DO YOU BICYCLE?
Since 1817 the Bicycle's been our Friend.
It expects nothing other than regular upkeep.
It offers much: The pleasure of a breeze on the road, in city, & or mountains. A simple, & cheap, way to travel, & a great workout.
From Bike Lanes to Rail Trails, from inner city to rural countryside, from beaches to prairies, Cyclists are out & about alone, or with family or friends, getting close to their environment, natural & man-made.
Let me tell you about our world.....
:: My Name is Kiril Kundurazieff, welcome to The Cycling Dude
| My e-mail
: My OTHER Blog is Sneakeasy's Joint
:: AOL= sneakeasyusa : ICQ= 74133879 : MY HOME= The Left Coast, USA!
WHAT THE BLOGGERVERSE ( & OTHERS ) ARE SAYING: A Dose of Daily Bliss (January 2003): "A hero who, like me, rebels against the world of car driving Gits who pose a threat to humanity by contributing to Global Warming, traffic congestion, and Globalization, by choosing to take the most wonderful, and healthy form of transport: the bicycle."
This has been a hectic week for me, and plans for posting some stuff have been delayed.
Have no fear, though, things are just picking up steam around here. :-)
There is a re-design in the works, now that I've upgraded to BLOGSPOT 25+, that includes a new layout that will make things easier to read & enjoy [ that IS why I started this place, for your, and my enjoyment, dear reader :-) ].
And, soon, no distracting BANNER ADS! :-)
Once I get my ADOBE PHOTODELUXE & SCANNER to kiss & make up I hope to add photos to spice things up a bit.
Another reason I've been scarce is that I've got an immediate transfer to a TARGET ( Yup, I am a Cashier for them, in the Inland Empire ) in Orange County, effective this coming Sunday, so moving to new digs in Republican Country is in the near future.
So immediate plans to take some rides in the Inland Empire & write of my survival & experiences are now superceded by having to learn the lay of the land in Orange County, instead.
My ride Notebook has few Orange County Rides, compared to LA & San Bernardino County, but I still plan to write about them all, don't worry. :-)
In the meantime, especially once the new look is in place, please feel free ( & daring! ) to visit my archives. :-)
As my posting of Dan's piece, a while back, illustrates, while MY opinions and commentary will make up the majority of such items that I post here, posting links to the writings of others, OR posting ( & giving credit to the writer ) items of interest to bicyclists, of a reasonable length, submitted by others, is something I feel is worth doing as my time permits.
By items of interest I don't just mean opinions and commentary, but reports from participants in an event, & even links to news stories related to bicycling in some fashion that appear in your local newspaper. Know of a bike shop that opened BEFORE 1941 that has an internet presence? Let me know. You get the idea.
Feel free to send submissions to me, at the e-mail listed above, and you just MAY find yourself linked to from here, or your submission posted for all to see and even comment upon.
And, be aware that I will most likely have something to say, myself, about the contribution, if linked to, or posted. :-)
THE PEDALING HISTORY BICYCLE MUSEUM WEBSITE: A REVIEW
I've spent the morning pedaling around this website a bit more than I did in the brief time I had available when I discovered it yesterday, and it's a fascinating site.
The Museum, itself, is located in Orchard Park, New York, and bills itself as "the world's largest Museum soley devoted to the impact of the Bicycle on our lives."
The first thing that gets the visitors attention is the colorful, and amusing, EVOLUTION OF THE CYCLIST that is incorporated into the site name banner ( I guess that's what ya call it! ).
My favorite "step" up the road shows the first Cave-cyclist & his trusty steed. ( This guy probably was President of the Bedrock Wheelmen Cycling Club & a neighbor of Fred & Barney ) :-)
Next are links & to and about several new books about cycling.
The next item featured is an invitation to join a Group Guided Tour of the place, and the pitch is enough to make any cycling enthusiast wish his or her vacation would hurry up & get here.
Next up is an introduction to the MUSEUM, and if that photo of ancient bicycles, on display, doesn't whet your appetite for more.....
