Shadow As She Was & As She Should Be Remembered

Shadow’s deterioration into total immobility during her last months made it tough to remember when she was so full of life and personality. And that’s what makes finding this forgotten (albeit ultra low-res) video mostly of her during a 2005 hike with me and Susan in Bronson Canyon Park that much more of a pleasant surprise in that it shows Shadow how she should and will be remembered: in all her rambunctious creek-hopping, keep-up-with-me glory. I love you, Shadow. Rest in peace.

Rest In Peace, Frere Lampier

One of the highlights of our 2007 visit to Paris was the discovery of the Shakespeare & Company bookstore, across the street from the Hotel du Notre Dame where we stayed.

I just learned that its founder, George Whitman, died. He was 98. What an amazing life he led.

A set of photos inside and outside the shop are here. The full chalk writing visible on the panel at the left edge of the frame of the image above is transcribed verbatim as follows:

Paris Wall Newspaper
January 1st 2004

Some people call me the Don Quixote of the Latin Quarter because my head is so far up in the clouds that I can imagine all of us are angels in paradise. And instead of being a bonafide bookseller I am more like a frustrated novelist. Store has rooms like chapters in a novel and the fact is Tolstoi and Doestoyevski are more real to me than my next door neighbor, and even stranger is the fact that even before I was born Dostoyevski wrote the story of my life in a book called “The Idiot” and ever since reading it I have been searching for the heroine, a girld called Nastasia Filipovna. One hundred years ago my bookstore was a wine shop hidden from the Seine by an annex hotel dieu hospital which has seen been demolished & replaced by a garden. And further back in the year 1600 our whole building was a monastery called La Maison du Mustier. In medieval times each monastery had a Frere Lampier whose duty was to light the lamps at nightfall. I have been doing this for fifty years now it is my daughter’s turn.


The Last Ride Of 8Ball

What had originally been planned as a short ride Friday, quickly went long (as can happily happen given a bike and a beautiful day). Not only did I pedal to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, but also shouldered my bike with me up the park’s killer hillside steps.

Sadly, this is the last ride for 8Ball, a 21.78-mile route. I felt something snap relatively early on in the ride, but the bike didn’t start misbehaving so I kept going hoping it was only a spoke. By the time I got within sight of the overlook, the bike was noticeably not right, and sure enough once I’d hiked it up to the top I discovered a massive crack through both the seat and bottom tubes of the frame, just above the bottom bracket… eerily similar to the mortal wound suffered by The Phoenix, my first singlespeed, in 2008.

I know: WHOA. Right? I don’t know what it is with me and bikes. I don’t ride them rudely. I treat them with the utmost love and respect. I guess given my size and my big-ass legs cranking them over the thousands of miles of hard road I roll them over, I just can’t help but accelerate their life spans. This is a track frame, after all. Built for the civilized banked and smooth lanes of velodromes, not the billion bumps of the boulevards. All the while bearing my mass.

Guess we’ll see if will help me out with another affordable frame replacement offer — if so it’ll be a repeat of what they did that allowed me to acquire this frame in the summer of 2009 after my first purchase got disconcertingly unstable but without any visible breakage. But in the meantime if you see me on the road, such as today’s CicLAvia it will be upon my trusty Giant OCR-3 road bike who’s never failed me in what’s coming up on our tenth anniversary together.

Back atop the scenic overlook, after finding the frame’s faultline, I considered my mass transit options in getting home, but since it wasn’t cracked through decided to risk it by riding slooooooowly home. Doing so allowed me my inaugural roll along the freshly painted Expo Line bike lane that’s been laid down between Jefferson and La Cienega and USC. It made it a much less stressful and a bit more somber way to go, and she got me home safe.

Great day. Sad day. Rest in peace, 8Ball.

Rst In Pac, Stv Jobs

No ride yesterday. Sigh. The Bike Everyday In October challenge streak ends at four consecutive days.

I blame the storm, which didn’t really let up between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., and dropped four inches of rain on the area (no, really). When it finally quit pouring I tried to get my hopes up for an afternoon roll, only to have that enthusiasm squelched by the news of Steve Jobs’ death, which hit me a lot harder than I expected it to.

Alan Deane Memorial Ride

Getting on a bike for a 26-mile ride across the city and back in the dark to visit a ghost bike installed at a Pasadena intersection installed in Alan Deane’s honor and memory is not about logic. It’s not about common sense. It’s about representing. It’s about recognizing. And in doing so I got a sense from the other cyclists I met up with in Glendale that he was a remarkably resilient and resourceful person who was easily and well liked and is deeply missed.

The city is less a place with Alan Deane no longer in it.


Rest In Peace, Alan Deane

There was a bike ride on Sunday in Pasadena I wish I’d gone on. It was done in the memory of cyclist Alan Deane, who was killed on his 61st birthday, September 22, struck by a car while riding in Pasadena. I knew about his death and I knew about the ride — I even thought about going as late as a couple hours before it began, but didn’t because it was Sunday and I was lazy and there was football on and I was lazy and it was Sunday.

The reason for my after-the-ride guilt is that it turns out I met Alan. On Bike To Work Day in May 2009. It wasn’t the wonder of my memory that allowed me to recall the chance encounter at a pitstop in Glassell Park, it was the wonder of the internet, via my friend Waltarrrr who tweeted:

I have absolutely NO clue how Waltarrrr dug that needle out of the haystack that is my haphazard collection of timelapsed rides — much less the entire youtubernet — but sure enough there the two of us are, timelapsed between 0:58 and about 2:04, in and out of frame engaged in conversation, a large part of which was spent offering him up alternatives when he asked about the best way to get to MacArthur Park.

Very nice guy. Meeting him helped remind me that one of the joys of biking is the opportunity to meet members of the LA bike family. And we are all family.

It’s funny though. I remember when I was readying the clip for upload to YouTube, I thought about cutting out out most of that segment, because frankly two old dudes standing around for more than a minute isn’t the most compelling thing to watch.

Now I’m glad I didn’t.

Because in its handlebar-mounted herky-jerkiness, that footage keeps Alan alive, and in the midst of doing what he loved.

The above is a still of Alan (click it for the bigger picture) and his bike from my video immediately upon my arrival at the pitstop. I can’t remember whether I said something to illicit the smile or if that’s just how he greeted a fellow pedaler, but I’ll bet it’s the latter.

Rest in peace, Alan.

UPDATE (3:58 p.m.): Scott of Tropico Station blog clued me in that another group ride remembering Alan as well as Jocelyn Young, a 24-year-old killed September 18 while also cycling in Pasadena, will be departing tonight at 9 p.m. in Glendale. I’m going to do my best to join them.

Ciao Cha Cha

Actress Annette Charles, pictured above (in a near-immaculate Los Angeles River bed under the Sixth Street Viaduct with the Fourth Street Viaduct in the background) as villainess Cha Cha DiGregorio from the film version of Grease, died yesterday at age 63.

First Jeff Conaway and now her. Sigh.