Monday, October 20, 2014

Concrete River Biking

This past weekend I decided I wanted to go out on a 15 mile bike ride on my road bike. I knew I'd be biking 5ish miles the same day on my hybrid, so that seemed reasonable considering I'm still dealing with a healing knee. So we went out yesterday afternoon on a pretty much exactly 15 mile ride (without even mapping/using any measuring devices while riding and making it up as we went) that went through the Toluca Lake residential area to the bike lane that follows along Forest Lawn past the cemeteries and around Griffith park until you can hop on the LA River bike lane along the 134 approaching Glendale. "That's so exciting" you think sarcastically, "tell me more".


Since I've lived nearby, for quite a few years I've enjoyed the Halloween decor of Toluca Lake. The Lake (yes, there's a real lake, but not for the commanman like myself.... we may only peer through the plant covered fence of the golf course to gaze at the water) is surrounded by expensive homes and many people that are involved in entertainment to some degree. Some years the residents seem to either encourage each other, have elaborate parties that  must include crazy decor (one year missing vulture signs started appearing around the neighborhood after a large, extravagant party in one of the ginormous houses) or just like showing off and as a result, things can get kinda insane sometimes (like the house that literally has a giant pirate ship like thing that is constructed in their front yard every year!) Anyway, this just makes for exciting and amusing bike rides in the area at this time of the year since you can easily stop and look at stuff. AND SO OUR RIDE BEGINS!

This house had probably 20 of these skeletons in the front yard with various similar signs and themes... 

Sometimes simple works best and contrast brings it's own experience to the situation (much like the cute little girl I saw running around with a fake plastic bloody leg stump in the store this weekend)

 FINALLY! For so many years I've wondering how to get onto this path because it's kinda hidden and despite living near the LA river, I have to bike about 5 miles along the LA river in an indirect way before getting to an entrance to this path. Hopefully one day LA will get their heads out of their asses and finally make a continuous path across the valley and connecting with surrounding cities. It would be... novel.

on one side of the path...yay! nature!
...and in typical LA fashion, a freeway on the other side.

so many birds! There's at least 5 different species here alone...

LA is so often a reminder to just kinda pretend a bunch of stuff doesn't exist if you ever want to enjoy anything, mostly due to people.

 I wish I knew this bike's story..

I was both disappointed and impressed by the bike lane along Forest Lawn. I noticed these small loops in the street to detect bikes at the intersections. There were still giant ones for the cars, but the bike lane was *gasp* designed to detect bikes!!! 

On the other hand, the bike lane was in pretty terrible condition in a few place, which made me thankful that there wasn't much car traffic. In one area going east around a curve, the lane nearly disappears and causes the bikes to suddenly have to move into the car lane. Going west, there's some places where the asphalt is in terrible condition with cracks and extreme unevenness that would be ok for a car, but can easily mean a tumble to the ground on a bike. There were also a few moments that left me feeling like "how the fuck am I supposed to move over there from here?!?!"

Anyway despite my complaints, it was still a nice ride and I could easily see going further down the LA river path at some point...yay for road bikes and strong legs that make traveling marathon like distances something that leaves you feeling somewhat... normal.

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