Archive for May, 2009

Raccoon Cam

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Since the stair guy’s piled up his tools and stuff in such a way as to block the cam’s view of the patio table (and thus any late-night Bink sightings, yesterday I oriented  it west for a shot down the south side of the house. Not because anything special goes on, but because at least the view isn’t blocked.

Turns out while I was out doing the LA Marathon Bike Tour, it indeed did capture a still of something special this morning in the form of a raccoon about to scale the fence either to get into the trees or on our roof.

raccoon

2 Legit, 2 Legit 2 Krash

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Share photos on twitter with TwitpicSo for months and months I’d planned on banditing this year’s L.A. Marathon Bike Tour because I was grrrrrrudging on the event’s relocation from it’s traditional first Monday in March to Memorial Day.

It was this weekend that I realized, having supported the marathon with my participation in one form or another since 1994, if there was ever a year the thing needed my support it was this one. So at the end of Saturday’s Black Dahlia/West Adams ride I coughed up the ridiculous $45 late-entry fee at the convention center and got myself officially bibified.

Those four numbers at right tell me attendance is waaaay down. At such a late date in years past years bike tour bibs have always been well into the five digit realm. We’re talking 12,000-plus. Here they are with me signing up two days before the show and not even two-thirds to 10,000.

They picked a bad year to fuck with tradition and by they I don’t mean the new marathon organizers. I mean the city council which rolled over for a coalition of churches who complained their congregants couldn’t get there asses into their pews that first Sunday in March because of road closures.

Anyway, I’ve gone last-minute legit and I’m gonna try to get some shut eye in preparation for a 3 a.m. wake-up so I can get down there by 4 a.m. in my stars-and-stripes jersey and be near the front for a quick start when the gun goes off at 5 a.m. in hopes of protesting via a two for the price of one, in other words: rolling the course twice. Once cranking it, and the second time cruising. We’ll see.

In the meantime, here’s the vid from today’s 33-mile ride with Hap to the Los Angeles National Cemetery and then the Getty Center:

Black Dahlia/Historic West Adams Mosey Wrap-Up

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

I’m usually the last one to shed my humility and  slap my own back, but if I do say so myself and obviously I do: this morning’s ride was an epic success — replete with spoke cards even:

scard

Yeah, I caved and bought a bargain basement laminator this week and roughed out some graphics that I then slapped between some plastic sheets last night, sealed them up and then cut ’em into bite sized portions, as seen above.

bdgroup

Thankfully I had some hearty fellow urban explorers to hand them out to! Above from front to back is Jessica, Ron, Hap, Roman, Ian and David. Who I met up with at Silversun Plaza. At the Biltmore we were joined by Kay — a veteran of past rides to Watts.  and after that as luck would have it Kay’s friend Ben rolled up on his Flying Pigeon  while fixing a flat on Kay’s bike at Hoover and Adams.

So from there the nine of us set out to check the remaining 18  of the 26 stops on the trek, which from one perspective looked a little sumthin’ like a whole bunch of pages tabbed in my book of record:

bdwam

It proved an invaluable if not bike-sized resource, but thankfully Jessica volunteered to shuttle it across town for us in her pannier, saving me time of having to put it back and pull it out of my backpack at each stop.

I’m not sure why, but one thing I’m never able to do on rides I’m leading is take  pictures. I’m usually a pretty good multitasker, but since I’m trying to remember the route (and it was a complicated route; check it out after the jump) and doing most of the talking (from text out of a book) I just can’t seem to remember to stop and haul out the cam. Thankfully I know pretty much everyone else was pixelizing everything so hopefully I’ll have some links soon to photo albums from the trip.

UPDATED (3:30 p.m.): And just like that, Hap’s images are already online in an awesome set that can be viewed here.

In terms of a timelapse vid, my cam lasted longer than I’d thought. its battery finally running out of juice just as we arrived on Adams Boulevard for the first two stops in that district. I’ll update this post with that clip as soon as I get it up on YouTube.

