2014 LA-Roubaix with Jon Riddle, LACBC and Crew

 Paris-Roubaix may have its cobbles, but LA-Roubaix has its beat up, potholed, unevenly patched, washed out, and just plain deteriorated roads. I have never ridden the cobbles of the Arenberg, so all my experience of them is hearsay. Comparing sand-filled depressions to muddy verges, the sharp edges of potholes and crumbling tarmac to the sharp edges of cobble pavers, might be like apples to oranges, but I imagined (and felt) more similarity than difference today.

this, like most such rides, began with a gathering - this one outside Trails Cafe at Fern Dell

taking a turn onto the closed Mt. Hollywood Drive

Once again Jon Riddle, author of Where to Bike LA, led this months LACBC ride which traversed hill and dale and city street. It was a twisting, turning route very similar to the annual Feel My Legs, I'm A Racer, many of the same areas of the city, but without the extreme challenge. (By the way, word from the organizer of that ride is, it will be held during the summer this year; watch for the announcement.) It took in Los Angeles's two largest parks - Griffith and Elysian - as well as the congested neighborhoods of Echo Park, Silverlake, and Chinatown. There were familiar sights, such as the Observatory, the Cornfields, the Olympic bench, various views, but there were also many new ones such as Angels Point, the Shakespeare Bridge, Fern Dell, the gold-suited Elvis riding by in the other direction along the shore of Echo Park Lake, the Haunted Picnic Table, and various views. Alright, we didn't quite get to the Haunted Picnic Table, but it was just around a bend we didn't take on Mt. Hollywood Drive.

Many of the people who came out today were veterans of Jon's monthly rides - I suspect that, like me, they appreciate the opportunity to explore areas of the metro area they would not otherwise get to experience. It is a big ol' city and these rides are one of the best ways to discover its hidden treasures. 

Considering the condition of some of the back roads we followed, I was pleasantly surprised that we, as a group, experienced not a single flat. After traversing some of the worst of Griffith and Elysian Parks, we were riding along the gravel maintenance road at LASHP when I suddenly realized I was pressing my luck, and hopped up onto the much smoother decomposed granite path. No harm done. Although, since many of the worst roads descended from summits, a lot of bikes are going to need new brake pads - not many were willing to run those curves at speed.

Watch the LACBC website for next month's ride. I am going to jump the gun a bit and announce that ride is scheduled to tackle GMR and GRR, and will be co-hosted by the Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition.
Vista del Valle Drive - this centerline, like the pavement upon which it was painted, has not been maintained in decades, nor open to motor vehicles

one of many viewpoints of Los Angeles during today's ride

back into the city

was actually taking a photo of the old brick building, but Frieda got in the way

regroup in Elysian Park with Dodger Stadium in the background

concrete and open hills - the city, Los Angeles River, and Elysian Park

one of my new favorite view points of downtown

conference at the Cornfields, aka Los Angeles State Historic Park, closed as of today to begin construction of its new landscape design

riding by the lake at Echo Park