Sign in at 745, meeting at 815am, roll to hill #1 at 830. Please be on time!
Day-of announcements: @BikeSwarm Yes– rain or shine, any bike, water, snacks, tube, tools, stokedness, riding for points, riding to finish, waiting at top of each hill No– bad attitudes, cars, jock mentality, entry fee, prizes
See other FAQ on this earlier post, propaganda here, entire event history here and send any questions to BikeSwarm [at] gmail
I may need some more day-of volunteers, please come speak with me in the morning if you’d like to help out. Thank you!
My good friend Lisa, whom I have mentioned regarding her Tract House project and Bike Night at the Hammer (2009, 2010, 2011) lives in a warehouse in downtown LA with a few other artists. I was heading over there the other day because Morgan and Mike Szerszunowicz‘s band was playing and Lisa asked if I wanted to come by earlier for dinner. Of course! She was making pasta with beans and kale, but I didn’t recognize the bean and when I asked she showed me this bag:
Now Morgan is no slouch in the kitchen either- like when he made curry after our mountain run– and even though his band was playing, he took the time to make relevant pesto. Yes, relevant pestos! Their band is Yersinia Pestis, named after the bacterium that caused the major plagues in early European times. So why not spicy pesto to accompany black metal?
I asked him about the recipe and sure enough the base is the Classic Pesto from Vegan with a Vengeance which we made regularly when we lived together. It’s super good! Here is a video of it being prepared (with recipe) and it is also very close to this Post Punk Kitchen version. Like Isa says, pesto is delicious, versatile, easy to prepare and a crowd-pleaser. I highly recommend making this recipe. Level of death spice up to you!
This post took a turn toward the macabre with all this talk of plague and bacteria, but don’t let that keep you from making great pesto or integrating fun food into your life!
Photo from my bike club’s tumblr of an early round of pizza making
Oh, pizza how I love you. I won’t pretend that pizza is a health food, but I do know that it has been an integral, yummy part of my diet since I was old enough to think about food. In my Italian-American household growing up pizza was a ritual. My father painstakingly searched out all the local pizzerias to find one that made pizza closest to what he grew up with in Brooklyn. He practically interviewed the owner and the pizza maker (often the same person). I remember this place opened by a family who had moved from Brooklyn gave my father a special gold discount card because they loved how much he loved pizza!
But then pizza became an issue when I first went vegetarian at age 13. I would pick the pepperoni off my slices and my father would yell at me that I was wasting money and we couldn’t afford to not eat toppings. When I went vegan a few years later my generally supportive mother was concerned that I was depriving myself unnecessarily by excluding cheese. “But, why cheese too? What will you eat, how will you survive?”
For years I ate cheeseless pizzas or made my own with pre-made dough and was generally happy with them. When vegan cheeses improved in the early aughts, I still wasn’t that impressed. I’d much rather have a tasty cheeseless pizza than have a mediocre cheese on there. But, and I hate to admit this, when Daiya came out it really was a game changer. All this time and I had never made my own dough. The rising and the kneading, it always seemed more science than art, and that’s not my cooking style. But then one day I wanted to make pizza with a friend and there were no pre-made doughs at any walkable stores. We had to resort to buying pre-made crust. It was expensive and incredibly meh. That did it!
So with new found excitement I called my good friend Dave Vandermaas (photo) who I knew would have a kick-ass dough recipe. Then I decided I wanted to make deep dish pizza in cast-iron skillets. It’s on another level! And it’s so much easier than I ever thought it would be. I’ve played with the recipe and made some small changes- maybe pizza making is more art than science!
Perfect Pizza Dough
1 package dry yeast
1 cup warm (not hot!) water
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 t salt
2 t sugar
1. Add dry yeast and 1 t sugar to warm water, let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile combine flour, salt, remaining sugar and olive oil in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
3. After 10 minutes and yeast has grown significantly, add to mixing bowl.
4. Stir ingredients until well-combined. Dough should be slightly wet- it’ll stick to your fingers.
5. Cover with dish towel and let sit in a warm place for 30 minutes- I turn my oven on at 100 degrees and then turn off immediately. Racks should be warm to touch but not too hot.
6. Dough should have risen to about double its size. Lightly flour a flat surface and your hands, pull dough out and kneed to shape. I flatten and double at least twice, but spend only about 2 minutes doing this. It’s way easier than I thought!
7. Flatten dough into cast-iron, add toppings. Traditional deep dish has sauce on top of cheese, but I still prefer my cheese in between the sauce and toppings.
8. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Note- I always double the recipe and use 1.5 doughs for my 12-inch cast-iron and 0.5 doughs for the 9-inch one.