UPDATED (8:40 p.m.): Here’s the video:

After the last stop at Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery followed by the late addition of historic Menlo Avenue between Adams and 29th Street, we all cranked it over to El Parian on Pico for their excellent food and then people started going there separate ways when Hap, Kay, Ben and I headed to the Marathon Expo at the Convention Center, where I went against a long-standing decision to crash the L.A. Marathon Bike Tour this time around out of protest over the date being moved to May, and instead went legit and registered because attendance is going to be way down and if there’s any year where I need to support this event that I’ve participated in since 1994, its 2009.

Tomorrow’s the Memorial ride across town to Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood  and maybe a side trip up to the Getty afterward. It departs at 9 a.m. at Silversun Plaza.

UPDATED (5/24): The photos of my keen-eyed friend David are up as well at this Flickr set.

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An Attempt At Logic

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Yep. Happened today on 4th Street westbound, approaching La Brea. Guy in an SUV gets on my tail about a block and a half from the light and hangs there for a bit as if he’s hoping I’ll either somehow vanish entirely, or maybe be able to go from 18 mph to 45 in the blink of an eye. When his patience evaporates a second later and reality sets in that neither fantasy will occur he hits the horn at me a couple times: honkhoooonk. At least he didn’t stand on it and race around me in full asshat mode but still, it’s The Horn, and nothing good ever ever ever comes from using the infernal device — especially coming up behind me.

See, even if the honker is trying his or her best to be helpful in alerting me that my ass is literally aflame or my backpack has opened up and I might wanna backtrack the half block to where the pieces of my iPhone are being run over, there is simply no way I can translate intent. The horn speaks a language with a very limited vocabulary. There is little to nuance. And even using it an attempt to do good or be helpful; all I’m hearing is another asshole in a hurry.

So the guy’s honkhoooonked at me and I give him a glance in my rearview mirror. He’s not particularly aggressive, meaning he’s not gesticulating or rolling his head or checking his mirror or flipping me off, but at the same time he is narrowing the gap between his front bumper and my rear wheel. For what, I wonder. To get to the red light at La Brea a block away a second quicker?

I semi-shrug, return my attention forward and maintain my pace and my location in the center of lane praying he doesn’t honk at me again.

He doesn’t, and we both arrive at the light at La Brea, where I pull to the side so he can come up along side me on the left. When he does I lean over and look at him with as nonconfrontationally a nod as I can muster and he responds by rolling down his passenger side window.

“I’m just curious why you honked at me?”

“I wanted you to move over so I could get past you.”

“To stop at the red light sooner?”

He chuckles sheepishly and shrugs. I chuckle to, relieved that he’s being more cool than tool.

“Let me ask you something,” I say.

“Shoot.”

“If you were walking on a sidewalk toward an intersection just minding your own business and I was on my bike coming up behind you, would it be better for me to ring my bell or call out to try and get you to move out of my way or should I wait until I could go around you safely without disturbing you?”

The guy sighs and smiles. “Sounds like you already know the answer to that.”

“Yeah, but do you?”

“Whatever, man,” he rolls he eyes and stares at the red light staring back at him from across the street.

“You get my point though right? Hogging and sharing are relative regardless of how you roll.

He nods again smirking and looking out the windshield. The window starts to go up.

“Just some food for thought,” I say before it closes.

Saturday’s Ride Will Have Some RIDE-Arc Flava

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

So the original intent of the West Adams mosey portion of Saturday’s ride was just to wander around the historic district looking at some of the phenomenal residences that exist there. Then I relocated a book I have on the famed district choke full with details on structures living and long gone and I couldn’t help but channel my inner tour-guide and plot out specific points for us to visit.

Here it is in the abstract (clickable to double size, and the link below it will take you to the live Google maps version):

wadams
View Black Dahlia / West Adams Mosey in a larger map

The points in the upper right and lower left are the Biltmore Hotel and the location where Elizabeth Short’s remains were found. Among those markers in between  I found homes of heroes, villians, superstars and city changers and much more. I’ll be bringing the aforementioned book along to provide some brief background info.

