So I did two tours of the LA River’s east bank yesterday. The first with the inimitable Bonner-Brown gang along with Harold, another Silver Laker who was not only making his inaugural ride on the rugged east side of the waterway, but anywhere on the river. Glad I could help introduce it to him.

Here (from left) are Sean, Ripley, Tara and Harold at the turnaround point (click it for the bigger picture):

The ride back was delayed about mid-way by a flat Sean’s front tire suffered, compounded by his sole spare tube then inexplicably exploding as he inflated it. With not a patch kit among us, Ripley’s coach got transferred to Tara’s bike and I went on ahead with her while Harold and Sean walked the rest of the way back to my truck.

I suggested Tara wait with me for Sean to arrive and we could all load in for a ride back to their place, but she said she was cool with pedaling Ripley the rest of the way home, so I bid them safe travels and not long after Sean and Harold arrived. We said goodbye to Harold and I got Sean back to his place.

Then I went back or another lap, in part because I didn’t get the opportunity to actually get my tires wet by riding in sections of the shallows as planned. So I hooked up the GoPro cam to its chest mount and went a bit river bed crazy. Entering the inches-deep water north of the Figueroa Bridge and its confluence with the Arroyo Seco, I figured I’d tool around that area hopefully avoiding any embarrassing and irreparable losses of traction upon any algae-slicked sections of the concrete.

Instead I just kept going south. Past the confluence, the North Broadway and Spring Street viaducts. Then under the Main Street and Cesar Chavez viaducts.

With the exception of pigeons, crows, gulls, killdeers, black-necks stilts, and sandpipers and swallows, I had the entire stretch to myself until I got to the First Street bridge where I was no longer the only human. Under it was a man fully nude and apparently enjoying a bath in deep flowing water in the middle channel… water I was doing my best not to even put my shoe’s sole in. There he is in the lower right corner of the following frame (click it for the bigger picture):

With averted eyes and an it’s-your-thang-do-whatcha-wanna-do wave I kept going south, past the Sixth Street and Seventh Street spans where I stopped and debated continuing all the way down to the Washington Boulevard bridge and making it a complete underside variation of my occasional “Ten Bridge Ride.”

But I’d decided I’d gone far enough and retraced my route back upstream passing the still-bathing guy, past the various birds and under the various bridges and such until I was back in the shallows at the mouth of the Glendale Narrows and up onto the concrete bank and back to my truck parked off Ripple Street on the Atwater/Elysian Valley border.

And here’s the timelapse video to prove it. Unfortunately due to my position on the bike, the angle of the cam from my chest mount is a bit too downward for my liking offering a scope that doesn’t do justice to the stark wide-open spaces I pedaled across. But you get the idea: