Monday, May 30, 2016

Keeping it Close on Memorial Day

You know, Bonelli  may not be riders' first choice for a day's adventure in the saddle, but there is something to say for keeping close to home on these one day holidays. There are enough hills to make it a fitness challenge, enough cacti-lined tech sections to raise your pulse. Sometimes the park can seem small, crossing a bridge where the trees press in, narrowing the world to a straight line through the leafy foliage, or connecting their branches overhead, shutting out the sky, where the only life you are aware of occurs within a worm hole ten feet on either side, until you burst through at one end or the other and back into bright sun light. Mere minutes later you track across a hillside, open slopes and, suddenly, bigger than you remember them; big enough for pines and peppers to spread themselves wide apart, thin groves and woods where trails could run straight and true; but there is no fun in that and so they warp and bend and worm along, flow from high to low.

There is something to say for keeping it close to home - reclining on a patio after a good ride, a computer for a while, just long enough to write this post, then a book, a beer at hand, sun, a gentle breeze moving the leaves, eyes close, but not before I glance at the flag and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their families and untold strangers they never had a chance to know.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Trading Bike Parking for Time

Seal Beach has been hit by a couple tragedies lately. The burning of the buildings at the end of the pier, being the most recent and dramatic. But a far more insidious tragedy is the loss of bike parking to make way for a big clock, and those obnoxious bricks with the names of donors engraved into them. It has been a while since I last rode down to the Beach so I can't be sure when the transformation took place, but you may remember photos from the past, or witnessed the scene in person, showing rows of racks, often full of bikes, especially during the summer.  From what I could tell, most of those bike rack users seemed to be locals who would ride over from surrounding, or more far flung neighborhoods, park, lock up, and spend the day at the beach.

Now what have you got? An empty, unused space. They even took out the benches. What a waste. So what are you supposed to do there? I watched people for a while, they would walk out to the end, look out over the parking lot below, turn around and walk back. Others would walk up to the clock, look at it, pull out their phone to check the time, turn around and walk back. While it is prime real estate, it also seems to be, mostly, dead space. I suppose people can lock up to the railing, as you see some do. At the same time I suspect that is more the outcome, rather than the intent, and wonder how long it will be before the "do not lock bikes to railing" signs appear. Like all these beach cities, streets are crowded with cars, especially during the summer, and parking is limited, so how does removing parking for bikes make that situation any better? Where is the sense in it? And why for a big clock which, quite frankly, could just as easily have been placed just about anywhere?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Another Crossroads

Can photos ever be shared too far after the fact to become useless? I don't think so, you just find a new use for them. This one was taken two weeks ago during an evening Cross Town Loop. I didn't post it at the time, even though I liked it, and the more time that passed, the less likely it appeared that it would see the light of day (or the front page of this blog). But then I thought...

I thought about how things here have taken another turn, almost a complete u-turn. I mean when was the last time I mentioned anything about a pro race of any kind - no Spring Classics, no AToC, no Giro (although the last two stages, if I can mention them now, were quite exciting). I have not been out to a local crit, or any other road race since the Roger Millikan Memorial way back in February. (Whoops, I forgot SDSR. Well everything else is still true). It has taken a while, but in the four years since I changed from the Claremont Cyclist to the CLR Effect, I have come to realize that going to races every weekend possible to take photos, has meant that I have, out of necessity, missed a lot of good rides. Since I have come to accept that my "racing career" is over, I expect that this "retreat" to a more local endeavor will continue. There will still be some race coverage (mostly mountain and cross), but in the end, it is all about more bicycling events, more riding, more miles. See you out there.

Friday, May 27, 2016

In Flight Across the Sun

There I was, riding along minding my own business, when all of a sudden the ground began to waver, move in a flow from left to right across my path. It was as if, after all these years and countless, fruitless attempts at chasing, I had finally caught a mirage. It was mesmerizing and psychedelic (he says as he sits listening to some Jefferson Airplane); surely I would have crashed if I had stared too long or deeply.

Then came the first collision, a plonk to the helmet, followed by a second, thud this time, to my left arm. In that instant the wavering pavement made sense - I had ridden into the midst of a million bees, a massive hive on the move, and in flight across the sun. Their many tiny shadows continued to cause the pavement to break apart into pieces of uncountable number, each constantly shifting while, somehow, retaining a solidness, and allowing me to roll along.

"Oh damn," I thought but there were no further collisions, the remainder of the hive, all 999,998 of the little aviators flew somewhere high enough above my head to avoid any more problems. I have seen large numbers of bees before, including a very angry hive whose members made us, obstacle course runners, know of their displeasure with our passing, but all of those moments paled in comparison of size and scope, to the sheer numbers I saw today. I've got to tell you, it was kind of scary at first, but then so very amazing after.

It may have been a solo ride for me, but I saw groups everywhere I looked. The bees, of course, but also this group of BoBIE's heading up into the canyon. I passed them up here, turned around at the canyon mouth, and passed each other again going in opposite directions. At that point someone said "Hi, Mike," but I didn't see who it was - Dean? A belated "hey" back at you.

Then came the groups of yuccas - some old dead ones, others blooming young ones.

Been a while since I last stopped in at this little park; in fact I thought it used to have a different name. Notice the fence in the background, lined with interpretive panels, about rocks, minerals, geology, and the local mining operations. Pretty cool, and informative, and not there at the time of my last visit.

It's the Weekend

and an extra long one at that. In fact I don't think there has been an official work holiday since New Years, a god-awful long gap of time. Will have to make the most of the opportunity with some extra riding. Bike Night at Union Station this evening sounds pretty fun too. Were ever you go, what ever you do, make the most of the Memorial Day weekend. See you out there.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cycling Claremont: Going Green

Although the observant folks at Cycling Around La Verne noticed the green lane markings on east-bound Baseline at Monte Vista / Padua some time ago, short sections of green bike lane have, otherwise, been appearing around town quietly and without fanfare. Last night I finally got around to photographing one - the recently installed / painted lane on south-bound Monte Vista at Claremont Blvd. I could see using the lane if that light were red. However considering the width of the green lane, and being well aware that speeds on Monte Vista regularly exceed the 40 / 45 mph limit, I would prefer to not allow moving vehicles on both sides of me at that point .

I certainly appreciate the added prominence the green paint provides, but it is not much wider than my handlebars, and I am just not sure of the benefit when traffic is moving at the posted speeds. Keep in mind, I am not entire sure of the intent - the markings may very well be intended as a kind of linear bike box, allowing riders a clear path to move up to the intersection when the light is red. Thoughts? Would you slot into the green lane when traffic was moving, or would you occupy one lane or the other for the short distance it takes to reach the intersection?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Welcome - Now Get Out

While the Psycho-lists and Coates groups combined forces Sunday morning for one big pre-Plain Wrap ride, I decided to take the Ibis out on a less than exciting solo ride. A couple weekends ago, sitting in the Village on a Sunday morning, a local CLR Effect reader spotted me and we talked for a bit about the Cross Town Loop and the part dirt / part paved route across the top of Upland. Ever since that talk I have been of a mind to do this out and back that I last rode several years ago. At that time, the ride was of some interest, mostly because it was new territory. Enough time has passed that I made several wrong turns, back tracked a handful of times, found one passage completely closed off now, and another with an ominous "US Property. No Trespassing" sign. Because of all that, I can't say as that I was as impressed by the route this time around. Eventually, though, I made it all the way out to Cucamonga Canyon's underused multi-use trail, and then back again. 

As I looked out over the area below San Antonio Dam I was struck by the lost potential - a large swath of land which, these days, is a useless space. I mean in the past it was important for flood control and water recharge reasons. Today, though, the dam takes care of any flood control problems, while water that does make it past its massive bulwark is channeled away. The many small basins and water control devices (gates, pipes, etc) are clearly disused. The whole area (excluding the active quarries, of course) could be a fantastic recreational area, helping to relieve pressure on the few designated parks in the foothills region (Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, North Etiwanda Preserve, Marshall Canyon County Park, etc). An equestrian area, foot trails, running paths, pump track, bmx track, a permanent cyclocross park, even the fabled inland empire velodrome could all fit within the space. Heck, you wouldn't even need to remove the water recharge function; basins could remain and be allowed to flood during winter and wet times of the year.

By all means fence off the active quarry pits, but it seems to me that closing off the rest of that area is an affront to everyone living in the area, and incredible waste of open space and recreational opportunity.
a misnomer - actually people are not welcome here, even though, as government property, our taxes pay for it

Cucamonga Creek disappears into the twisting reaches of Cucamonga Canyon and the cloud-shrouded mountains.

Monday Blues: Support Your Local Bike Shop

Your Local Bike Shop does more than provide a location to check out new bikes, deck out existing rides with new components, provide a weekly, or more than once a week, group to ride with. They often contribute to their communities as well. They sponsor rides, lessons, and other events including, quite often, non-bicycling ones. I don't know how many local shin-digs I have been to in the cities out this way, where I have seen a bike provided by Coates standing out amongst the raffle grand prizes. Thus it was hardly surprising to see another at yesterday's Claremont Folk Festival. That it was blue, and thus ripe of an edition of the Monday Blues, was added bonus.

Support your local bike shop.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Identify Yourself

blowing the shofar in preparation for Lag b'Omer, perhaps. I don't know.

"Hey, Chef Travis," I said. "Huh, what? Who is this Chef Travis, and why are you calling me by that title and name?" I imagined his response, and so I, quickly and quietly, decided against saying anything on that topic. Never-the-less, the riders, or at least one of them, looked familiar - the beard, the tattoos, the Coates kit. One of them, though not the one I believed to be Chef Travis, even wore the special Pappas Artisanal / Coates kit. I had, momentarily, stopped at the upper end of the SGRT before heading on down when I saw the two riders coming up the road. They first tried cutting through the dirt lot to reach the trail, but then turned and came up to the yellow gate where I was, instead. Three dudes wearing the same shop kit was enough to warrant an official greeting. That is when the thought that the one looked familiar crossed my mind. Shortly the second rider checked his watch and announced that they only had an hour to get back and would need to ride fast. So, there were departing words - "have a good ride" - you know, and they took off. Now with their back to me I  noticed the Pappas logo imprinted in ink on the left calf of the one, and knew for sure. Thirty seconds passed and they hadn't made much ground, and I though, "that's fast? Maybe there is a photo op in this after all" (since I missed the first one) and kicked off after them. They soon picked up the pace, however, and the lack of a photo here should tell you how the pursuit went.

Have a good weekend.

a little moisture on the ground and a long, colorful ribbon, like a snake has shed its skin.

no problem identifying this stink bug, or at least that is what we called them as a kid. I can't say as that I have ever noticed any unusual scent coming from them though.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

iCan Bike

Remember the time you first rode a bike alone, without someone running along beside you, keeping you upright? I don't. I can, however, imagine I was pretty stoked, and proud of the accomplishment. The "I did it!" thought probably crossed your mind, and possibly crossed the threshold of your smiling mouth. That moment in time has come to be recognized as one of the key moments of independence in our lives, as well as one of the earliest. Now try to imagine if that moment, due to a developmental or other physical disability, never happened.

The iCan Bike programs, held throughout the United States and Canada, helps people with disabilities experience that same sense of accomplishment, the pure joy, and reach that rite of passage which most of us have, perhaps, come to take for granted. 

Between June 27 and July 1 the people behind iCan Bike will be holding a five day camp at the Fairplex in Pomona to help people, some with Downs Syndrome, others with physical disabilities reach a goal of independently riding a bicycle. If you live local to Claremont you may still be able to find a copy, or someone with a copy, of the Claremont High School Wolfpacket, which had an article about the upcoming iCan Bike camp written by student reporter, Will Deprez. You can also check out information on the upcoming Pomona camp, other camps, and the iCan Shine organization at the iCan Shine website. Again, if you are in the Claremont area, there are ways you can help the program raise funds - Cox and Patel DDS are holding a raffle, and local businesses a la Minute Handcrafted Ice Cream, Eureka Burger, and Sunset Cycles are all sponsoring the camp (and are all conveniently located in the Packing House on First Street)

And the Valley Shuddered

For those who do not know, the entirety of my "growing up" years took place in the San Fernando Valley (hereafter referred to as The Valley). Even though I get back there from time to time (since relatives of both the wife's family, and my own, still call it home), many of the mental images I have of the Valley date to the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Packed among those images are certain stand-outs, including expanding suburbia's empty lots, the nighttime glow and flicker of a billion lights when driving back into the Valley at night through the Sepulveda Pass, summer heat waves, Busch Gardens, and the absolute epicenter of car culture - Van Nuys Boulevard. Whether you were a part of that scene or not, anyone and everyone, who lived in the Valley from the '50s through the '80s (maybe longer) knew that Van Nuys was where you went to cruise on a Friday and Saturday night. Cruising, and Van Nuys Boulevard were synonymous. 

So when I read, at CiclaValley that nice new bike lanes, after all this time are going to be added to the boulevard, there was a noticeable shudder to the world, the temperature in Hades drew a few degrees cooler, and an entire county in Texas swore they saw a pig swimming lazy circles in the sky. I mean Van Nuys Boulevard, if you can add bike lanes there (and you certainly can) you can add bike lanes anywhere.

 I may be overstating things with regard to that epicenter of car culture thing, in fact I bet a number of similar drags, on the other side of the mountains, were immortalized in a Randy Newman song (though I don't know why he used Victory Boulevard - maybe it worked better in the lyrics than Van Nuys). Still, if you were going to cruise in the Valley, you headed to Van Nuys Boulevard, along with every lowered Chevy and souped up Ford north of LA.

It is not that I am necessarily surprised, after all the boulevard passes through what have long been working class communities where many residents may ride for necessity, as well as choice. And lets not forget the times, they are a changing - complete streets are fast becoming the norm, even one with the history that Van Nuys Boulevard has.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cycling Claremont: Jacaranda, Jacaranda

The story goes that I used to get reeeaally excited whenever I would spy a Jacaranda in full flower. And that was just a couple years ago, so you can imagine the length my parents had to go to keep me from seeing the Jac's lavender blooms when I was a tyke. Of course we are past the full bloom stage now, and well into the drop stage - streets, lawns, sidewalks and parks are just as purple as the tree canopies.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ibis Nights: The Death of the Bird


And darkness rises from the eastern valleys,
And the winds buffet her with their hungry breath,
And the great earth, with neither grief nor malice
Receives the tiny burden of her death."
(A.D. Hope, from The Death of the Bird)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Tracking the Dirty Chain Gang

It was desperate times. Unable to make the 8:30 start, I figured they had, at the least, a thirty minute jump on me, and if we were doing even roughly the same loop, those thirty minutes seemed improbable, if not impossible, to make up. Yet if I cut a few corners, and factoring in a regroup or two, there just might be a chance. The Dirty Chain Gang was running through Bonelli Park again this morning, and as it had been a goodly while since last I joined in on one of their little rampages, I committed to giving it a go.

Attempting to judge the freshness of some tracks leaving the stream crossing, out beyond the jungle, proved futile other than to tell me that they had been laid down many [MANY] minutes previously. Hell I couldn't even be sure which direction they were going, couldn't imagine anyone riding through the water which looked like black death. Never-the-less the evidence proved that someone was in the area, and the possibility that they may have been dropped by the Gang compelled me to double down along the Puddingstone single track in pursuit.

Discussing the route, top of Phatt Hill

It was about this moment we were accosted by a roadie named Miklos. His account of the encounter may be different, but don't you believe it.

I will now be incorporating this little loop, out beyond the hilltop microwave facility, into my regular rides. It gently weaves its way across a, one second wooded, the next second open, hillside.

The dam was key to my plans - being convinced that they would drop down and then have to climb back up before following a perimeter trail to reach the far side, and in that way spin along almost entirely on dirt I, instead, snuck across the top of the dam in order to cut them off at some distant pass. When a line of riders appeared snaking their way up a switchback I saw my plan coming to fruition. As the line grew longer I wondered at the size of the Dirty Chain Gang today only to discover that these riders were not the DCG, but the back-markers of an Xterra race whose leaders were already putting down footprints across the distant hills.

Phatt Hill was next up, and riding its circuit, short as it is, made my riding down the Gang unlikely, especially if they were out patrolling along the perimeter. Having thus given up my pursuit made our surprise encounter that much more pleasant. My descent off the top came to an end just as the Gang was beginning their ascent; I broke a quick turn into the center of the bunch to make the easy climb again, and then finished off the day riding trails with the Gang, including an entirely new section (new to me anyway) out beyond the areas I typically track across. The usual chow down at Norms brought the morning hours to a close - little did we realize at the time that fellow rider, Max (who I didn't know before today), who departed the table early, deposited enough cash to feed the whole grungy lot of us. Thanks man. We'll see you on the trails again. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Some Folks

So, I am sure enough time has now passed that you have since discovered what song I was talking about in yesterday's post ("it makes my skin crawl"). Maybe you are a product of the era and knew all along that the line is from "Some Folks". But, did you know that the song is about bicycling, or more specifically about people who dream of getting out on their pedal power two-wheelers yet, for any number of reasons, don't? I bet you thought, "well, it is an Alice Cooper song, so it must be about sex, drugs, or rock 'n roll" - the three pillars of the genre. Well, not so fast there, the individual Alice Cooper, as well as the group Alice Cooper from which the one was born, were an innovative bunch, and so it really should be no surprise to discover a mold-breaking song.

Follow along, and we will check it out, line by line. You'll see what I mean
(As usual, the songs meaning will be in brackets, while the lyrics are without):

Some folks
Love to see red
[some like themselves the red bikes]
Some folks
Never talk about it
[but are too hesitant to admit it]
Some folks
Crave a blue lady
[others prefer the blue rides]
Some folks
Know and still they doubt it
[but can't bring themselves to admit it]

I'm just no good without it
[we all pretty much feel that way after a couple days off the bike]
I'm not a man at all
[you've got it pretty bad, though, if thats the case]
It makes my skin crawl
[never have i regarded non-cyclists that severely, but, oh well]

Baby, baby
Come on and save me, save me
My, my baby, baby
Come on and save me now
[there are stories galore of folks being saved by the bike after all]

Some folks
Love to feel pain
[we have all known one or more of those folks - it's not a ride, if there is no pain involved]
Some folks
Wake up every mornin'
[well, yeah, how else are you going to get your ride in]
Some folks
Live for no reason
[sad, but true - reason = cycling, of course]
Some folks
Die without a warning
[harsh, I realize, but if they had only left the couch for a few hours each week]

I'm just no good without it
I'm not a man at all
It makes my skin crawl

Baby, baby
Come on and save me, save me

And there you are, another true story of the relationship between the bicycle and rock 'n roll, brought to you by today's ride on which those very lyrics, repeated over forty miles worth of time, first sustained me [did not drive me bonkers], and then compelled me, to share their meaning with you.

apparently I broke with routine after my last ride, didn't hang my gloves from the handlebars to dry, forgot them somewhere at home today, and had to ride without - first time in one hundred twenty-two months

Have a good weekend- Cucamonga Challenge, CicLAvia, all kind of fun going on.

Up the Road: Bike Week in the PV

Well, we have arrived, mid-May, the time when bike month coalesces into Bike Week. Time for fresh commitment or renewal of an old commitment, as well as a time to celebrate. If you are in the greater Pomona Valley area there are a few events you might want to make note of.

First up is the Bike to Work Pit Stop, which traditionally has been held down at the Claremont Depot in the past but, this year, is being opened up at a new location - the intersection of College and Sixth. Stop by, between 6:00am and 9:00am, and talk to the people of the Pomona Valley Bike Coalition about biking in the greater Pomona Valley, the weather, or whatever. There should be various bits of information available, snacks and coffee, and the guys of Sunset Cycles will be providing free "express" tune-ups of minor ailments inflicting your bike. 

Typically, the PVBC's Bike to Work Day has ended with some socializing and Happy Hour in the evening. I could swear I saw something about it again this year, but now can not seem to find it. Perhaps it has been replaced by the PVBC Spring Social at the Old Stump Brewery, in La Verne; this event ends Bike Week, on Saturday the 21st, beginning at 7:00pm.

Finally, if you are a parent of a student, or students, in the Pomona School District you might want to check out the PVBC's Safe Routes to School Parent Workshop - this is a kid-friendly event where students are encouraged to bring their bikes, scooters, helmets to participate in a Bike Safety 101 course. The workshop will take place at Kingsley Elementary, between 8:30 and 12:00 on Saturday the 21st.

As usual you can keep yourself aware of all the great events hosted by the PVBC by joining the group, our local chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, by liking them on Facebook, or periodically checking into their web page.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Day in the Jury Pool

Warning: Read no further if you dislike random thoughts that have little or nothing to do with cycling.

walking around at lunch I found this cool art in an alley

I went in for jury duty this week (today actually, but not knowing how long I might serve, I didn't know when I would be able to write / publish this). The duty part didn't extend beyond sitting in the assembly room for a couple hours with a hundred or more other citizens, until half of them are led out to an assignment and you're left to sit a while longer in a deathly quite room, except for the old guy snoring loudly at the end of the row. Not that I mind especially, its a small role to play in a, hopefully, fair and equitable system that, needless to say, would be far less so it we didn't all play our part.

Waiting. It seems counter to cycling, which as a pure activity is all about movement. Waiting and activity seem like polar opposites. Waiting. While I scribble in this note pad my fellow prospective jurors gaze at phones, read magazines or books, slouch in their seats, stretch, wave their legs out in front of themselves, slumber, snore. For a couple minutes a muffled Rob Zombie song played at the far back of the room; heard through someone else's earbuds stuck deep in their ears from the opposite side of the room, I am surprised to not see blood flowing from the fans ruptured drums. I like some Zombie, but other, less willing listeners appear to be getting anxious until, suddenly, the volume is lowered and quiet returns.

Ah, the snoring man has woken and has noticed the hat worn by the gent sitting in front of him and a quite confused discussion has ensued. Back to my reading - it is not the sort of book (more about it in a future post) that I would typically read but, with two chapters to go, it has been an interesting journey; I keep coming across song references, short pieces of lyrics, strategically woven into the general text - just enough to recognize the intent, yet few enough to keep from becoming overused cliche. Today's reference "it made my skin crawl"  is close enough to "it makes my skin crawl" that I immediately recognize it and stumbled through the song in my head until I could pull enough notes and words together to hammer out a reasonable performance.

Nice, released a little early for lunch, so instead of one hour thirty, we get one hour forty-five minutes and I walk to a nearby restaraunt / panaderia I have been to before, where I eat too much and have to waddle back to the courthouse in a semi-dazed food stupor. A half hour later those of us still around all shuffle out of the assembly room and crowd the elevators, making our way to the courtroom we have been assigned to. I did not really know what to expect but


This has suddenly become especially serious. Serious as shit as some might say. The Justice up on the bench looks like a cyclist (why would I think that at this moment) and conveys the seriousness of what is afoot, but keeps it light. The Prosecutor, the Defendants (2) and their lawyers all look us over. One of the lawyers for the defense attempts to make a joke, "good afternoon, jurors". Silence. Trying again, "good afternoon, jurors." Oh man, I would not want him defending me, but we respond with "good day" anyway, just to get past the awkwardness. 

It's unsettling, unnerving. No, those are not quite the right words, maybe odd will do - kind of feels like an audition, and every eye is on you, looking for the slightest of signs, that you are acceptable or not. Well, actually the selection process had not reached that point yet, but it is still part of the whittling down - the Prosecutor left a while ago, but the defendants, and their legal counsel are still in the room, but then what else do they have to do, where else do they have to be?

Excused. Work may pay for some service days, but not for the length of time this trial will go. Well, it was an interesting day, and I got far further along in the process than ever before, but I will be glad to get back to the routine and simplicity of thinking on cycling, rather than murder.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday Blues: Long Beach Bike Share

It is true that the trip to Long Beach, from Claremont, took a long time. In fact more time was spent traveling to and from (Metrolink, Red Line, Blue Line) than was spent at the Bike Fest, last Saturday. The well-known public transportation system has come a long way over the years, but still has a way to go. Of course it was pretty cool that one of the first sights, after stepping off the Blue Line, was a reflection of the Long Beach Bike Share bikes all lined up. I would seem as though local transport has a leg up on regional.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

2016 Long Beach Bike Fest: A Kaleidoscope

How many people like the same thing all the time? Beside Republicans, I don't think anyone does. Shredded wheat every morning just gets dull, boring, bland. I realized what I really appreciate about events like the Long Beach Bike Fest is the diversity on display. You can go to a weekend crit and see roadies everywhere you look. Ever been to a mountain bike race devoid of knobbies and suspension? Of course not. The beauty of the Long Beach Fest is that you've got your roadies, your mountain bikers, crossers, fixed-gear riders, cruisers, commuters, dog haulers, kid karriers, custom bike-hearse builders, even the odd non-cyclist who gets drawn in to see whats happening, and end up leaving as a convert. Everyone mingling, intermingling, countermingling, experiencing new things, exposed to different ideas, and not getting all snooty because someone is racing in cut-offs rather than lycra, or riding a couple hundred dollar Schwinn rather than a multi-grand Willier. It is the type of thing where it is fun to watch the competition of city cross, grab some lunch at Utopia, sit back and watch a world of difference stroll, ride, run, cruise past, then join the crowd storming the barricades when the Wolfpack Hustle brings their race out into the street. The way forward is pretty short and narrow when the view is confined.

In addition to the few photos here, you can check out some more in the Flickr album.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Johnson's Pasture

It has been a loooong time since last I did the Wilderness Park loop, with the Johnson's Pasture out-and-back tacked on for good measure. With rain clouds threatening to spill out of the sky I figured it was a good day to do some riding closer to home. Sometimes change up there in the hills is quick, other times it is drawn out, gradual, maybe imperceptible. Much of Johnson's Pasture is as I remember it in the past - the same eroded ruts are still rutted, outcrops of bedrock are still hard, soft spots are still sandy. Mostly it has been the passage of people that has created change - new forks in a trail, swooped embankments. I am happy to note that, for all the people who pass along up in the hills these days, the trails are amazingly clean. I am guessing I can thank Claremont parks personnel for that.

I notice that the Dirty Chain Gang plan to ride Marshall Canyon and the CHWP tomorrow, but I had so much fun with City Cross, the Shoreline Crit, music, vintage bike show, food and all, at the Long Beach Bike Festival last year, that it has long been the top of the option list for Saturday. Have a great weekend, whatever you do.

Potato Mountain (to the right, above the handlebars) is low enough to be in the clear, but Sunset Peak and everything higher, were obscured this morning.

Why are storm clouds so much more dramatic when viewed over a vast open space, like the ocean, a plains or, in this case, the Pomona Valley.

Lone Tree Hill

I have always called this, otherwise unnamed side trail, the Point of Pines for obvious reasons. And, perfect timing, the sun split the clouds for a few minutes.

Did I go down Webb today? N. O. spells NO. I like my arms and legs in their current orientation.

This I can do all day, any day.

Pobrecito - I guess the road to the left is not worthy of a name.

Seems way early for poison oak to be turning red, but that is exactly what this bit has gone and done.


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