This introduction is a must for the pictures alone, but there are other things to recommend a look: a gift shop link, links to monthly Special Events Info, including the upcoming Black History Month and its emphasis on the history of African-Americans & Cycling, & links to other exhibits around the USA.
On the left side of the page are a series of useful & interesting links, including:
The BICYCLE HISTORY link is what brought the site to my attention, and for a person, like myself, who has little idea of the history it was an education, and a pleasure to read.
For one thing, learn why, in 1896, Susan B. Anthony said that, "the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world."
BOOKS: The Museum sells & also publishes many great books on Cycling.
If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, and love collecting POSTERS, then this link will empty your wallet for a long time to come. The humor, and beauty, of these items is a joy just to look at.
There is a link to Travelling Exhibits for those of us too poor, or busy, to travel to New York.
There is a link to information about International Cycle History Conferences which are intended to "advance our knowledge of the roots of bicycling and to give due recognition to the pioneers."
Anyone who rides a bicycle, for sport, commuting, or recreation, & is interested in learning about the Bicycle, will find visiting the Pedaling History Bicycle Museum worthwhile.
Well, I ASSUME the person who gave me my 1st negative rating, on BLOGHOP yesterday, is a Motorist. :-)
There is, of course, no way to know for sure, or to know WHY they think this site, and your Humble ( Sweet, innocent look appears on face ) Correspondent, sucks, unless the individual bravely e-mails me, or posts comments ( & that goes for you folks graciously rating me at EATONWEB, all 25 of you so far! )
I would love to know your thoughts on the things discussed here.
The invitation to dialog is open, folks.... I won't bite.
CLEOPATRA ( that's my Trusty Steed ), though...... :-)
1. The welfare of good cyclists is not the objective of the Bike Lane.
2. The judgement of Lane Designers is suspect.
3. You are often better off NOT using the Lane, and riding using proper road riding behavior.
After many moons of pedaling the pavement I have finally come across a bike lane that cements my feeling that riding in a Lane can be dangerous.
This lane is several miles long, on a major street, and is positioned to the LEFT of parked cars...... IN THE DOOR ZONE.
Yes, you read right, cars are allowed to park along the curb in the area NORMALLY reserved for Bike Lanes, & where bike riders would travel anyway.
Wassup with that?
This means trouble, and despite the supposed convenience I've decided to use another route to get to my destination.
I don't like Lanes because they give cyclists, AND motorists a false sense of security.
The naive cyclist assumes the motorist won't intrude on his path, and the ignorant motorist believes that cyclists BELONG in the gutter, and should never share the rest of the road.
The rest of us, cyclist and motorist, know otherwise.
Bike Lanes cause hazards in all sorts of locations and situations for the cyclist, and I've begun to realize, over the years, that being a vehicular cyclist instead of always hugging the gutter is a safer way to travel.
The added fact that I am more likely to encounter glass, gravel, and other trash & debris that could cause my steed a flat, while hugging the curb, is further reason to avoid being restricted to using such an area.
I share the public roadway with motorists, and as long as I practice safe cycling techniques I should have little to fear from motorists or them from me.
The more motorists, and cyclists, who learn to properly, and safely, share the road, the better traveling upon it will be for both of us.:-)
Before the Bicycle Chain ( pun definitely intended! ) Conglomerates There Were the Family Shops of an Independant Nature
Do you remember your 1st visit to a bicycle shop?
Did your family buy their bikes and get them repaired at the same shop, generation after generation?
Do you take YOUR kids to the same shop for their cycling needs?
Do you consider the owners, and employees to be friends?
ARE they family?
Bicycling is 186 years old.
America was changed forever by WW2.
So I figured why not make a fuss over those Bicycle Shops that have been around since Hector's GRANDFATHER, or even GREAT-GRANDFATHER, was a Pup.
or, possibly, even earlier.... :-)
That is the reason for the links I've added today. To honor those shops & their off-shoots, if any, that have been around since BEFORE 1941.
I have been a steady customer of Coates for 20 years, and while I don't know the names of the employees, and have only met the owner a few times, in the course of making a purchase, I continue to be pleased with the service they provide, and the products they sell.
