, bought to support McGruff The Crime Dog, I made another $10 purchase.... a pair of nifty Water Bottles!

Blue_wav

And so, finally it was time for me to head on out for lunch before starting the journey home.

For me, the last few years, on my infrequent trips into Los Angeles, there are only 2 places to eat if I am close enough to do so, Tommy's on Beverly, or Phillipe's, a Block north of Union Station.

Phil_rest

On this afternoon, I headed for Phillipe's. ;-D

An LA institution, since 1908, and long located at the corner of Alameda, and Ord ( And yes, that is a Bike rack out front! ), it is justly famous as the Home of the French Dipped Sandwich, and is equally famous for the decor, and atmosphere including asawdust covered floor, and walls covered with the graffiti created by decades worth of scribblers writng their names, and brieff messages, on various walls on the different floors of the establishment.

Phil_dinn

The place is popular with cyclists, and i rember the 1st time I visited was after a clube bike ride, years ago, when a dozen of us went inside, bikes, and all, and leaning our trusty steeds, against the south wall, out of eeryone's way, we got in line to order.

Ever since I always spend $15.

The Lamb Sandwich, Coleslaw, Macaroni Salad, and Potato Salad, all washed down by 2 lite beers, is well worth every penny!

After getting the above photo I went to the 2nd floor, and settled by a window view, and happilly chowed down. ;-D


Phil_1952

Another reason the place is justly famous is the large collection of framed old photos, and newspaper pages, on the walls.

I always get a kick out of the 1952 Menus by the Gift Booth Cash Register.

The prices ( Low Double digits in the 50's! ), and the size of the Menu, may change over the years, but the quality of the food stays the same, and even improves with age.



On the crowded bus out of Los Angeles a well dressed, friendly, black lady, launched herself for the seat I had made available next to me by sticking my bags in my lap.

As I did this she sat, and said, apologetically... "I'm fine".

She HAD to say it! She had to give me the perfect opening!

I stretched out my hand and, grinning ear to ear, said, "Hi, I'm Curly!"

God, I love having a sense of humor! ;-D

When I explained that actually, no that wasn't really my name, but a 3 Stooges joke,  she looked confused for a minute before further explanation turned on the lightbulb, and she laughed in recognition. ;-D

And, so, a glorious day comes to an end....

Next up: Survey Says!!

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

March 07, 2007

Acura Bike Tour: The Expo 2

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

It is a beautiful, warm, and windy day, not a cloud in sight...

It is your day off, and you haven't a care in the world as you head out to who knows where for a day of riding, passing folks who give you envious looks, from the confines of their cars, and SUV's, as they encounter you on your bike...

Expo_nine_1

Suddenly you awaken from your reverie to remember that the bike in whose saddle you have been sitting, going nowhere, is a 2007 model Honda VTX1800 MOTORCYCLE at the Quality of Life Expo.

Sincere thanks are due the Rep who helped me pull off the above photo. ;-D

The Official Car and Motorcycle had space next to the Official Bank, and there was even a make-up booth, and one selling kitchen knives.

One of the great pleasures of the day was being able to hang out for a few minutes, and have my picture taken, with a very famous celebrity.

Expo_eigh_1

Yes! Oh, Happy Day!

I got to meet McGruff the Crime Dog!!

The famous "Take a Bite Out of Crime" Officer of the Law himself!

What an honor!! ;-D

McGruff was there as a representative of the National Crime Prention Council ( Search the word Bicycle, on the site, for some interesting results. ), in support of Boomerangit, and the National Bike Registry, the Official Bicycle Registration, and Recovery Service, of McGruff himself.

Needless to say I bought the Protect Your Bike Kit, and a T-Shirt, and plan to Blog about all 3 sites in the future.

Read Part 8 ! ;-D

March 7, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 06, 2007

Acura Bike Tour: The Expo 1

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

So there I was, Bib, and all important Goody Bag secured, ready to explore the Quality of Life Expo, and so I did the logical thing, and went to the SE corner and began to work my way up 1 aisle and down the other, to the other side of the room.

This is something I did 3 times over 5 hours! ;-D

What follows will be a chronicle of the booths I visited, and their websites, if any, and the pictures I took of the excursion.

Booth after booth, after booth of running, and cycling clothing, of running, and cycling event organizations ( Some related to charities. ) from across the nation, and around the world.

Booth, after booth, after booth of health food products, energy bars, drinks, and gels by the dozen!

I stopped by the Tour de Cure booth, and learned about the rides in May, in Long Beach ( 15, 35, 65 mi. ), and Thousand Oaks ( 5, 30, 62 mi. ), to raise money for the American Diabetes Association.

A visit to the booth of South Africa Tourism, and African Travel Inc., picking a couple of informative booklets that may lead me to add some links to the international section of the sidebar.

The Mammoth Lakes Visitors Bureau booth had a nice brochure, a map to the area that is very useful for cyclists of both the Road, and MTB, persuasion, and info about Mono County.

I met a man who is with the Inyo County Transportation Commission who gave me a map of the route Wild Wild West Marathon and Ultra Marathons that is a decent starting point for any cyclist to learn about riding opportunities in the area.

It is a sure bet that radio stations will have booths here, and maybe a Campaign on behalf of a local, state, or Presidential candidate, as well.

