Budge has a great house update post on his blog: ‘House update #… something’. I’m going to be lame and just link someone else’s blog as my own blog post. I have so many photos in my camera waiting to see the world! In the meantime, I slave away.
Yo! (Yo! MTV Raps is 20 years old )
So yo! Been busy with boring, non-bloggable activities , but I did do Los Angeles Critical Mass last weekend and it was off the hook! 250 plus. We rode through Hollywood, which I sometimes forget exists. I have to say, the best way to see Hollywood Blvd is with 250 people on bikes. Speaking of 250 cyclists, I have to point out that the City of Los Angeles has declared April 22nd a Car Free Day according to this Wilshire Center Earth Day. For real. Car Free Day. In Los Angeles. The ‘official proclamation’(pdf) says, ‘In recognition of the adverse impacts caused by motor vehicles, the City of Los Angeles declares this day a Car-Free Day City Wide…’
Is that not the most amazing proclamation you’ve ever heard from a city? Sit on that.
Oh, and the Swarm! site has some updates on it.
I hope to get some photos up soon of my recent non-blogging activities: went on Dan Koeppel’s 4.5 hour stair walk tour of Echo Park (seriously there are a lot of fucking staircases in Echo Park), mountain biking in the San Gabriels, mountain biking in the Santa Monicas, a Hip Hop festival and rock climbing in Joshua Tree. I love California!
But I can’t be bothered to spend any more time on the computer than I have to right now, but here is some good stuff other people wrote:
Alex Thompson who writes westsidebikeside.com recently penned a controversial article called Bicycle advocacy: FAIL. Bike Activism, WANT! He’s received some criticism, including this article: Great Energy, Wrong Targets.
And this book may be worth checking out: Pedal Power: The Quiet Rise of the Bicycle in American Public Life
No one wants to hear about how my feet hurt or that the marathon was hard or how I did not train enough. 25,000 people ran this one alone; hundreds of thousands run them every year. The choir of suffering is loud enough.
This was my fifth marathon in two years and they keep getting slower! Sure, there are a lot of reasons why this is true, but come on. This one was fun in that I had a crew (at the start at least) and many friends along the way (thanks Chris and Luz for the photos). I hung out in East LA for awhile between miles 21 and 24 because by this point I was done and welcomed any opportunity to walk or even sit. Budge has some photos of the position he took on the 6th St bridge.
Did you hear about that guy who had to suffer through a marathon to realize that training actually is important? What a dumb ass. Did you hear about the vegan cheese factory that burned down? Apparently the cheese still didn’t melt.
Here is the marathon from the perspective of someone who prepares: veganheartdoc.blogspot.com
I was worried about having some serious injury to my feet again, but one week later and I am doing fine. Only hobbled for a few days. Ha.
I cannot leave out that Brian did the Death Valley double on Saturday, marathon on Sunday ridiculousness that I did last year. But he ran a 4.14 marathon! Brian you are amazing. Imagine if you had been training! Morgan clocked his first marathon at 3.42 and Trista, despite a knee injury, completed her first.
Forgot to mention that that night, after Feel My Legs, Budge and I took the bus into downtown to see The Coup. We decided on the 14-minute bus trip cause 1) It was raining 2) Budge had raced and was feeling it 3) They don’t allow bags at the show space. We met up with Luz at an Indian spot just a few blocks away, ate some good food and headed to the show. The Coup are an amazing group and they performed as a live band. We left totally satisfied and headed over to Broadway St to get the bus back to East LA.
One came, we hopped on and sat in the back. Not more than a few blocks away we were startled by a van that ran a red light and smashed into the side of the bus! It hit near the front and moved the front-end of the bus into the next lane. We jumped out of our seats and checked to make sure everyone was okay and there were no injuries. Then we hopped out of the bus to check on the driver of the van. I was preparing for the worst because the van hit the bus without slowing down. We look into the work van and don’t see anything. Did the driver end up on the floor? In the back? No. Apparently in the ten seconds it took us to get out of the bus he had jumped out and ran down the street. He even remembered to close the door behind him.
Do we give chase? Part of me wanted to because as a cyclist I constantly get the sense that drivers feel there are no repercussions when they put others in danger. Here was an opportunity for vindication! In the end I decided against it. By now everyone else on the bus had wondered off, but we stayed with the freaking-out driver. The fire department arrived and were cool, checking for injuries, etc. Then the police showed up. Why do they always have to fulfill the stereotype of asshole cops? They demanded to see our I.D’s. ‘Do we have to?’, we ask. Of course you do they insist. Then they began to berate us on why we were being so secretive. Hello, every hear of privacy? This is the thanks we get for sticking around. Instead of looking for the driver they harass us.
The MTA inspector called a bus we had just missed to turn around and get us to take us home. Super nice of her. Home around 2am. Crazy.
Including the Swarm! rank and file we rolled out of Silver Lake about 50 deep to a new hill for 2008 deep in Mt. Washington, Eldred St. With claims at steepness greater than Fargo St (hill 6), it was worth the 6 miles each way to add it to the route. When we turned the corner the hill was in view the gasps and ‘what the fuck’s’ from riders told me it was a good addition. Not only is it steep for a significantly long section, it is narrow, has uneven pavement and gravel and two loose dogs. In the photo to the left Brian shows that bike skills and patience can go a long way. 5 points.
We rolled back to Echo Park and Silver Lake hitting the string of hills (Marview, Quintero) along Sunset blvd before the long-ish stretch up Echo Park Ave to up and over Baxter. It was the strangest feeling: sun and warmth instead of rain and clouds. The descents were also significantly less scary with dry roads.
After climbing up Baxter from the Echo Park side there is a steep decline into a ravine, before hill 5, which is Baxter again up to the same ridge as the top of thee Fargo hill (but from the opposite side). Back in 2005 I did the water/food support with a BOB trailer in the rain and nearly crashed coming down when my brakes locked up and I launched over the bump in the cross-street. Even though my bike and trailer were airborne I managed to stay on the bike. It was super scary. Unfortunately Cole was not there back then, so when he bombed the hill in 2008 he had no idea the cross street lipped up. I saw him accelerating down at probably 30+ MPH, but figured it was Cole, who has mad bike skills, so I wasn’t that worried. Then I saw him launch off the street. And fly through the air. Then crash and slide UP the other side. Fuck. He leaped to his feet immediately, as we rushed over and made him sit back down. Fortunately a woman from the neighborhood happened to be walking by and told us she was a fire(wo)man and took care of him. Can you guess what he broke? Yep, collarbone. And some ribs. Someone from a house made a sling from an old sweatshirt and the fire woman took him to the hospital with his new Independent Fabrication bike that I do not think was damaged.
We were all pretty bummed, but we know Cole will recover quickly and we went on to the next hill. Someone commented, ‘See, maybe you hippies should have car support.’ I was too caught up in dealing with Cole’s injuries to see who said it, but here’s my answer wise-ass: Why should we waste the resources of someone driving along the course, on tight back roads that already have too much traffic, just in case a rare emergency happens? As this case proves, our neighbors are capable of helping and help beyond this (which we didn’t need) is only a phone call away.
After Fargo, we rolled up and over Earl St (which was one of the 10 hills in 06 and 07, but now only enroute) to Hill 7, Duane, from the dog park on Silver Lake Blvd. The extra miles in the start and the time spent dealing with Cole had already stretched out the day and people were getting tired. Then the sun went in. For the monster climb up to the Observatory it was cool and some sprinkles started to fall. When we regrouped and rode through Los Feliz back to Silver Lake it was full-on raining. Of course! We officially have had rain every year.
In Silver Lake we crossed paths with CICLE’s Green Living ride before hitting the last two hills of the day, Maltman Ave (brought back from 06) and the epic Mitcheltorena. Our numbers had dwindled down as the difficulty of riding all these hills in a row took its toll on a more than a few.
The mandatory Fargo St shot. Note
A Swarm! event. Tell others.
Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer
10 hills, 10 stages, 1 morning
A race for some, an epic adventure for others.
It is a tour of some of the less traveled streets in Los Angeles, from downtown to Silver Lake and beyond.
There is no entry fee and limited support. No car support please, spectators welcome on bicycles (you won’t have to ride the hills).
Just riding up any one of these hills is an accomplishment. 10 in one day is seriously hard. Be prepared.
Meet at Sunset Blvd and EdgeCliffe Dr. (Silver Lake Farmers Market)
Sign-up at 845am, leave at 915 (!!)
In how many cities can you take a 20-min train ride to mountain bike trails? Thursday morning Budge wanted to take out his new single-speed 29er (fixed gears are so 2005. 2008 is all about SS 29ers) so we rode 10 minutes to Chinatown and hopped on the Gold Line to Pasadena. We ran into an urban planner friend of mine on his way to Pasadena for a meeting about their new ‘Bicycle Boulevard’. For us, we had a short jaunt through a neighborhood and we’re at JPL.
It’s a bit of everything back there. Long, dry climbs, with beautiful views. For the single-track it’s cold and wet with multiple stream crossings (record rain fall in LA has led to snow at high elevations and heavy flow in the rivers).
I pinch-flatted twice riding the cross bike (700×32 knobby-less tires), but otherwise, what a great way to spend a week-day morning! We rode back home along the Arroyo-Seco watershed past the Rose Bowl and through Highland Park. Budge tried to talk me into eating at Cinnamon Vegetarian, but I actually had to get to work.
His blog has some more photos.
Last night I was riding back from the YMCA over the 1st bridge, which is under construction because of the Gold Line Extension to East LA, and I took my first-ever road spill. I’ve fallen off a bike many (many!) times between bmx, mountain biking, track-bike tricks, etc, but never JRA (Just Riding Along).
I was distracted momentarily when a construction worker I did not see made some noise to my left as I rode up to the apex of the bridge. It was nothing though. I went back to thinking about what I was going to eat for dinner, when a bunch of flashing lights in front of me came into view on the end of the bridge as I was beginning to go downhill. That was enough for me to not see the big rocks in the lane. I flew over the bars so quick I barely had time to react! I’ve almost been thrown over the bars before riding my track bike, so I know how to get out of it, but the combination of leaning forward (looking ahead) and my downhill speed I was sliding along the ground before I knew it.
Reacted quickly enough to make sure I wasn’t in any traffic and to grab my bike before someone drove over it. My bike was fine and I only had a scrap so I hopped back on and rode the last mile home. Jack (thanks!) had just put on a whole new drive train, including a rear wheel he built up for me, but everything was fine.
(Always looking for an excuse to post food pics)
Luckily those clouds didn’t produce rain while I was out.
I still got in a 75-min run and home before the rain. Some interesting points regarding Elysian Park:
It’s 600 acres big and touches Echo Park (the neighborhood), Chinatown and Chavez Ravine.
The Eastside of the park is known as a cruising spot for young gay men.
Lots of people walk dogs here. Most people are walking at least two at a time.
The female to male ratio is at least 4:1. The likelihood of a female walking a dog is probably 75%.