The Bike Shop peddles the merchandise to us, and we pedal it away.
The next time you visit your favorite shop, say thank you for the many years of service. It will be appreciated.
As Bicyclists we wish for alot of things beyond just the smoothest pavement, the coolest bike, and the Perfect Bike Ride.
There's the hope that every place we shop, eat at, and otherwise spend our hard earned cash has a Bicycle rack, and especially one worthy of the name.
There's the hope that our mode of transportation, to and from work, is taken seriously by our employer, and co-workers.
There is the wish that sombody would bloody-well hurry the hell up and invent the 100% punctureless inner-tu.....
Ok, ok, sorry I got carried away there for a moment...... :-)
In 2001, a contributer to a message board I used to frequent wrote a wonderful piece concerning HIS Cyclist dreams.
I loved it so much that I saved it for future reference.
With the birth of this Blog I hit on the idea of sharing this piece with a wider audience than it had previously had, and so secured the individuals permission to post the piece here.
Dan is a long time cyclist. He is both teacher, and activist. A man whose knowledge and opinions have always impressed me.
He provided me with several of the links you see in the column to the left, is a member of several of the organizations listed, and I look forward to reading the links more fully, and commenting about them here.
So, without further ado, let me turn this space over to someone with a dream, actually several dreams, that all cyclists can eagerly get behind:
I ALSO HAVE DREAMS
By Daniel A. Gutierrez Aerospace Cycling Club, Founder and Current President
Long Beach Cyclists, Technical Advisory Committee Chair
CA Assoc. of Bicycling Organizations (CABO), District 7 Director
League of American Bicyclists (LAB), Certified Instructor, LCI #962
International Bicycle Transportation Institute (BTI), Founding Board Chair
1. I have a dream that I'll not be the only vehicular cyclist, riding safely & legally in traffic, that I encounter on my morning cross county commutes.
2. I have a dream that ALL bicyclists will become empowered (critical mass=1) & learn to use the many thousands of miles of roads they already own, rather than fear them.
3. I have a dream that bicyclist advocates will 1st & foremost support cyclists' rights to safely & legally use all public roads, rather than help the anti-bicyclist forces (motorists, pedestrians, & many bicycle riders) push cyclists onto bike lanes & bike paths.
4. I have a dream that bicyclists will not be an afterthought in the planning & design of ALL public roads & that bicyclist education will be supported & funded by local government.
5. I have a dream that bicyclist advocates will encourage cyclists to improve their cycling skills & thereby replace fear of traffic & unsafe maneuvers with knowledge of traffic, rather than seeking dangerous facilities that promote low skill levels, unsafe maneuvers & reinforce existing fear.
6. I have a dream that bicyclist advocates will stop actively discriminating against skilled cyclists that already use major roads safely by falsely claiming that those same roads are mean, unsafe, or "not viable commute routes."
7. I have a dream that bicycle advocates will stop confusing bicyclists with pedestrians & acknowledge that transportation cyclists require MORE, not less, integration with motor vehicle traffic on public roads, & require MORE, not less, separation from pedestrians on so called "bike paths".
8. I have a dream that bicycle advocates will realize AND acknowledge that ALL public roads are already bicyclist facilities & that bike lane stripes don't "create space" for bicyclists , they take it away; even a narrow traffic lane is wider than a bike lane!
9. I have a dream that I will not have to build special re-inforced wheels for efficient bicycle commuting; so bad are the present surface conditions of many major roads.
10. I have a dream that when I arrive at my destination by bicycle , that safe & secure parking will be available.
11. I have a dream that the public will stop telling me that I'm crazy for bicycling major arterial roads, which are fast, safe & convenient for transportation.
12. I have a dream that bicyclist advocates will someday wake up & realize that "cyclists fare best when they act as & are treated as drivers of vehicles" & act accordingly...
Ok, dear reader, what do you think of Dans dreams?......
AND SOOO.... WHO AM I, AND HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN IN THE SADDLE?-- PT. 4
My adventures have taken me to such places as Route 66 in San Bernardino, Turnbull Canyon near Whittier & Hacienda Heights, and Carbon Canyon In Chino.
