Monday, April 30, 2012

A slightly new route

On Saturday I mapped out a new route... well, some old and some new.  I'd ridden Martel/Hauser down to 6th Street, but since Hauser went all the way to Venice where I could catch the bike path, I decided to go all the way down.  I'd never ridden Venice on the east side of La Cienega, so it was a great new little bit.  From about mile 3.5 to 5.5 was all new to me.

I took some pics of the Park La Brea complex (might now just be called Park Brea).

And here's a nice little shot of Schumacher, one of the streets I sometimes travel (though not on this trip).

All in all it was a great ride, although Hauser is not terribly bike friendly and the street is awfully narrow down towards Venice Blvd.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Great high school bike club video

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition posted this video:

High School bike club

Hope more people are inspired to start bicycling clubs to school, work, recreation.  Let's get the whole country on bicycles!

Bigger is better

So I bought a bike jersey.... a 3X because that's the largest I could find - and these things run really small, btw.  A 3X cycling jersey has nothing to do with a 3X in real world clothing sizes because in a regular 3X I'm sort of swimming.  I did manage to get the 3X on, but it was like I was poured into it and practically needed to cut myself out of it.  It was more of what I would call an XL in regular clothing.  Gah!  Hello, haven't they heard of Spandex????

Yes, I know I need to lose weight but that's not the point here.  The point is that these things need to be made properly for larger riders who deserve a cycling jersey just as much as their thin/fit cycling counterparts.  The same goes for cycling shorts, bibshorts, and any other apparel that needs specific sizing.  Ideally the clothing should be made for anyone who wants to get on a bike a ride - because anyone who rides is a legitimate cyclist who deserves legitimate cycling gear.  If I ever did the San Diego Century, I'd love to have the jersey, but I'm quite certain it wouldn't come in my size.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day 2012

Meet up at West Hollywood Park by the Library.
Today the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition had a ride from the West Hollywood library to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.   Round trip it wasn't a huge ride - maybe 6 miles at the most, but it was a group ride and we had about 10 riders total, including 2 young girls, maybe aged 9 and 11.  The girls thought the whole ride experience with the group was a complete blast and the youngest rode at the front of the pack and chatted up a storm, making up words and general silliness.  It was terrific.

The ride was to celebrate Earth Day, and if you rode your bike or used alternate transportation, you could get into LACMA for free.  We arrived there at about 12:30, and the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, which I decided to join for $25, had free bike valet parking.  That is the first time I have parked my bike and left it, although I stripped it of most stuff before I left it because I just wasn't sure how safe it would be.  As it turned out, it was perfectly safe, but I worried like a mother leaving her child with a babysitter for the first time.

Looking north towards the 6th Street entrance into the LACMA grounds
One table had some bits of LADOT (Los Angeles Dept. of Transportation) swag, so I got a few dinky things, including a flashing red light, a pair of bike socks and some reflective stripping to wrap around the ankles.  I'll give these to my friend when she arrives as gear for the 2nd bike - well, not the socks.  Those I'm definitely keeping.

I did not end up going inside LACMA because I don't do well on my feet or with lots of walking around, and having been on my feet a lot the past few days making tons of cookies, I decided to just enjoy the sunshine and people watch.   There were lots of Earth Day activities, and I saw some of the  cutest toddlers.  
crafts activities
Some of us went to the food trucks on Wilshire Blvd, and I got a quesadilla for $5 which was good, although truthfully it was more of social eating than just hunger.  I wasn't actually hungry.

An outdoor public piano on Wilshire Blvd.  I was so tempted to play it, but these girls were having fun!
 We all met up again at 2:30 by the bike valet, and some decided to stay longer, but I decided to go because I had more cookies to work on and also I'd been up since 7:00, been downtown to deliver 2 orders of cookies, and done this bike ride on about 2 hours of sleep.  So I went home.  I rode down 6th to Sweetzer, then took it to 4th, 4th to Orlando, and Orlando up to home.

One thing I did notice is that on the ride towards LACMA, when we were on Willoughby, which I have travelled many, many times on the bike, I noticed that I wasn't feeling the inclines.  Maybe it was our slow pace or maybe it's just that my legs are so much stronger than a year ago.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A place to ride

I know this sounds crazy, but I can't get it out of my head. I would like to cycle in Iran. Why Iran? Because once inside the country, I suspect it's very safe to be... unlike Iraq or Afghanistan. If I wanted to see a Persian culture and be relatively safe, I think Iran is the place to go. Of course, there would have to be some dress code modifications, but I wouldn't be worried about road side bombs or suicide bombers or snipers. Iranians are reportedly very friendly. Maybe I could even get some groups of women out cycling.

I need to get a new Road ID. The three contact numbers on the current one have become irrelevant. One is a neighbor who isn't speaking to me. One is a friend who is too far away and not as available as when I first got the thing, and the third... well, he's decided not to be in my life anymore. So, I think I'll get a new one with my landlady's number, my sister's number and the third is still undecided. I can't afford it right now, but I will get a new one. I almost hate wearing the one I have because I wouldn't want any of those people contacted if something happened to me.

Today was CicLAvia, and I didn't go. The meet-up was at the West Hollywood park at 8:30a.m., but I just couldn't get out of bed. There is another bike thing next Sunday, this time to go to LACMA, and if you ride your bike, the admission is free, plus they will have a bike valet. So, might do that as I haven't been to LACMA for a long, long time (only once actually).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Head winds

Today I decided to ride my bike to the beach. This was the first time I had made the trek since the bike crash on Labor Day 2011.