While I was not surprised to find a booth promoting Obama, the Radio station I found made me laugh out loud in delite. ;-D

Expo_fiveAs regular readers may know I am a Moderate Republican.

I am not the only Conservative Cyclist out there on the street, or in the BikeBlogosphere, and so seeing the local affiliate that carries Hugh Hewitt, Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Prager, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, and Michael Savage, set up a booth in such a place should not be such a surprise to anyone.

To all those who think that such a spectacle is the equivalent of finding a MoveOn.org booth at a National Rifle Association Convention, I can only say... take a deep breath, calm down, and RELAX already!

This is the station's 3rd year at the Expo, and one person manning the booth told me of at least one station employee who commutes quite a way to, and from, work, by bike.

As bicyclists we have much in common, and cyclists of my, um, persuasion, have much to share, and say, about our shared recreational, and commuting, activity that cyclists of all varieties have shown me, over 4 years, they like, and agree with.

It is also almost a sure bet that somewhere at an event like this, God, or some other Diety of some repute, ill, or otherwise, will be found holding down a booth.

Expo_one_1

Walking around I was amused to discover that you could get some part of your anatomy massaged in every aisle, and get proseletized by the Dianetics Crowd, and Christians, just 1 row apart.

I know there are Christian Cycling Clubs out there, and it would be nice to see them promote their efforts at events like this.

As you can see from this photo I was working the room quite hard filling several bags with freebies.

I found food related brochures, and freebies, of interest, such as samples of Mahatma Brown Rice, Jelly Belly Energizing Sports Beans, Natural Path Organic Wheat Bran, and Robeks Powerbek Dietary Supplements [ Robeks! The Official Fruit Smoothie of this whole darn shindig, don't ya know! ;-D. ].

I also picked up recipe booklets of interest:

For my Inner Healthfood Fanatic: A booklet from Diamond Nuts.

For my Inner Latino 2 booklets:

Latin Flavor in the Kitchen by the American Diabetes Association.

Tumaro's Gourmet Tortilla Wrap Recipes.

For my Inner African-American: The New Soul Food Recipe Sampler, also by the ADA.

Ok, now I'm hungry!

Time out whIle I go fix, and eat, dinner!

Read Part 7 here ! ;-D

March 6, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Acura Bike Tour: Double Video Intermission

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

Ladies, and Gentlemen, Boys, and Girls, Infidels, and True Believers!

As I spend the afternoon, and evening, laboring to bring you the next chapters in my adventures covering the Quality of Life Expo, and L.A. Acura Bike Tour, it is with great pleasure that I bring you 2 of the most splendid Bicycling Videos you will ever have the joy of viewing.

Bicycle Trick Riding is not a phenomena of the Youth Culture of our Modern World, as most people would assume.

Its origins go back, deep, into the glorious history of Cycling.

In 1899 Thomas Alva Edison Revolutionized Bicycling with a performace for the ages!



Over 100 years later another performance for the ages will... well, just watch the whole amazing thing, and be blown away!

Read Part 6 here!

March 6, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 03, 2007

Acura Bike Tour: Bib, Goody Bag, Freebies, Carbs

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

I awoke on Friday morning at 4am, and made it to my 5am bus ride to Long Beach with 3 minutes to spare.

Having got home from work at 1130pm I only had 4 hours sleep so use the opportunity of the 2 hour bus, and Metro Blue Train, ride into Los Angeles to catch a bit more sleep.

I arrived at the Los Angeles Convention Center around 735am, and as I entered, and was looking at a display of brochures, before heading to the lower level location of the Quality of Life Expo, I was approached by a Security Guard who asked me if I "worked today".

It seems that I looked remarkably like a new Supervisor, and he laughed, and told me not to be surprised if others thought so, too.  ;-D

By 745am I was among a small number of people who had gathered at the entrance to the Expo hall, and settled in to wait.

Expo_thre As more folks began to arrive, anf fill the corridor, I found myself in conversation with a man from Florida, here for the Marathon.

We spent about 45 minutes talking politics, bicycling, the route of the Marathon, and something else that just goes to show you just how small this huge world of ours can be.

When I learned he originally came from Orange County, I mentioned I originally came there from the Inland Empire.

This led him to smile in recognition, and say he went to Claremont Graduate School.

This led me to tell him of my connection with the Claremont Colleges thru the fact that my Dad, Godfather, and 2 Uncles wer part of the grounds crews of 2 of the colleges from the 50's to the early 70's.

As we got ready to enter the expo at 9am I found myself talking to another man about cycling.

It was here, in the hallway, that I put my 1st plan into action:

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?

Each person would be rewarded with one of my Business Cards, and a bit of knowledge about my Blog. ( More on the Survey later, after the Bike Ride. )

Expo_fourFor the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony I was just behind the Important People, and the guy with the Cutter.

The Mainstream Media, cameras at the ready, were lined up, in front of us, snapping, and filming, to their precious little hearts content.

With Wi-fi Connections in the Lunch Area, and the Media Room wired for computers, too, this display seemed quite old-school, though it's a neccessary activity until mankind evolves completely beyond TV to whatever the next thing will be to replace it.

After taking the picture of the Network Cameraman, described in a previous post, I joined the stampede to the sign-in area only to discover it was not much of a stampede!

With giving one of my Cards to the cameraman my other plan got under way: I aimed to pass out the last 80 of my old Business Cards ( They still said I was based in Costa Mesa. ) to Media, and various cycling related booths, as well as to any cyclist I could find.

Within minutes I had my Bib Number ( 8161 ), and the all important Goody Bag.

 

The Goody Bag was just the 1st of 3 bags, in addition to my book bag, that I ended up lugging around for the rest of the day. ;-D

Gdy_bag The T-shirt, the Commemorative Pin, the Rain Coat in a bag, and a nice little headlight ( In that white box. ) were the major prizes in this swag. ;-D

I'll have more about the contents throughout posts in the week. ;-D

The folks whose job it is to give us our correct bibs, and organize each Goody Bag are a hearty lot who do their task with a friendly smile, and good cheer.



In the 5 hours I spent wandering the isles I collected all sorts of free literature, and knick-knacks, and made a few purchases.

Luckily this was not a Book Publishers Convention, or a Travel Show, so I came away unburdened by a heavy load.

As you can see... my cat, Nikita, was quite impressed by my haul, and quite amused by all the effort I went thru to make pictures for this entry in the series. ;-D

Xpo_frbs

This evening, the 2nd, and final, day of the Expo, cyclists, and runners, who paid for it, are having themselves a nice Carbo Load Dinner, and schmoozefest.

I decided to save a ton of money and fix my own, here in the kitchen of The Maceyugoserbulgarigreekadonian Compound. ;-D

Carb_load2 boxes of the Mac and Cheese.

2 cans of the Mixed Veggies.

10 minutes cooking time.

This is one of my Survival Specialties, as a bachelor.

I usually only fix 1 box, and 1 can, but this being special occasion...



Cooked... the damage comes out to 2640 Calories, 1020 from fat ( The Mac and Cheese is the sole guilty party in this delicious concoction. )

So, as I post this I have just finished eating, and will be heading to bed by 645pm because I have to get up at 1145pm for the trek back to Los Angeles.

Read Part 5 here ! ;-D

March 3, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Acura Bike Tour: As Seen on TV

Dude_ontv

When I realized the cameras were rolling, to celebrate the opening of The Quality of Life Expo I knew I had to get home in time for the 11pm News.

Sure enough I appear in the report, and it was very cool to see! ;-D

While it looks like I'm trying to make sure Mrs. "See! See! I Brushed My Teeth This Morning!" doesn't step all over my toes in her, um. excitement, that is actually not the case.

Dude_knbc

I'm actually getting my camera out to take, what I hoped would be a shot of the Mainstream Media at work.

That Photo turned out to be the one shown in Part 2 of this report. ;-D

For late comers to this series Part 1 can be found here ( With a link to Part 2. )

I awoke early this morning to try for a shot of me walking into the Expo, but from the time I looked up, and started walking, to the point where I can be seen in a clear, unobstructed, view, and then almost immediatedly went out of view, happened too fast for me to catch.

It would have made such a GREAT shot, too!! ;-D

HISTORICAL NOTE: The 1st time I appeared on  TV was in 1960.

My Mother, and Father, went to the world famous All-States Picnic, and 4th of July Parade, in Ontario, Ca. ( 1939-1981, revived in 1991! )

I was only 4 months old, and Mom had me held in such a way that my cute little face can be seen looking over her shoulder as she walks along, going who knows where. ;-D

They learned that evening that we had been seen on TV, and eventually saw the shot themselves, and it was always a great source of pride for her, and my Dad. ;-D

Read Part 4: Bib, Goody Bag, Freebies, Carbs. 

March 3, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Acura Bike Tour Preview: Dude Takes Expo by Storm

I had thought to headline this post as follows:

Cycling Dude Exposes Self at Quality of Life Expo.

As you can well imagine, there is a problem of perception with that description, so abandoned that idea. ;-D

Expo_one The last time I attended The Acura L.A. Bike Tour, and the Expo, the notion of Blogging had not entered into my head yet.

The Expo was a 3 day affair, and the ride toured Crenshaw Blvd., Wilshire Blvd., Hollywood, and Echo Park.

The only thing that has not changed, fom 2001, is that 15,000 strangers will be gathering to help me celebrate my birthday a day early.



They just don't know that's why they are here. ;-D

You see, while the Mainstream Media is busily covering the Marathon, and treating it as the be all, and end all, of the entire weekend....

We cyclists know that the only reason to venture into the heart of Los Angeles, this busy weekend, is to attend an Expo to get a Goody Bag, other assorted freebies, buy any cycling wardrobe essentials that strike our fancy, among other things, then hang out with fellow cyclists from the wee hours of Sunday morning, so as to go on a 20+ mile bike ride at dawn. ;-D

Expo_two This KNBC 4 Camera Man was among those who lined up, in a nice, neat row, to record for posterity the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony that officially opened the weekend fesitivities.

I was standing just behind the ribbon cutter, so my head will probably appear on TV all across the Southland, if I'm lucky.

Too bad I didn't have a sign with my Blog URL in huge block letters!  ;-D

Anyway, after entering the room I saw this guy filming his guts out, and could not resist the wonderful opportunity for a great "New Media" Moment.



I took a picture of him shooting film of ME, and those behind me, entering the room ( Maybe this will appear on TV, too, who knows! ).

As he continued doing his job, quite well, and very professionally, I might add, I asked him what Network he was from, and when he told me I told him I was a BikeBloger, and that  I took a shot of him shooting us, then slipped one of my cards in his empty back pocket, and went off to get my Bib, and Goody Bag. ;-D

*** 1130pm: We Interrupt This Post for a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!

The Cycling Dude was shown on KNBC 4 News!!

We Now Return You to Our Regularly Scheduled Post***

I spent 5 hours walking the floor, passing out business cards, talking up the Dude, and having a grand time.

Stay tuned, throughout the week, for my picture filled report of the Expo, and the Ride itself.

For now let me extend a very heartfelt welcome to any of the 74 people who got one of my business cards, today, and those they might have shared the link with, and anyone who I give the link to ( or who see it on my bike. ) on Sunday, who might stop by for a visit this weekend, and in the future.

You are about to discover a niche in the Blogosphere that caters to your interest in, and love of, Cycling, in all its variety.

This Blog is dedicated to the proposition that bike riding is good for you and fun. It has commentary, links, news, opinion, reviews, stories, travelogue, and occasional heads up about events.

An ordinary road cyclist spreads the word and the word is BICYCLE!

You can get a thumbnail sketch of what can be found here by reading this post.

I am always looking for news tips, story ideas, and the rare contributor appearance.

I am proud to be one of the BEST BikeBlogs in the USA, and the World, Since Jan. 2003!

I hope you like the place, and encourage you to explore 4 years of archived stories, leave comments, and/or e-mail me, about what you think.

Read Part 3: As Seen on TV!

March 3, 2007 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 23, 2005

The dangers of cycling PCH in Malibu

WARNING: This story, and its associated entries, as covered by 4 Blogs, and various newspapers, and other media outlets, is LONG.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT avoid reading the whole collection.

If you ride along Pacific Coast Highway ANYWHERE along its more narrow, and challenging, sections from the north end to the south, but especially in the Malibu area, then your LIFE could one day depend on having read this series of articles.

Let's begin in happier times...

In May of 2002, I rode my bike along the stretch from West Channel Rd.  north to Webb Way, and  from Kanan Dume Rd. south to Malibu Rd., then a several mile stretch from the other side of the hill, south to the bike path that starts at Will Rogers State Beach at PCH and Temescal Canyon Rd. ( The 2nd Blog Article I reference will show you photos of this stretch of PCH. )

Not knowing that I was supposed to consider PCH a possible danger to life, and limb, my descriptions reflect this innocence, as I shared my joy in a very long, and adventurous ride.

Slow Pokes DO have all the fun!

Pedal forward to 2005...

The stark reality that PCH holds plenty of danger for the unwary bicyclist, and that the state, county, Caltrans, and the cities of Los Angeles, and Malibu are at odds with concerned cyclists is in the news, on blogs, and on the minds of local cyclists.

Meet Insider, of the Blog Independent Sources ( A fellow member of the California Bear Flag League ) as this blogs fabulous coverage ( with pictures! ) of this story begins:

[ Story Arc, including 2nd article, and various updates: Sept. 16, 2005 to October 3, 2005 ]

This story has particular relevance to me as every week I ride my bike over the exact same stretch of PCH in Malibu as the two riders who were killed last Saturday. Every week I comment to my riding partner that the situation there is incredibly dangerous. For the past several months I had wondered out loud why no one was calling Caltrans or the contractor responsible for creating the dangerous encroachment. I was one of those people who never made the call and I will have to live with that the rest of my life. However, I can do something now which is to make sure that this story is told in its entirety and that pressure is put on all responsible parties to fix the section of roadway that has contributed to two deaths. As of today, five days after the fatal accident, nothing has been done to remove the obstructions which means this weekend, hundreds of more cyclists will be forced out of the bike lane into 50+ mph traffic. How can this be so?

This is the story of the senseless death of 2 cyclists, and it is the story of the clash between cyclists, and the culture of the car, and the lifestyles of the coastal communities.

Bicyclist deaths are always tragic and senseless. However, the killings of Stanislav Ionov and Scott Bleifer stand out in their senselessness. Bike accidents are often the result of a series of unrelated and unpredictable events that happen in such an unfortunate manner as to result in a catastrophe. For example, a driver just happening to be inattentive at the moment when they are drifting out of their lane while a cyclist is at that same moment veering into traffic to avoid road debris they were just coming upon (think “wrong place, wrong time.”).

However, unfortunate circumstances have nothing to do with the deaths of Ionov and Bleifer and their deaths were 100% avoidable.

The research into this story is detailed, heartfelt, and powerful from the get go.

Meet the tragic victims.

Be introduced to PCH, and one stretch in particular.

Take a good, long, look at the the satellite shot, and ground level photos, and come to grips with the fact that "so far in 2005, eight cyclists have been injured on PCH, according to the Sheriff’s Department. Seven were injured in 2004 and six in 2003."

Then THIS happened.

The hill mentioned is the one I avoided dealing with by taking the side road around it.

To reach that stretch, going south from Kanan, meant I was riding along the highway shown on the left side of the Photo.

Read the details of the accident, see what was left of one of the bikes, feel the horror of the other cyclists shown at the scene.

Meet the killer, and marvel at his excuse.

And a week later marvel at this stunning bit of news...

Ionov and Bleifer were killed nearly a week ago, and while people at the local Starbucks are talking about it, and the city officials of Malibu are talking about it, absolutely nothing has been done to improve the safety and while I was taking photographs today I saw bicyclists forced back out into the same stretch that killed Ionov and Bleifer. I do not understand how this is possible. State permit or not, two people are dead because of those barricades so how can they remain? Furthermore, if you look at the pictures it would appear that they could easily be moved in three feet which would still allow the construction process to continue while allowing bicycle traffic to come through without going into a high-speed traffic lane. (see photo below.) Is this really too much to ask?

"Is this really too much to ask?" He writes, and I join him in asking...

Apparently so.

Join the writer in pondering some questions.

The writer ends the 1st article with several updates, and links to the outstanding coverage by the Malibu Times, to coverage of a memorial ride, to various tribute pages, and a plea for local cyclists to get involved, and write the LA Times, and Government Officials.

Oh, and Malibu Sheriffs new policy toward cyclists.

Be sure to read all the comments ( 37 so far ) to this piece.

READ THE FULL STORY: Malibu: Sunshine, Movie Stars, and senseless death on PCH.

Part 2 is a tour of a 20 mile stretch of PCH in Malibu, with pictures, that will open your eyes to what cyclists have to deal with every day.

you must note that there are in fact NO bicycle lanes on PCH, despite the fact that thousands of cyclists ride on it every weekend. Instead, cyclists are forced to ride in a shoulder which ranges in width from a few feet to non-existent and varies in condition from bad to deadly. Henceforth I will refer to this shoulder area as the “bike passageway” since that is how cyclists use it.

Seeing is believing, folks, and the views, of the road  ( yes, and the beach, and the ocean, too ) will leave you speechless.

To understand why any road cyclist would want to travel along this, or any other stretch of PCH, understand this:

PCH is a beautiful stretch of land with sweeping ocean views and hillside and canyon vistas. Furthermore it is the primary (or in some cases sole) method for reaching the many canyon roads that criss-cross the Santa Monica Mountains. For these reasons and others, PCH is extremely popular with road cyclists. However, PCH is an extremely dangerous road–made worse by a lack of planning and care by the state and local agencies who have jurisdiction over it.

Take a good long look at ALL THE PHOTOS, read the accompanying paragraphs, and you too will join me in echoing the writers following observation:

We are realists and we do not expect miracles (e.g., drivers to suddenly change behavior). But we do not believe that it is too much to ask:

  • the permanent and semi-permanent blockages of the bike passageway be immediately addressed
  • parking regulations be created or enforced that would keep automobiles from forcing cyclists into traffic
  • more and better signage at dangerous points
  • construction zones to factor in bicycle traffic

These are just a few of the reasonable actions that the city, state and all responsible parties should take which I believe will be more effective than the recently announced Malibu Sheriff’s policy.

READ THE FULL STORY-- Dangerous Cycling: PCH Malibu ( Seeing is believing ).

I Join Independent Sources in stressing that the story of this stretch of PCH serves as a proxy for dangerous riding conditions EVERYWHERE.

Please DO NOT wait for someone to be killed to address unnecessarily dangerous bicycling conditions in your areas.

After reading all of the above I look back at how I wrote about my trip thru the area, and my 2 other PCH rides [ Seal Beach to the tip of Balboa ( mostly along the dedicated Bike Trail ), and Newport Beach to the dead end in San Clemente ], a couple of years ago, and wish I'd been more descriptive of the conditions that might pose a hazard to cyclists less attuned to paying attention to their surroundings than I. ( I've got photos that, with the experience I have gained in Blogging, and my new computer, and printer/scanner, I just might add to the stories as written, time permiting. )

October 23, 2005 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 07, 2003

Pedaling the San Gabriel Mtns.

Mt. Baldy to Highway 39.

Upland to Azusa via Euclid Ave., Mt. Baldy Rd., Glendora Ridge Rd., East Fork, and San Gabriel Canyon Rd.


DIRECTIONS:

The 10 Frwy., east or west, depending on where you are coming from, leads to Euclid Ave., and once there you just head north to FOOTHILL BLVD. in Upland, Ca..

Turn right, and drive past CAMPUS AVE. to UPLAND MEMORIAL PARK, and you will find parking.

For folks taking their bike on the bus: East or west, the OMNITRANS #61, 66, or 68 will connect you with the northbound 62 on Euclid to 19th street.

For folks coming from points west, the MTA 484 and FOOTHILL 482 connect you to the OMNITRANS 66 and 68.

Regardless of where you start in UPLAND the path leads steadily upward on FOOTHILL BLVD..

Sorry, but there's no way around it. You have to climb steadily upward BEFORE you can start the trip back down. :-)

I took the trip, and wrote the story, below, a few weeks AFTER the horrible events of 9/11:

Oh say can you see by the dawns early light (actually 10am, so sue me!).

I start out on my ride from the northern reaches of Upland along a 2 lane blacktop into the foothills to connect with Mt. Baldy Rd.

(Euclid leads to Mountain Ave, and then you head up to Mt. Baldy Rd.)

My camelback's full of liquid (H2o, not beer, honest!), and my flag's already waving proudly in the breeze from the handlebar of my trusty steed.

It turns out to be a steady, gradual, climb of 9 mi. and 1000 ft. elevation gain (from 3 to 4000) to Baldy Village and the next stage of my ride.

I'd estimate that I walked about 2 1/2 of those miles, some of the uphills were that steep.

Maybe about 6 mi. up, after the last of 2 50 year old tunnels dug out of the rock I see a cyclist lugging his bike off to the side of the road.

Turns out he'd just blew a rear tire at 50mph on the downhill. ;-)

Having an excuse to rest for 15 min. I talked to the guy about where he'd rode from and

where I was headed.

Things were looking up as he said I'd have a blast on the Ridge. ;-)

After 2 1/2 hrs. I pull into the Village and head to the Baldy Lodge Restaurant for lunch.

By now I'd noticed something that sent a feeling of joy and pride through me.

The reaction of travellers passing me on the descent upon seeing my flag, especially if they had small ones hanging from antennas.

Smiles, and lots of waves, and shouts from cyclists and motorcyclists. ;-)

After 5 mi. of this I decided to wave and smile at every oncoming car, and that really got responses, and boosted my energy level the higher I went.

People in the Village came up to me with smiles and told me how they loved the flag on my bike.

2 hrs., 2 huge bowls of clam chowder, and 4 glasses of coke later it was time to hit the ridge.

It's a 1 mi. climb from the Village to the ridge pt. above it, and the next 11 mi. were shere bliss......

Purple mountains majesty, above the smoggy plains, America, America, crown thy good with brotherhood...........

Up there, in the mtns., you feel at 1 with nature, 1 with your fellow adventurers, calm, at peace.

Along the ridge you come, after another mi. to a turn off that allows you to sit on a rock wall and stare out in awe into a magnificent forested valley for more than 15 mi.

I felt such a sense of wonder. For the 1st time that day I really let my troubles wash away, wrapped myself around the beauty surrounding me, and realized I was enjoying a very special trip.

This 2 lane rd. winds its way thru several mtn. ranges as it heads west. For every 1/4 mi. climb on my easiest gears there were 1 to 1 1/2 mi. roaring descents where no pedalling was required, but ya damn well better keep yer hands on yer brakes and eyes on the curves ahead.

Lots of motorcyclists and scooter riders up there, and for some reason they like to hog the road. ;-)

I even saw SUPERMAN, on vacation. Cape and all. On a Harley no less.;-)

No I wasn't drunk. I had water in my camelback, I told ya! ;-)

At the 21 mi. mark of my journey I came to a fork in the rd..

I had a score to settle with the road I took next.

A few yrs. ago I'd rode in the area west and north of this spot and decided to climb this rd. to the ridge and west on the ridge and back down to the valley. I ended up walking up, up, and up for 6 mi.

This trip was soooo much more fun. ;-)

So much fun I swear I had 1 long org... um feeling of pure heavenly joy and exhileration coursing thru me.;-)

7 1/2 mi. of sheer speed. 7 1/2 mi. of absolutely no pedaling.

Reaching speeds of up to 33mph on multiple winding turns going down, down, down to the East Fork of the San Gabriel River with the forest and canyons in all their beauty spread out before me.

Your life is in your hands on this downhill. Lose control for an instant and it's all she wrote. Porky Pig will be saying "That's All Folks!" as your show comes to a close in spectacular fashion.

Reach the bottom in one piece and, like what's his face in TITANIC, you feel like you are King of the World, and your troubles are put into proper perspective as you realize that ANYTHING is possible if you have the skill, strength, heart, courage { and sometimes shear insanity ;-) } and belief in yourself to accomplish it.

I ride west, down the East Fork, to 100 year old FOLLOWS CAMP, and have a nice meal, and a couple of beers at its restuarant/bar, and then head out west again to make a left onto San Gabriel Canyon Rd. (highway 39).

...... twilights last gleaming (it was 5:30 to 7pm), and the rockets red glare ( my rear light ), the bombs bursting in air { whether it was the clams, the beer, or both, I was, um, passing wind rather loudly, frequently, and enthusiastically by now ;-) }, gave proof thru the (evening) that my flag was still there waving proudly for all to see.........

As I rode the last 10 mi. out of the canyon ( to Azusa & Foothill Blvd. in Azusa, Ca. ) and back to my life down below, I was whistling up a patriotic storm as a way to keep up my strength for the final leg of my journey.

Bits and pieces of the anthem, God Bless America, America the Beautiful and even a certain Springsteen song.

Some witnesses might swear I could be seen singing a few bars as I rode down the mountain, waving at all who passed me by, but with the wind whistling around me I DOUBLE DARE YA to prove it! ;-)

With a couple of mi. to go I neared a couple along the side of the road, overlooking a dam with a sliver of sun shining at one end.

They were wrapped in each others arms, kissing up a storm...

I briefly interupted the festivities, as I passed, by yelling "give her one for me!!!".

They laughed and waved as I went by. ;-)

44 mi. of peace on earth, good will toward men, no cares to think about, and a chance to clear my head, relax, and enjoy just being alive.

Tomorrow will take care of itself.....


For those without a car you can go back to the Montclair Transit Center on the eastbound FOOTHILL 187 OR 189 bus.