I love riding along the expanse of San Gabriel River, Santa Ana River, and Los Angeles River Bike Trails.
I've travelled 40 miles from Pasadena to Pomona, 45 miles from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, and 45 miles from Pomona to Lake Elsinore.
I discovered the joys of the Mountains by riding along Highway 39, Glendora Ridge, & Mount Baldy Road.
I've explored San Pedro, and the Los Angeles, & Long Beach Harbor areas.
I've participated in 2 ACURA LA BIKE TOURS, THE LAPD PATROL BENEFIT FUN RIDE, THE LA CITY FUN RIDE , and more.
I've travelled very few of the routes in my notebooks, over the years, because life has had a way of preventing me from finding the time to do so, and yet I HAVE found the occasional opportunity to ride with local bike clubs, and even joined the LA WHEELMEN
I have this goal to use this blog as an incentive to make the opportunities to ride those rides in my notebook and share my experiences.
Even though I've enjoyed my solo travels I've found I like riding with groups and meeting and getting to know my fellow riders.
One thing I've learned over the years is that a Mountain Bike is the worst bike to ride for a Road Cyclist.
I switched to what is known as a HYBRID, and haven't looked back. :-)
Hybrids are part Mtn Bike, part Racing Bike, and the best bike for road riding a recreational cyclist could want, in my humble opinion.
I spent $700 on a 27 SPEED, silver SIRRUS SPORT, and enjoy it tremendously.
I love cycling for the exercise, as a mode of transportation, and for its environmental friendliness.
There are millions of folks, like me, out there riding everyday, and this blog is my attempt to spread the word about this great recreational activity and the ever growing, & evolving, part it plays in our society and culture.
There are alot of cycling sites out there with alot of interesting things to say. There are activists, clubs, events, paths, products, shops, & trails, known and unknown, publicised and not, and I want to get the word out as well as write about my travels, and share my thoughts and opinions, and fiction, and humor on the subject on cycling.
A friend recently asked me a question.
"Nicholas Baker, in his most recent novel, uses a box of kitchen matches as a master metaphor for mortality.
So ... a bicycle is a metaphor for _____ ?
Inquiring minds gotta know.
Your assignment, should you be willing to accept it, is to tell us what bicycle MEANS.
At first glance, it might, like the box of dwindling matches, also be a metaphor for mortality.
Trips on a bicycle are not unlimited.
Then again, maybe it's not about WHERE you are going, but HOW you get there.
However, in my advancing age, I have discovered that its not about where or how you go.
What is most important is WHO you're with."
Well, JASPAR, my friend, at this point I don't really know the answers.
What, dear readers, do YOU think?:-)
I've never really thought about any of that before.
Maybe I'll have answers as this site progresses and evolves.
I'm 42 years old and, still, single, and plan to outlive Strom Thurmond, so there is plenty of time to ponder these great questions. :-)
AND SOOO.... WHO AM I, AND HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN IN THE SADDLE?-- PT. 3
The riding solo, and with my sister gave me the urge to explore further afield...
And so I did, using my home as the starting, and ending, point of each journey.
I also continued to ride my bike to work as well.
In early 1995 I got it into my head to bring a camera along & take pictures of what I encountered along the way on these jaunts.
So, in March, I headed up San Dimas Canyon Road alongside the creek, and into the mountains to the Dam. Round trip about 20 miles or so.
The pictures show the river, the Dam, the mountains and, thanks to the kindness of strangers, my bike ( a blue Mtn. bike since my last one was stolen ) & I several times.
One day, in the early spring of 1996, I walked into a bike shop looking for a headlight & came out with a book as well.
The book was entitled BICYCLE RIDES: LOS ANGELES COUNTY by Don & Sharon Brundige, a couple based out of San Pedro, Ca.. it was the 1991, revised edition ( there is also a 2000 edition, now! ).
What caught my attention was the cover picture of 3 cyclists pedaling on a path in Long Beach, with the Queen Mary in the backround, and the mention that there were 62 routes along beaches, parks, canyons, harbors, and other places inside the book.