Toppings for two pizzas
1 small head of broccoli finely diced
1 zucchini finely diced
4 cloves of diced garlic
1 bag Daiya mozzerella
1/2 package Field Roast sausage
15 ounce jar pizza sauce (slightly thicker than marinara)
Cost- These two pizzas cost me about $13- and I used organic flour, yeast, vegetables and pizza sauce. And half of that cost is the vegan cheese and sausage!! So you can make two organic cheeseless veggie pizzas for about $7 with pretty minimal effort. How amazing is that? And if you are like me and more of a cook than a baker, don’t let pizza dough intimidate you. It’s not a perfect science and if you are comfortable in the kitchen you too can make these fantastic pizzas.
Let me know if you try them! And please do share any pizza making tips and recipes in the comments. Thanks and enjoy!
I realize that this is the same day as the LA Wheelmen Fargo Hill Climb but I couldn’t avoid that conflict. It’ll be a little chaotic over there, as Fargo may be an earlier hill this year, but maybe we’ll pick up a few more riders for the rest of the hills? Every year I email them an invitation to come to this, but they never do- or even write back. But I’ll let them know that we’ll be there this year.
Also, if you read through the history of this event you can see that despite having the word ‘racer’ in the title the majority of people are there for an unbelievable tour of back roads and hills in Los Angeles- Shawn Bannon’s photos from 2010 really capture this. And any and all bikes are welcome! Just bring a good attitude- and patience. See you bright and early on the 25th.
The 2012 race will be on Sunday March 25th. We’ll meet at the same location, which is now the Silver Lake Sunset Triangle Plaza, at 745am, pre-race talk will begin at 815am and we’ll roll out to the first hill at 830am sharp. All updates between now and then will be posted here and on the facebook event page. For day-of info please follow the Swarm! twitter account. Flier coming shortly!
Finishers of the first ever Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer way bike in 2006.
What exactly is this?
This is a stage ‘race’ on 10 of the hardest hills in Los Angeles that started in 2006. We ride as a group between hills and then each hill is its own race with points awarded for 1st through 5th. We regroup and ride together to the next hill. The rider with the most points after 10 hills wins. It’s based on Danny Chew’s Dirty Dozen. Most riders are out there just to ride all 10 hills in one day, which is no small feat.
Do I have to race?
Definitely not. Most people on this ride are not racing, but are there just to attempt every hill.
Is there an entry fee?
Are there prizes?
Can I ride fixed gear?
You can try! We ride together from hill to hill and any gear that you could get up these hills with will be too low to stay with the group. You are welcome to come out and prove me wrong though.
Will I get lost?
No! Well, probably not. We ride as a group from hill to hill at a chill pace. At each hill it will be obvious where to go. At any turns or confusing parts I’ll have chalk and/or a volunteer. We regroup at the top only after the last person has made it up.
How can I prepare?
Familiarize yourself with the route and with the history of the ride. A good start is the write-up from 2010. A good gauge hill is Micheltorena off of Sunset Blvd. . It’s long with steep sections and if you can make it up that comfortably I think you can hang on this ride. Another test is Fargo St, which is a monster of a hill. It has been hill number 9 for the past few years, but that is subject to change this year.
Do I get a meal or picnic or something out of this?
I wish. In the past we’ve done everything from pancake breakfasts to picnics and from t-shirts to patches. This year there will definitely be a spoke card by Creative Thing, but no promises beyond that.
Who puts this on?
My bike club, known as Swarm!. We ride everything from alley cats to international UCI races. Collectively we think that the world would be a better place if people rode bikes and ate vegan food more often.
My friends want to watch, can they drive along the course and stop at the hills?
Nope, sorry. We’re going to be on some narrow roads in quiet neighborhoods; I don’t want to add to the car traffic. They are welcome to ride bikes along with us and I’ll help navigate the best places to see and how to get around. By the end almost half the people with us are just there to watch and cheer on the other riders!
How long is this ride?
Plan to be done around 2pm, hopefully sooner.
Why did you stop making fun of Bryan Farhy?
After 5 years of naming vegan events after him over an anti-vegan email, he recently sent me an apology and I’m letting it go. Don’t tell any of my east coast friends that I didn’t take a grudge to the grave.
Anything I can do to help?
Thanks for asking! I need help getting the word out. Please send this page to your bike club/crew/gang. I also may need some volunteers the day of. Getting up and down the hill may or may not be required. Photography is always appreciated, but again, by bike and not cars. Get in touch at bikeswarm [at] gmail.
Get me stoked?
Here’s a short video of Canton Street, one of the steepest hills in the world, from this past year’s Dirty Dozen race.