For those looking to connect with the 480, 482, and 484 busses just take the FOOTHILL 280 south on AZUSA.

Those with cars back at the park can take the bus to Monclair, and then the OMNITRANS 66 to the park, or just ride east another 30 miles or so on FOOTHILL, CITRUS, ALOSTA/ROUTE 66, and FOOTHILL again back to the park. :-)

August 7, 2003 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 06, 2003

Slow Pokes DO Have All the Fun!

Cycling is NOT just about speed and exercise, but about taking the time to stop and see the deer & Harleyholics......

It's 3:30am, May 12, 2002, and my cats are looking at me like I'd just lost my mind:

"Daddy, what in the heck are you doing up at this ungodly hour? It's not even 5am (when they start pestering me for breakfast) yet!"

By the time I was out the door, 20 min. later, they had lost all interest in my sanity because breakfast was served.

1 Foothill Transit bus, 2 MTA'S, a Subway ride, and 4 hours later, I had arrived at Westwood Park, at Ohio & Sepulveda, in West Los Angeles, just southeast of the 405 frwy. and Wilshire Blvd..

With 25 minutes until start time I got copies of the 3 route slips and tried to decide whether to ride 30, 57, or 64 miles. 6 other riders had shown up and, after gathering opinions, I was getting a better understanding of the 2 longer rides as I began flipping my imaginary coin.

The short was going to Pacific Palisades and the beach Bike Path south to Marina Del Rey before heading back north again to the park. The medium and long were heading up Pacific Coast Highway, into the mountains above Malibu, before parting company at Mulholland Highway. The medium going right, and the long going left, and contrary to what the Club Newsletter, THE GOOSENECK, reported, the long was not 78 miles afterall.

Realizing that I'd be alone on the short, and stood a good chance of being left behind on the medium, I decided that if I could go up to Mt. Baldy Village & west on Glendora Ridge, closer to home, and live to tell about it, I MIGHT be able to tackle the much more challenging medium ride.

As we left the parking lot I knew I had 2 miles to decide to wimp out on the reported hills, hills, & more hills, that might be a challenge for the inexperienced rider.

After 2 miles I confirmed that the other 5 riders (1 had left early to tackle the long alone) were used to a faster pace than I am, partly because they obviously do these type of rides in their sleep. At my comfortable pace of 12-15mph I was quickly left behind. It didn't help matters that I kept hitting all the lights.

So, west on Ohio, right on Barrington, left on San Vicente, right on 7th and along Entrada and the West Channel Rd. to PCH we went. I tossed out any thought of doing the short and, becoming determined to prove I could do the medium, resigned myself to the inglorious fact that absolutely no-one would see me finish, or die trying.

Let me pause here for what, for lack of a better description, I will call a "Pep Talk and Recruitment Pitch".

To all my fellow LA WHEELMEN, and to all those folks who belong to the thousands of other Cycling Clubs, who may be intimidated into staying home on certain rides because a Newsletter gives lengths and descriptions that scare the bejesus out of you, especially when you look at a map, and you don't want to be embarrassingly left behind in the dust:

DON'T! PLEASE! You miss out on so much!

I joined the Wheelmen, a year and a half ago, for the pleasure of a great selection of organized group rides, and the social atmosphere they engender, but I also knew that there would be times that I'd be left behind. This used to annoy me, with other groups, because it happened every time I joined a ride.

It's nobody's fault when this happens. It's just a matter of one's pacing "zone of comfort". Compared to these other groups, I've discovered that with the Wheelmen there will always be rides where you WILL be able to keep up, so when you find yourself on a ride where you ARE one of the "left behind", smile and relax, because the fun is just beginning.

Around mile 5 I came across lonely David and his flat tire, and we talked a few minutes before I pedaled on, knowing he'd easily catch and pass me.

A couple of miles later, heading north on PCH, he indeed caught up and, observing what gear I was in, made a couple of suggestions about when best to change into the highest and lowest gears, before moving on to try and catch the group.

Thanks to David I realized that just because the middle gears may be comfy doesn't mean I can't shift more often, and as it turned out, my decision to try his advice made all the difference in my ride this day.

PCH to the Webb Way right turn was a breeze as I began to put my new tips into fledgling practice. Left on Civic Center, and up toward Pepperdine University meant I was approaching my last chance to bail out. There are no busses where I was heading!

With the climb up Malibu Canyon Road. looming to the right I paused for a hopeful confidence boost from State Motorcycle Cop Gary Smith, happily, and lovingly polishing the chrome of his trusty steed on the side of the road.

I told him that, despite appearances, I was on a group ride with The LA Wheelmen, and we laughed as I told him that the "group" was up the road a half hour or so.

He assured me that if I'd made it up to him from PCH I would not have a problem with the upcoming rollies.

16 miles had so far been survived.......

The officer was right. it was 7 miles along Malibu Canyon Rd., past the tunnel, where it soon became Las Virgenes Rd., and up, up, to the Mulholland Highway intersection. The scenery was lovely as I passed State Park Lands, the climb impressive, but quite manageable, all the way to Mulholland.

Once there I met a small group of fellow Cyclists about to set off on a ride of their own. One person actually had friends in the Wheelmen. More laughter ensued as I mentioned that I was on a Wheelman Group Ride, only the "group" was an hour up the road.