For days I poured over this book, and 2 other books I found, soon after, on the shelves at the bookstore where I worked:
TOURING THE LA AREA BY BICYCLE by Peter Powers (1992) and THE BEST BIKE RIDES IN CALIFORNIA by Kimberly Grob (1995)
I was in heaven! I had this burning desire to hit the road on some of my days off.
But there was one problem: How in the hell was I to get to & from these bike rides?
Fortunately for me 3 of the areas Mass Transits had added, and were about to add bike racks to the front of their busses.
That spring an idea hit me: If I can get there by BUS, & get home by BUS, riding far afield would be a piece of cake!
And, so, with these books, 2 Thomas Bros. map books covering 4 counties, and all the bus schedules I could get my grubby little fingers on, an ongoing project was born.....
After all these years that project FINALLY has a name: Call it PROJECT CYCLING DUDE. :-)
1 1/2 small spiral notebooks, and plenty of pens have led to my having more than 80 bike routes written down, ready to be explored.
One thing I discovered in developing the routes was that some places changed over time, & adaptations to the route needed to be made.
Another was that sometimes the bus stops were not close to the start or finish of the route, and yet another was that, upon looking at the routes in the books, and in the Thomas Guides, I realized how short some were.
I decided to make my OWN routes, of longer mileage, using the Thomas Guides, & bus schedules to expand upon the routes of the original authors.
A by-product of this was that I also created routes of my own design as well.
Keep in mind, now, that I'd never travelled along 95% of these routes, even by car, and had no real clue of the terrain I might encounter or how populated the neighborhoods.
That summer I began to journey out into the wilds of the Southern California inner city & suburban landscapes, and even inched up into a few foothills as well.....
In less than a week more than 50 visitors have stopped in to take a look at this humble establishment.
From as far away as France, China, Australia.... and Los Angeles, even.:-)
The international reach of the World Wide Web never ceases to amaze me, and the fact that some bloke, or blokette in some Australian city finds my initial offerings, here, worthy of adding a link on THEIR site deserves notice, and a very sincere, and heartfelt thank you.
So, THANK YOU, Zephyrrider!
She is an 18 yr. old fellow cyclist, down under, who has the amazing ability to hold forth intelligently, and amusingly, on such varied topics as frolicing in a sauna, cross dressers, randy lizards, and our Prez, the SHRUB himself!
She swears she is a genuine, kind-hearted soul, with no evil in her at all, and I ain't gonna dispute her claim. :-)
Afterall, she likes The Cycling Dude, and anyone who likes ME can't be evil, now can they? :-)
AND SOOO.... WHO AM I, AND HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN IN THE SADDLE?-- PT. 2
Early Summer, 1968....
Vietnam, Kennedy, King, Chicago, and Claremont, Ca.
A boy and his bicycle out for a ride.....
A neighborhood bully turns a jump rope into a lasso and snags the back wheel of the boys bike....
The boy falls and bangs his head on the hard, hot, concrete....
And a police car turns the corner, at that exact moment, & thus an officer of the law snatches the boy in his arms, puts him in the back seat and roars off to Pomona Valley Hospital.....
I remember little Andy French, to this day, as being so horrified by his actions that he later apologized and we briefly became friends until I moved aways before the summer was over.
I remember, vaguely, being in a room at the hospital, under some device that scanned my head to see if my intelligence had raised or dropped a notch or 2 due to my collision with the pavement, or something to that effect.
My parents were scared to death, but I lived.... and even was smart enough to later go to college. :-)
1969 saw us move to a house in Pomona, Ca. that my family owned for the next 28 years.
Those first few years were hard as my Dad went insane and spent the last 18 years of his life in and out of mental institutions, and my Mother raised me and my 2 sisters alone.
During my teenage years I grew up very, very fast, helping my Mom.
In my photo collection there are NO pictures of me on a bicycle until JUNE 1993.
I remember having a 3-speed, thru Junior High, and 3 10-speeds from high school thru the 1980's, but don't ask me to tell you the models, or their colors because I can't remember.