In addition, my friend Hap made an excellent suggestion of including a stop at the Convention Center for anyone needing to later-register and/or pick up their L.A. Marathon Bike Tour stuff. So we’ll be doing that as well — which conveniently puts El Parian, my new favorite taco place on our route. So a pre-Convention Center stop there will be in order, too.

This is going to be a great ride.

Weekend Rides A-Comin’!

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

So far my “Bike Every Day In May” campaign has been a success. But the weekends have been a bit lopsided.

The past three Saturdays have featured pretty good rides of 20 miles or more: May 2, “Around The Griffith Park Horn” ride; May 9, the “Not The L.A. Marathon Bike Tour” ride; and May 16, the “Ten Bridges” re-ride.

Sundays, not so much: May 3, The “Verdugo/Beaudry Loop” mountain bike ride; May 10, the “10K” ride; and May 17, the “10K” ride. All in the six-mile range and solo.

That changes this weekend with two unique rides:

May 23: Is a combo ride that will utilize the framework of one of the earliest public rides I helped organize: the Black Dahlia Ride. From Silver Lake we’ll venture to the Biltmore Hotel where Elizabeth Short was last seen alive and then traverse a course that will take us to the Leimert Park location where was made the gruesome discovery of her mutilated remains. Coming and going, we’re also going to mosey around the greater Historic West Adams District for look-sees at some of the significant architecture found there.

Starts/Ends: Silversun Plaza, Sunset Boulevard and Parkman, Silver Lake. Departs: 7:30 a.m. Distance is approximately 20 miles.

May 24: This “Memorial” ride’s route will carry us across town to the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood. If you’ve never been it’s a powerful place any day of the year, but on Memorial Day weekend, with each of the thousands of graves bearing a flag it is a particularly poignant place. Afterward paying our respects and reflecting on the sacrifices so many have made in the name of serving and protecting the United States of America if we’re up for it, we’ll ride up Sepulveda the couple miles it’ll take us to get to the Getty Center where we can chill taking in the vistas from up there before heading back east.

Starts/Ends: Silversun Plaza, Sunset Boulevard and Parkman, Silver Lake. Departs: 9 a.m. Distance is approximately 30 miles.

Hope your schedule permits joining me for one or both — and if so (even if not 100% certain), give me a heads up so I can have an idea who might be coming.

Here’s A Quick Trip

Monday, May 18th, 2009

At the beginning of the year when my resolution was to Bike Every Day, I doomed that goal because on weekends I would put off riding until I’d eventually bring the bike out and do a lap or two around the block — just to keep the streak going. After the third or fourth time doing that its lameness was readily apparent and at the end of January, so ended the resolution.

Well with my Bike Every Day In May campaign past the halfway point, I’ve fallen into that old habit these past two Sundays — the qualifier being instead of a paltry 0.6 of a mile, I’m doing what I’ve now dubbed my 10K Ride; a 6.2-mile course from home up Sunset Boulevard  to Griffith Park Drive to Hyperion up and over the viaduct into Atwater Village,  along the east bank of the L.A. River to Fletcher Avenue to Glendale Boulevard to Silver Lake Boulevard and home.

It’s certainly not the original plan to do 15-plus milers every Saturday and Sunday, but it’s got enough distance and changes of scenery that I don’t feel like I’m rolling around the block just to say I did. All in it’s a comfortable cruise that takes me about 25 minutes. And the undeveloped east bank of the river is something of a treat.

For next weekend though, mucho mileage. Saturday I’m planning a combo mash-up of the Black Dahlia ride and an Historic West Adams District mosey, and Sunday I’m doing my traditional ride to Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood for Memorial Day, with maybe a sidetrip up to the Getty Center. Then Monday comes the L.A. Marathon Bike Tour, the route of which I’m aiming to do twice.