Monday, March 15, 2010

To Live and Train in L.A. #7 PHOTO TOUR EDITION

The Los Angeles River. A river encased in concrete with a forest growing from the middle of it. Beautiful, no? Look at it. Take your time. I know the picture is wobbly-cell-phone poor and that the lighting doesn’t probably do the essential magnificence of this scene justice - not to mention that directly to the right of the frame, as it were, fifteen Hispanic guys were sitting on white buckets and fishing for God only knows what swims in this river, but I was ashamed to be a tourist and point my cell-camera at them. I’m not a tourist, after all. I live here. This is where I get on the bike path every day and point my way upriver and spin for 4.4 miles without interruption. At the end of path: Griffith Park. Not far from there: Forest Lawn Cemetery. In its own weird way, this is a cycling paradise.

You’ve got to love the bike bridge over Los Feliz Boulevard and the structural majesty of the river channel and the white swatches of paint on the concrete from where the city crews wage their endless war against graffiti. The war, like all wars, is pointless. Why bother painting over the graffiti? Is painting over the graffiti supposed to preserve a sense of an unbesmirched natural environment, a natural beauty the Los Angles citizenry can enjoy on their weekends off from their horrible jobs? As if river isn’t encased in fucking concrete already?

To the right of the path we have a scenic view of the rental studio/rehearsal warehouses on the far bank of the mighty Los Angeles river and of course we can’t miss the Verdugo mountains in the distance. Admit it: You know goddam well you want to ride to the top of those mountains and even in this terrible picture you can see the dirt roads cut into the hillsides. Cyclocross expedition, anyone? I’ll bring the inspiration. See you at 4:20 next Thursday.

On your left you’ll see the heartachingly gorgeous Interstate 5. This picture was taken on a Sunday afternoon, which will explain for you the lack of traffic. Normally, at four o’clock in the afternoon, a cyclist on this bike path can travel at twice the rate of speed as the helpless rich fuckers in their fancy cars. And oh no! There’s a cyclist approaching, and he’s in his aerobars hammering. Don’t make eye contact with him. It could be dangerous.

Games in progress. Curious behavior I have witnessed here on a number of occasions: The winning team and their families and friends (which I’m guessing are relatives, too) leave the field and walk to their cars and honk their horns at the losers while the losers are still moping about on the field, kicking at the ground and contemplating the meaning of life. I like this practice a lot. We should institute this in cyclocross racing. If you lose, you have to stay out on the course while the winners drink beer in their cars and smoke cigarettes and honk their horns at you and sing chingala pinche puta or something of that nature. In fact, I’d like to see every American citizen undergo this kind of group humiliation at least once a month on account of that might mellow our collective national arrogance in a wonderfully realistic, sometimes-we get-our-asses-kicked-and-take-well-deserved-shit-for-it way. Or wait: isn’t that why people race cyclocross in the first place?

This is where the HD comes into L.A. Looks more like a maximum security penitentiary more than it does a TV station or maybe it really is a maximum security penitentiary of the mind?

Oh well. Life on the bike isn’t all flatness and urban lightness along the L.A. River. There are plenty of huge hills and bad roads and scary drivers to keep a cyclist more than occupied. This is my street. Nice road surface, don’t you think? I fucking love it. Especially on the way up.


  1. Like the potential for cyclocross expedition.

  2. There's actually plenty of fish in the L.A. River - mostly carp. Lots of folks fishing all the time. See the LA Creek Freak blog article I co-wrote about fish here:

  3. Great stuff about the carp, Joe! I'm think I'd like to go after them with a bow and arrow - not sure what LAPD would think about this...

  4. Theoretically the state Dept of Fish and Game would regulate fishing in the river... but in practice nobody does. The LAPD might pull you over if the bow and arrow look too menacing though!


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