I rode the bikes to the library, the store, work, and similar events.
I knew about bike lanes, but if you had told me there were other places to ride a bike than a public street I wouldn't have believed you, even as an adult in the early 80's.
It was in the early 1990's that I bought my first Mountain Bike.
It was an ACAPULCO GIANT, and was white.
The photos show me, my youngest sister, and her boyfriend riding our bikes around Puddingstone Lake, at Bonelli Park, in San Dimas, Ca.. It was June 1993.
My sister had been a long distance runner in High School in the mid 80's and she told me of a path around the lake used by runners, walkers, and cyclists.
So I started , once a week, riding from our house to, and around the lake, and back home, a 10 mile ride.
I found that I loved it! :-)
Sometime over the next 2 years I developed an interest in riding my bike further afield, and it was that interest that led me to books by Don & Sharron Brundige.
In a small, but significant, way my recreational life was about to change forever.....
AND SOOO.... WHO AM I, AND HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN IN THE SADDLE?-- PT. 1
I am tickled pink that you asked!
I know, I know, I asked. :-)
Just go with it ok? I'm from California, and the smog makes us act weird. It's one reason I took up cycling as a child in the first place ( No, not to stay healthy! But, because being a Cyclist, in car mad California is to be the epitome of weird. Well, to some anyway ). :-)
By different routes my parents came to California in the late 40's and early 50's.
My Dad by boat and train, and my Mom by car along Route 66.
By the time they met in around 1955/6 both had pretty much forsaken their Patriotic Duty to learn how to drive & own a car and, instead let their feet do the travellin' and also fell in love with the Bus ( sit back, relax, leave the drivin' to us! ) at about the time the famous RED CAR Trolley Lines snaking out in all directions from downtown Los Angeles were breathing their last (That darn SMOG flexing it's muscles, no doubt!).
I have this vision of my Dad proposing to my Mom, in 1957, on the steps of the front end of the old RTD Line 60G as it sits out in front of the Pomona Train Station.
I never did find out if that was REALLY how it happened. :-)
Anyway, one lazy summer afternoon, or evening, in late June/early July 1959 a future Cyclist was conceived, and at 830am on March 5th of the following year I made my Grand Entrance.
Flash forward 6 months to my first exposure to modes of transportation...
My parents thought that plopping me down on a rocking horse would be cute.
The photo shows a fat, shirtless baby, in diapers, and straw hat, with a look on his face that practically screams, "Hi Ho, Silver, NO WAY!"
Must have been early in the month, because there is also a picture of me in the first and ONLY car I've ever owned...
A cute little number ( the car, not the girl in the passenger seat with me! ) that was a bright red.
I'm shirtless & wearing a Hard Hat, and the girl has the straw hat, and we seem to be having a fine time tooling around the Living Room in our jalopy. :-)
Neither the girl or the car made a lasting impression with me, and it wasn't until my 2nd Birthday that my parents made another attempt at getting me interested in transportation matters.
My very FIRST CYCLE!
There I am, happy as a pig in slop, wearing a light brown shirt, with dark brown pants, the wind in my hair, a rakish smile on my lips, pedaling my little red Tricycle down the driveway, hell bent for leather, and not a traffic cop in sight!!
Flash forward again, and it's May of 1965, and I have been tooling around for 3 months on my newest wheels....
The picture shows yet another red number, this time with front and rear fenders, and.. TA DA! Yes!! TRAINING WHEELS!!!!
Whoo Hoo! Same driveway, same smile, the wind in my hair, and STILL no cop in sight! :-)
I don't know what model bikes these first 2 were, but it was apparent that I was hooked on cycling, despite the brief fling with a skateboard, 1 1/2 years later, that ended with the board disappearing due, I learned 20 years later, to my Dad fearing for the life of his only son at the hands of the infernal contraption. :-)
By May 1968 the training wheels were long gone, and I had my first Scwinn.
Yes, it, too, was red.
A long, wide, white saddle...
And obscenely U-shaped handle bars that would look perfectly at home on some weight machine, at LA FITNESS, being used by some Arnold Schwartzenwhatshisname wanna-be to lift 500 lbs. doing Preacher Curls or something.
