|Miles travelled: ||62 (1240 total) ||Average speed: ||13.3 MPH |
|Time on bike: ||4:40 ||Top speed: ||39.3 MPH |
Okay, let me first state for the record that I hate Los Angeles with a passion. Exhibit A for car culture run amok, filled with smog and smug, all the celebrity crap… I could go on. It was too nice a place on Earth at some point and too many people wrecked it. I hate going there, I hate being there, I wish it would slip into the ocean already. (Are you getting the picture yet?)
Now that you know how I feel, you may be as surprised as I was at how truly enjoyable today’s ride through the LA area actually was. Most of it was cruising miles of bike paths by the beach, which were sparsely populated thanks to overcast skies and it being Monday.
my last campsite of the trip… I made an extra big breakfast this morning with the stove
This day on the route had stood out in my head like a ride through Hades. In the morning I opted for my green and white 360 jersey since my other one was orange, and I didn’t want anyone mistaking it for red and busting a cap in my ass when I rode through Compton or Watts or who knows where the bike path would be taking me. (I hope there aren’t gang wars over game consoles.) One guy in camp that morning talked about the route like I would need the Popemobile in order to survive. The cycling guide itself describes the route as harrowing and extremely challenging, riding without shoulders, etc.
Bah I say! It was fun.
I was in Malibu by 10am, rolling over a couple of small hills and wondering if the thick fog would be sticking around all day. I met two other guys touring at this point who were riding with guitars; they had been on tour for the past couple of months all the way down from Seattle.
the group’s name is Bramble… couldn’t track down a link. They did a century the day before – impressive!
As I got up towards Santa Monica I was flying by literally miles of backed up cars; turns out they had closed off the PCH for what looked like a fallen tree branch that had hit a power line. I made it onto the start of the Los Angeles Bike Path right before the traffic detour and was cruising along the beach.
I stopped in Venice Beach for a disappointing chili dog (there should be a law as to what constitutes a hot dog, and what chili is) and to refill my Gatorade bottle. I went through Gatorade like crazy today for some reason.
I reached a point where the bike path headed away from the beach and started having to consult the directions in my camera again. I passed two girls on bikes, followed some path I was told to take, and then saw the two girls ahead of me again sometime later. Figuring they knew where they were going much better than I did, I rode with them for the next few miles until Manhattan Beach or so, where I made a pit stop. I passed them again in Hermosa as I cruised along at a decent pace.
oil tankers offshore as I cruise the path
In Redondo Beach I reached a section where I had to walk my bike and lo and behold they have dipped ice cream cones, I’m not passing that up. I grabbed a dipped cone and a churro for more nutrients before the bike path was about to end and I’d be back on the PCH battling it out with the cars.
When I went to throw away my churro wrapper, I heard some guy say “HEY WHITEY, YOU BEST BE EATIN’ THAT, THAT ONE’S FOR YOU!” I looked up thinking he might be talking to me (and wondering how this was going to turn out) and saw an I’m-guessing-homeless couple feeding a flock of pigeons, with one white seagull in the middle of them. I laughed and started to talk with them, the conversation naturally ending up about my trip. The guy said “one time I rode my bike from here to San Diego – it took me eight days to get there. I got to that base down there and they wouldn’t let me ride through since I’m an ex-felon, so I had to go around.” I had a newfound appreciation for my clean rap sheet and was soon on my way.
The ride onto the Pacific Coast Highway and through Torrance was not as scenic as the bike path by the beach was, but it wasn’t a bad ride. It was around 4pm and traffic was good, and for the most part I had a whole lane to myself. I talked with some kids on the side of the road at a stoplight who were digging the bike, and had some other people wave and give me the thumbs up as I rode by… some bike supporters even down here as well. Not a single car honk, gunshot, or grenade the whole time as I rode towards Long Beach.
I made it to my hotel at 5pm and astonished the front desk staff with having ridden my bike here from Portland. I brought the bike in so they could check it out, but they were more interested in checking out my legs. [sigh]
After a shower (Westin heavenly shower with the dual shower heads… ahhhh) and some online time I met up with my SoCal buds Mark Rosenberg and Daniel Egan, who treated me to dinner at Gladstone’s down by the water a few blocks away. My cousin Vannessa swung by on her way up to Hollywood and she picked up most of my gear; she’d be at my aunt’s house when I get there tomorrow, and I don’t need my hammock, pots & pans, etc anymore. Tomorrow I will be like a rocket on the newly svelte Hulk bike as I escape from LA and make my way to Carlsbad.
Most Exciting Moment
Girls in bikinis playing beach volleyball. When I get home I’m going to have some elaborate letterhead made with the gold leaf and calligraphy and the heavy paper stock and all that, and write a fancy letter thanking the guy who invented it. Now I can see why people would put up with all the other crap in LA in order to live here.
- A gardening nozzle for a water hose
- grey glove