Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Long View

With some atmospheric disturbance moving through the southland today, and the ground plane continuing to plague us with its visually uninspiring drab dryness, the show this morning was all one of distance, the dramatic pall of light and dark clouds, streaming whispers in diagonal slants between earth and sky, tendrils of moisture, visible in that narrow band above the far horizon, dropping but not quite reaching a thirsting ground. The cover, providing shelter from the sun, inspired a longer ride, multiple hilltops each with its own slowly altered view. Periodic bouts of sunshine spilling through rifts adding a brightness of color here and there, but always the clouds, reclaiming dominion.

It may not last long, but the change was welcome - I will go into the new week feeling refreshed - the Tuesday evening ride is not far away and I understand there will be a light demo this edition. That might be worth checking out even if you don't do the ride. Two nights later (Thursday) the Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition will be holding a community get together at Pappas Artisanal in LaVerne - it will be a good opportunity to share stories and put forth ideas for cycling in the region.

And as I finish up this post, it is starting to rain - whoo hoo, how awesome is that.

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Line in the Sand

Why yes I was going to get all political and remark about how one candidate for President is drawing a dangerous, and foolish, line in the sand in a boorish attempt to further inflame the hearts and minds of a segment of the American population. Then I thought better of it, just... well, not in time.

Here we are on the verge of another weekend, and what a nice one it is supposed to be. There are a lot of events going on locally (and some a little more distant). Hope you can find a little time - an hour, or better yet a few hours, to block out the negative crap and get in a good ride.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Is it Tuesday Yet?

I used to look forward to the weekend. Alright, admittedly I still do. But Tuesday? Well it was just another weekday, and almost as far from the next weekend as Monday. But since discovering the Two Wheel Tuesday rides, about a month ago, Tuesday has found itself elevated in status. Better than Monday? Ha, that goes without saying. Certainly better than Wednesday, and Thursday as well. It is due, in part, to the ride, partly to the company, and partly to the post-ride brew. Each week there has been someone new joining the core group of regulars - that is cool, it keeps things fresh. Maybe next week you'll be one of those new riders - you'll be welcome. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself becoming hooked - Tuesdays, 6:30, La Verne Brewing Company.

the road group heads out first

descending the switchbacks

ghostly over the bridge

back at the brewery, it is bikes and beer (and a Dodger victory on the tv).

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October CicLAvia: Oh, the Humanity

For a nineteenth time the City of Los Angeles, under the guidance of the CicLAvia organization, threw the largest bike party of the year. A slightly less than six mile route between Chinatown, MacArthur Park, and Boyle Heights saw cyclists, walkers, runners, wheelchairs, skateboarders, stand-up pole-boarders, and who knows what all else cram the streets in a rollicking, weaving, stop when you want, go when you can, rolling party.

I think I could easily sit at one spot all day long and people watch. Few, if any, civic occasion can match CicLAvia for that activity. But then I would miss the participation part, being amongst the crowd, the art, the architecture, the food, the neighborhoods, the culture, all the craziness that CicLAvia engenders, and that just wouldn't do. There is something about rolling along, shoulder to shoulder, with total strangers sure, but sharing the same experience, and thus oddly not strangers at all, that cannot be duplicated at any other event.

The people keep riding past, hour after hour, the strangers who are oddly not strangers, some in helmets, some in hats, a lot of Dodger blue, Rams fans reborn, some costumed, some barely clothed, the eyes rove from one to another, pause, then move on, then all of a sudden there is someone standing next to you and, hey what do you know, its Walt from Claremont. Later you are turning this way, then that, and there is Dorothy, the same Dorothy who never seems to stop moving, but this time she does, to talk about the cyclocross season and other upcoming events. It is funny that in all this humanity, this city of millions, we can always spot that familiar face.

Thanks LA, CicLAvia, everyone who's effort makes this event possible - I have not made it out to all nineteen rides, but those I have made have all been worth it, and have left me waiting for the next one.

heading out from the Chinatown hub

the family that rides together

jumpin' in Chinatown

the mob rules

out to the MacArthur Park hub

a ridin' smilin' kind of day

MacArthur Park hub back toward the city core

the Broadway crowd

The Los Angeles - hope you took a few minutes to check out the interior - amazing, an entirely different era

riding to and fro

everyone stops for the tall-unicycle juggler

are they texting each other?

the Nitro Coffee bike

a superhero in every crowd

Metro Bikes doubled their ridership in a single day

back to Chinatown

well, okay then

so long Strawberry Shortcake, until next time.

There are more photos in the Flickr album, and you can get there by clicking here. See you next time.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Signs of the Times

What? Another politically-motivated post? you say. No, not this time I reply. Just pointing out that new trail signage has been spreading around Bonelli Park. I noticed the first one about two, maybe three weeks ago, and spotted a couple more this morning, all toward the east side of the park, south of Via Verde. There used to be a greater number of trail signs around the park but, over time they were stolen or otherwise misplaced, and the place has pretty much been sign-free for a few years now. Over the intervening years when talking about trail riding at Bonelli you could never really refer to trails by their names, you would have to use descriptions otherwise no one would know what trail you were talking about. Now, or eventually, we will be able to say things like "yeah, I wasn't paying attention while riding the Lake View Trail and went over the side" and people will know that was just lame, because Lake View is a nice wide dirt road. Anyway, the signs are not appearing quickly, and I don't know what the impetus was, but LA County Parks and Recreation is on top of it and they are slowly spreading. 

this one near the Via Verde east entrance

the mrs. is tired of all the dust and rode disguised as chiquita bandita

I would never ask a random hiker to pose for a photo,
but the mrs. is more bold - Beckett took his human for a walk this morning and obliged.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Democrats are Demons

We sprout horns when confronted with too much conservatism. We pull pitchforks out of our who-who and jam them through peoples spokes. I read that a few days ago and am sure that the person who wrote it, while barely able to type a coherent sentence, honestly believed the statement. Maybe not the part about the horns or the pitchforks, but the demon part? You betcha - demons one and all. I have also read that since we tend toward the liberal side of things, we are also, apparently, grouped under the banner of "libtard" which suggests that the user of that term does not think well of people with disabilities either, choosing to combine "liberal" with the highly derogatory "retard." Such is the state of public discourse these days - such thoughts, which normally lie below the surface, spring forth during major election cycles. I am sure you are familiar with the mud-slinging and outright hate-talk that takes place on social media. The almost instantaneous spread of negativity, and the anonymous attack and counter is a phenomenon unique to our times.

You can always spot such people from a mile off - they are never attempting to convince others that their way of thinking is better, they simply express their hatred, or contempt, of people with a different opinion. The world is obliviously black and white to such people , there is no debate - friend or foe, the only opposition is the enemy. Sound like a dictatorship? Darn right it does. Opposition is not allowed in their world.

Opposition, meaning a group of people who hold a different opinion about some matter than yourself, or your group. Opposition, contrary viewpoints, are important to personal growth and intellectual development. Without the opposing view there is only stagnation. Growth is as stunted as if you had smoked two packs of smokes a day, only it is a mental stagnation, rather than a physical one. The thing about much of today's social media is its homogeneity, express an opinion on a blog, a website, in a Facebook group, and chances are you will be preaching to the choir, as the saying goes. The audience for any particular group tends to be inclusive. The unfortunate part of that is that, as a result, there is no one to convince. You are here because you know that this blog is, normally, about bicycling. A motor-dependent fool (yes, name calling) who sees no use to a two-wheeled, physically active lifestyle, would only pay a visit by mistake. And thus, I know, as I have known for a long time, that I am convincing no one.

Anyway, there have been times that I have been particularly disgusted at the actions of a driver with whom my path has crossed. Sometimes that disgust has resulted in name-calling, but I have always attempted to keep the level head and not group all drivers under the same banner. On the off chance that some of the "opposition" may visit here, I try to focus on the positive aspects of the cycling lifestyle. There is always the temptation to see "them" as the "enemy" and to treat them as such. However, once you resort to name-calling, denigrating others because they happen to hold a different opinion, you consign whatever argument you have been attempting to make, to the heap of irrelevance. All those other-opinion-holders realize "oh, here we go" and you have lost the argument, you have failed in your mission to change opinion. All the people who believe that bikes do not belong, all the people who do not see the slime oozing from every pore of the "orange-skinned one" are the opposition waiting to be convinced, for someone to prove that they are wrong. It can be done, but not when "we" call "them" all idiots and fools.

So, Mom, I will not disown you because you refuse to vote for anyone not from that elephant party, all you Republican conservative types who pop in here now and again, all the friends I have known from the other, right, side of the divide, never fear, I value your friendship for the other perspective you provide. I promise not to call you a conservashite, except behind your back (sarcasm). I hope you will give me the same benefit, there is enough division in the world already. [Sigh] politics, who needs it, lets go for a ride; none of that matters on a bike, we are all just riders. Riders one and all.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Metrolink vs. Metro Gold LIne to CicLAvia

Another CicLAvia is coming up this weekend and, since it is my favorite - the downtown LA / East LA route - and since I have not been to CicLAvia in a while, it seems more than likely the ride will slot into the weekend plans. The question is how to get there? Metrolink is easy enough, and I have taken my bike aboard numerous times but, as you know, run times are limited which, in the past, has meant leaving the event early to rush back to Union Station so as to not miss the return train to Claremont, and then have to wait around for another couple hours for the next train. On the other hand Metrolink is pretty fast with relatively few stops, and those dedicated bike cars are a big plus.

Then there is the Metro Gold Line, which has inched its way closer to home, though still has a big gap to fill. Trains are more frequent, but there are many more stops. I would be unconcerned about missing a train from Union Station, because another would be along shortly. On the other hand, without dedicated bike cars, and many people attempting to board at the same time, would that pose a problem? The Blue Line between LA and Long Beach can be pretty crushed for space, but I managed that successfully early in the Summer. I have never taken my bike on the Gold Line so am less familiar.

A question then: For those of who who have travelled with bike by both modes - in your experience, what are the plus or minus factors for each?


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