Same driveway, same smile, no cops.....
The cop showed up that summer.....
And, on that note I'll say good night, and pick up the story tomorrow evening....
I have big, ambitious, plans for this blog, and am just getting started...
I don't know where I'll end up, but your welcome to tag along on the journey....
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 Rd. 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.
THE ZORRO OF LOVE: A Peddler (pardon the pun!) of Romance
This is a story of the shape-shifting cousin to that prankster Cupid, but no mere shooter of arrows up peoples rear ends, while hiding behind bushes, is this being...
It is a lovely spring evening along the San Gabriel River Bike Trail, and heading south is a handsome devil of a soon to be 43 year old bachelor, riding his bike and admiring the view, when suddenly from out of the bushes leaps what appears to be Mae West in a smashing black dress, cape, and mask outfit!
The figure dashes up to the man and slashing an L across his heart with her sword whispers seductively, "Why don't you ask her out, big boy?" and points down the trail.
Dazed, and bemused, the man gazes down the trail, then turns around, but the figure is gone...
Meanwhile, heading north along the trail is a beautiful young woman. She could be 25, or 39, it's not important.
She is pedaling absent-mindedly along when, suddenly, Rudolph Valentino, looking dashingly romantic in black with a cape and mask, leaps into her path and slashes an L across her heart with his sword.
he silently smiles and winks then, pointing down the trail with his sword, disappears from whence he came...
And, so the 2 riders continue on their seperate ways, approaching, from opposite ends, a dark tunnel beneath a nearby highway...
A couple of seconds after disappearing into the tunnel there is a crash, and the sound of startled voices are heard, then silence...
20 minutes passes...
Zorro, standing on the highway above and looking over at the Bike trail, is pleased to see a couple of disheveled bike riders, 1 male, 1 female, emerge from the tunnel below.
They are walking their bikes and holding hands, and smiling at each other, as they head off into the sunset...
He just loves happy endings, or, is that, promising new beginnings... :-)
BICYCLIST TO CAR OWNERS: CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
Late one Saturday night I was riding my bike on a street 4 blocks from my home, lights on and everything, when someone in a passing car, apparently not amused by the "One Less Car" slogan on the back of my shirt, thought it would be hilarious to stick a hand out the window and give me a shove.
To that someone: I was not amused, and if I had been going faster than 5mph chances are good I would have lost control of my trusty steed and not be in any shape to write anything. I could even have been killed.
In the America of the New Millenium the Culture of the Car rules and there are some who consider bicyclists a nuisance hindering their use of the road and wouldn't be caught on a bike even if their life depended on it.
When some people think of bicyclists at all they think of the popular sport of Mountain Biking.
Wake up and take notice of the long overdue proliferation of Bike Lanes on the streets of your community, Bike Paths in your parks, on your beaches, along abandoned Railroad Right-of-ways and along the river channels to the sea. Many major Transit Agencies allow access by bike as well.
Bicyclists ride to work, and for pleasure, and belong to riding clubs. Many car owners also own bikes as well.
I have even discovered that there are activist groups made up of volunteers out to promote cycling, the developement of safe places and conditions for cycling, and to look out for the rights of cyclists to enjoy their hobby with pride.
The goal of these groups is to improve the bicycling environment, and the quality of life, in their communities.
I ride my bike all over 4 counties, 20-60 miles a trip, just for the fun and exercise, and camera in tow, to see what there is to see.
I do not want to chase you off the road, dear driver. I just ask that you please move over a bit and share the road with me.
In fact, better yet, won't you please leave your jalopy in the garage, occasionally, and join me on the Bike Path?
[::..The Legal Right, I Mean LEFT ( I'm a Democrat, Afterall ), To Reproduce, Publish, & Get Rich ( Or More Likely, Go Broke ) From The Matter Created Within This Ongoing Collection Of Overblown Drivel ( Or Pure Genius, Depending On Your POV ) Belongs To Me! ( Translated, That Means: All Content Copyright 2003 By Kiril Kundurazieff ) :-) ..::]