Taking stock of my situation I made a fateful decision. Left, instead of right. The medium, and the group, went right, heading down into Woodland Hills and back thru the Sepulveda Pass to the start. The group was long gone, and besides I wasn't tired, so I switched to the Long Route Slip, and pedaled on into Malibu State Park.

Only to come to a screeching halt, a few yards in, as 2 lovely Ladies, 1/2 my age, scampered across the road to their parked cars......

I decided to ask them about the road ahead and, while they were no help in that regard, they did wonders for this slowly balding bachelor's ego.

Telling them where I'd been, and where I was headed, I learned that there's alot to be said about the feelings one gets when 2 Bodacious Babes say you are AWESOME, and essentially THE GREATEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD.

Thank you, Ladies!

Then, suddenly, a Buck & 3 Does, calmly approached, not 15 ft. from us, in the field alongside the road. Talk about AWESOME! MAJESTIC is more like it.

He came up over the hill, gave us the once over, glanced confidently behind him and, as the others bounded up behind, led them back into the forest.

Passing the turn-offs to the Paramount Ranch, and to Malibu Lake, and a Peacock Farm where a Great Escape seemed to have just occurred, I came upon a lone Highway Patrolman playing happily with his gun (his RADAR gun).

He told me that not only was there a little store up the road, but a Bar & Grill a bit beyond.

I went past the Route Slip's suggested turn-off to the store, at Sierra Creek Rd., and after 28 1/2 miles of being passed by motorcycles of every stripe, finally found their destination: The Rock Store Cafe.

It was 12:15pm and my 1st thought was: Oh no, I'm surrounded by Hell's Angel's! Dozens of 'em!!

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.

Deciding that $15 on my ATM, for lunch, was a bit much to ask especially when I could just BARELY justify spending $9, I went back to Sierra Creek, & going left, took the right turn my route slip demanded, finding that the Rustic Canyon Store at Kanan Rd. is a pleasant spot to hunker down for a tasty lunch.

Keeping my 2 apples and power bars in reserve, to get me thru the rest of the ride, I settled in for what turned out to be 2 hrs. of good food, good talk, & some rest.

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 & 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.

With 29 1/2 miles behind me, my camelbak filled again with 70oz. of water, and a long, long way to go, I set off once again, with a 2nd wind.

A mile up, and I do mean up Kanan Rd., I came across a lonely cardboard sign telling all who came across it that Craig & Michelle's wedding was just 2 miles down the road! Good for them!

There's an old saying about how walking does a body good. Well, I walked the next miles or so, past 2 tunnels. Walking also does an empty wallet good, too! I was 80 cents richer by the time I was through!

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. 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 Pont Dume, and the coastal islands between Malibu and Santa Monica.

It was nice of the city to put a bench on the corner at PCH.

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, & finally Santa Monica.

The next 4 miles, to Malibu Rd., allowed me great views of the beaches and the islands. 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.

I didn't realize that, at Point Dume, I was almost beyond the farthest point along PCH that an MTA BUS goes into Malibu. I had planned to attempt a coastal ride someday, but not this soon!

I enter Malibu Rd. at a WRONG WAY sign on the right and, 3 miles later, am saying thanks to the road builders for this nice bypass of a nasty PCH hill.

9 miles later I reach the Bike Path entrance in the parking lot of Will Rogers State Beach at Temescal Canyon Rd.. It's 5:30pm.

Along the way to this point I stop at a gas station and notice a young African-American Lady looking at me strangely from the safety of her car. Her eyes get wide and her jaw drops as I smile and tell her of my day so far and what was ahead. I laugh and tell her she can tell her friends that she encountered a crazy white boy today, and she laughs and wishes me luck on my journey.

At Will Rogers I shared a bench and pleasant conversation with a nice Lady named Sandy and her daughter Britney. I thank the 2 of them for letting me plop my weary behind down in their company for a bit. It was a pleasure.

To get to this point you must beware of a several mile stretch of PCH clogged with traffic. 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.

After 4 miles, and just when playing dodge with my fellow travelers on the path started getting hairy, I find the Bay St. exit to Ocean Blvd. on my left, not far beyond Santa Monica Pier.

I tell ya, all those lovely, sculpted, BUNS OF STEEL floating around and ahead of you on roller blades can be darned distracting! Pleasant, oh, yes! But, darned distracting, all the same.

After a jaunt north on Ocean Blvd. it's the home stretch heading east on city streets and the familiarity of urban neighborhoods.

Right on Montana, left at Stanford, right at San Vicente, right at Barrington, and left on Ohio to the park.

I rolled down Barrington & Ohio to the park, in the near-dark evening coolness with the exhiliration one feels doing a victory lap at the Olympics Marathon.

Once in the parking lot I let out a yell of release and pride of accomplishment.

It 's 7:30pm and I have just rode my bike exactly 66 miles in exactly 11 hours.

It is a triumph for the ordinary cyclist. A triumph for the slow pokes.

UPDATE: 8/8/07

In August 2007 I revisited this ride, this time with a Digital Camera, and did an update, with plenty of pictures. and new thoughts on the ride, and the changes,  as experienced over 5 years after this 1st visit.

END UPDATE

January 6, 2003 in Riding Los Angeles County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack