Ride Report

My friend Mark, having rebounded from a long night’s birthday partying has posted a comment wanting to know the 411 on how yesterday’s ride went, and not to ignore him nor avoid a chance to ramble about bicycling, here goes.

I’m pretty sure this is my third (maybe fourth) Volvo City of Angels Fun Ride. I did consecutive ones back in 2001-2003, the crowning moment of them being at the last mile coming through downtown and spotting the legendary Voice of the Dodgers Vin Scully standing outside a Flower Street hotel who waved at me when I passed yelling out my undying love for him.

Back then they were much more what I would call a fun ride… or at least somewhat hella more free spirited than they are now being much more strictly regimented by a squadron of LAPD motorcycle police. While the officers provide a wonderful service for the riders by corking intersections much as the way as would be done to keep a funeral or presidential procession moving, they tend to embrace a bigger role as cowboys moving a herd to market by swooping around and attempting to keep us all tightly corraled to the No.2 and/or No. 3 lane of whatever street we might be on by incessantly blipping and chirping squawking and farting their motorcycle sirens and yelling at us in such a way as to leave me feeling the word “fun” should be excised from the event’s title and replaced with “STAY TO THE RIGHT!”

My friend Stephen Roullier did it last year and that aspect was enough to keep him from ever wanting to pay for the privilege of doing so ever again. Can’t say that I blame him.

M grumblings about it not withstanding, rarely is it that I want to miss an opportunity to bike en masse anymore and I’m glad I didn’t miss this one. While the cops were really having fun being cops and my standard t-shirt and hiking pants bike outfit certainly didn’t fit in with the predominately Lycra-clad crowd (that I’d guesstimate was 600 riders strong… maybe more),  it was an awesome route that began and ended at the Police Academy in Elysian Park and went through downtown and the areas surrounding the colisseum before coming back up through the eastern side of the civic center and over into East L.A. then across to Hollywood and up over the Cahuenga Pass down Barham at 43 miles per hour and turning onto Forest Lawn Drive to go past Forest Lawn and Mt. Sinai cemeteries (where I said a hey to Mark’s dad as I passed) before entering Griffith Park to swing a backwards loop up and over its “roller coaster” and then continuing south along Riverside Drive and back up Stadium Way through Elysian Park to the Police Academy, a place I’m familar with from my days as an explorer scout with West L.A. Division.

I wound up getting home around 11:30 and though I’d hoped to include the bridge walk that had been scheduled at noon, it was just too soon and my legs were just not at all interested.

And while I didn’t see the legendary Vin Scully anywhere out there along the total of 52 miles I covered, I did spot in passing my occasional biking and blogger buddy Eric of Survive LA out walking his massive dobie on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park who didn’t hear me when I called his name. And a short while later on Hollywood Boulevard another acquaintance, Heidi, who I know through friends Cybele and Manny. She didn’t hear me either because when I was about to call her name I was forced into silence because I totally blanked on it. Duh.

Pix from the ride are here on Flickr.