I had barely left the front door of my building when one of my neighbors remarked that my bike was like the Porsches of bikes. Now, that's totally crazy because my bike isn't a fancy road bike, and I didn't pay an arm and a leg for it (I think I got it on sale for about $350). It's just a 2008 GT Timberline Fitness Series hybrid. Nothing fancy. It's just a bike. But the neighbor fawned over it, telling me it was actually a very good bike. Okay, I know it's a good bike (sturdy, reliable, etc.), but it's just a bike. It's decked out with all kinds of stuff, but it's just a bike. It certainly won't win any races, but it did survive a crash without a single scratch. I should have been so lucky. But I digress.

Since yesterday was a very stormy day, we had residual winds and also cooler temps. The winds plagued me all the way down, but I did notice how much stronger I was this year over last year. The ride down didn't bother me at all, although I definitely would have enjoyed it better with out such strong (and nippy) headwinds.

When I got to the bike path at the beach, there were some patches where a lot of sand had drifted over and was really too deep to cycle through... well, one place was bad and I had to walk my bike through it. On the way back, however, I managed to stay on the bike and trudge through the deep sand.

Dishonorable mention to the portly man on the bike in front of me who was displaying about 5" of butt crack, another 5" of dark blue undies, and was pretty much sitting on the waistband of his shorts. Sheesh! If they don't fit, don't wear them. No one needs to see that.

Oh, the ride back was lovely with the wind at my back. In fact, since I was riding at the speed of the wind, it seemed like there was no wind. It was very calm - as long as I was heading east. The ride home on the Venice Blvd. bike lane is always so much more pleasant than on the way down. I don't know, just seems like there are a lot more hazards on the way down.

As I said, it was a chilly day, and I didn't drink as much water because heat wasn't sapping me, but that's really deceptive because the body is still sweating and needs fluid replacement. Still, although I forced myself to drink, I think I could have gone the whole time without any water. I'm not saying that would be a good thing, just that it could have been done simply because the cold fools you into thinking you're not thirsty.

My right brake isn't working... I have to get that fixed. Just feels like there is no tension at all.

When I got home I didn't change immediately, so I got a little chilled. Finally put on dry shirts, doubled up and drank something hot to help warm me. My ears and hands stayed cold for a long time.

25 miles round trip. Didn't bother my muscles at all.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

To Santa Barbara of Bust

Today when I was out on my ride, I saw three men with their bikes packed for some long distance. At the time, we were all in east Beverly Hills by Gregory/La Cienega. It was about 11:00. I asked them where they were going and they said they were headed up the PCH to Santa Barbara to go camping and they hoped they would make it. Well, I hope so too, but you know, they got a very late start since it's at least 100 miles away. Maybe if they had left at 6:00 a.m. they would have had a better chance. As it is, they are travelling in the heat of day, and it is a very nice, warm day, so much so that my Road I.D. tan line is a little more distinct from my ride. Next time I must remember to get a picture of something interesting like that meet up.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Starve a cold

So, it all started last Friday, March 30. An inexplicable sore throat. Well, it mostly felt like it was extremely dry and just needed some fluid. This helped some but not enough. The sore throat lingered through Saturday and by Sunday it seemed to be on its way out. Then came Tuesday. The sore throat was gone but I woke up gagging and choking like I had a hairball and by Tuesday night it had progressed into a painful cough - you know, the kind of cough where you feel like someone has poured acid into your lungs. Somehow I managed to get to sleep.

Wednesday came and I felt like I'd been hit by a truck, but because I only work part time, I can't afford to miss any work. However, it's tricky because I also can't be sick at all and be around the person I work for because she has congestive heart failure. Still, Wednesdays are when I do her shopping, so I knew I'd be out for most of the time. Trouble was, I had a fever and was sort of out of it. There was no way I was commuting on the bike on that day. I barely had enough energy to crawl into my own car. Even after I got to her building, I just sat in my car, soaking in the heat and thinking that I could just fall asleep right there. I kept telling myself to get up and get out of the car, but it took me about 10 minutes to do it. Thankfully I was about 10 minutes early.

Normally I would take her car to run all the errands, but she and her hubby park in tandem, and on Wednesdays he gets picked up by someone and they go play golf. I just did not have the energy to switch the cars, so I just took my own car. First stop was the pharmacy to pick up her meds. Again, I had to talk myself out of the car. The second stop was the bank to make a deposit for her. After the bank I went through the drive through at Jack in the Box to pick up a fish sandwich combo, and then I headed to Ralphs. Maybe the sugar in the soda perked me up enough to get me going. All I could think was that I just wanted to go home and go to bed and sleep.

I returned to her house and put all the groceries away, made her a quick meal and then left. She said that I seemed "sad," but I said I was just tired. I still had to go to the bank for myself and the pet store, however. In the meantime, I'd only managed to eat half the fish sandwich.

By the time I got home, I dropped all my stuff right inside the door and basically went to bed. That's when the fever induced dreams began. Kind of interesting, actually. However, after about 4-5 hours of sleeping, the fever broke and I took care of the animals and then returned to bed. At 2:00 a.m. I finished the other half of the fish sandwich.

Thursday saw some coughing but the painful coughing was gone, and at any rate, I rode the bike. I got some cough drops because i had that hairball feeling again.

Today I again rode the bike. On the way to work I rode to the medical supply store and got a package of face masks. I took my bike into that store too. I was feeling much better today and except for some coughing spasms, I think it's mostly out of my system.

I should add, however, that three times during all of this I took heaping amounts of Ambrotose. I do believe that the glyconutrient food for my cells helped my body to recognize the problems it was having and to send out the defenses. In the past a sore throat has always been the first warning signal of impending bronchitis or pneumonia, either of which would financially devastate me. If I didn't have the Ambrotose to put my cells on high alert, I think this whole thing would have been much worse.

So, I didn't bike communte on Monday because that is the day I deliver cookies, and I didn't on my feverish Wednesday, but I still got three days of commuting in. In all, I only missed 1 hour of work.