Oh my friends, we are nearly at the start of the big ride! Sunday at 6AM, the 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles begins. I’m excited, nervous, overwhelmed… all that good stuff. I probably won’t post anything until I get home, but if you’d like to track me when I’m riding you can use this link:
The bits of bookend video in this are from a 1983 show called Vic’s Vacant lot. Tennis pro Vic Braden sits in a lot with kids and talks about games. Then he watches as the kids chase each other on bikes without wearing helmets. Looks very safe!
I felt bad for the tour buses on this ride. The valley was fogged in. I’m guessing there was a lot of “Normally, you can see…” added to to the standard script.
Also: I’ve never seen David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. Maybe I should watch that some day.
Not much to say about these rides, so let’s use the “74 days left” thing as an excuse to link to a bunch of YouTube videos of TV and movies from 1974. That’s right, it’s the blog post version of a clip show!
New TV for 1974
While there are a ton of classic shows that premiered in 1974, I think everyone’s favorite moment of TV every week was when the little kid from Little House on the Prairie would eat it running down a hill in the opening credits.
Movies of 1974
If you want to see how much the variety of movies has narrowed in the last half century, just look at the trailers for some of the stuff you could have watched in a theater in 1974.
And the most popular science fiction film of all time:
I know there’s still a wide range of visual entertainment out there through television and streaming, but I do miss the days of going to a movie theater and discovering weird things in a dark room full of strangers.
My main biking goal right now is to get ready for AIDS/LifeCycle, but I’m trying whenever possible to work in my “ride every street in the San Fernando Valley” project. I’m not quite two-thirds of the way done.
I’ve done nearly all of the flat areas that are close to home, so now I’m starting to get deeper into the twisty little streets in the hills. Sometimes that means I find weird stuff usually hidden from the hoi polloi who crawl around the floor of the valley. Yesterday’s discovery was Mooncrest Drive, where the Fancy Lads are unhappy to have their lives interrupted for the entertainment of the masses.
I can’t figure out exactly what triggered these people so much that they’d go to the trouble of getting signs made, but I did find a couple of clues. The first was this article from last year that isn’t specifically about Mooncrest Drive, but features a 2020 picture of the street with the “FILMING NOT WELCOME” signs visible in the background.
The problem is that it doesn’t say what production was filming, so that wasn’t much help.
Then I found this page on a Twin Peaks blog. I thought that might have been the source of the complaint, but Twin Peaks filmed four years earlier and the signs look newer. And the scene was so short that it would have wrapped before the neighbors had a chance to organize. Also, it was used for a nondescript scene featuring a very minor character, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a one day second unit shoot.
The only other thing I found was that Norman Lear used to live on Mooncrest Drive, but I have no idea if it was even this section of the street.
Brian could figure this out.
A couple of unrelated pictures!
The Los Angeles LGBT Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation do great work helping people live healthy, safe lives. Go to my AIDS/LifeCycle sponsor page and make a donation. Anything you can give helps! Thanks!
100 days. A little over three months. It’s going to be bonkers. I’m going to have fun, but I’m also freaking out a bit. Well, maybe more than a bit. You help me freak out less by sponsoring my ride. And a ton of employers will match your donations, so you get to pay once but give twice- neat!
When I make these goofy little videos, I always spend way too much time looking for little bits of related audio & video. Sometimes I get lucky and find something like Mark Ronson’s “The Bike Song.” I fun and appropriate song I’ll actually listen to.
Sometimes I’ll find songs that I like but aren’t quite right for the video, like this Del Vikings song that’s about a flat tire, but not the right kind of flat tire.
Or this great 8 bit version of bicycle race that I couldn’t find a place for:
Sometimes I find clips of movies I can’t believe I once thought were funny.
Side note: Katherine can’t stand the music of Tom Waits, but often likes his acting. The five and a half seconds of him talking here is probably perfect for her.
If you’re wondering why this video ends with an odd version of Smashmouth’s “All-Star”: The song was featured on the Mystery Men soundtrack, and the video for the song includes scenes from the movie. And if you’re wondering where that weird version came from: Neil Cicierega, a man responsible for 98% of the internet’s comedy (seriously, check his wikipedia page), put out FOUR albums of remixes/mashups/reworks/homages featuring “All Star.”
I spent far too long on the five second “Streets of San Francisco San Fernando Valley” opening.
Nothing to do with Lily Munster
Lilley Hall (the place with its own Instagram account) is probably best known these days for their fancy displays for Halloween and Christmas, but its name from previous resident Joseph J. Lilley, a composer/songwriter/orchestrator who worked on a ton of movies. His home is right up the street from Bob Hope’s place. They worked on a lot of the same movies. I wonder if they ever carpooled to Paramount.
There are only about two weeks left of 2021, and donations are reallllly close to $3500. You could be the one to take it over the top. The Los Angeles LGBT Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation work all year to provide health care and health justice for tons of people living with HIV/AIDS, and anything you can give helps them provide those vital services. Please donate what you can!
While I’m training for AIDS/LifeCycle, I’m also still working on my “ride every street in the San Fernando Valley” project. Just like national COVID vaccinations, I’m currently around 60% done. Also just like national COVID vaccinations, the rate of completion has plateaued.
I’ve pretty well saturated all the available roads near where I live, so I end up riding ten miles in one direction just to get to where I’m picking up new streets. “But Luke,” you say, “why don’t you just drive your bike to the other side of the Valley so you don’t have to ride 20 miles to pick up another five?”
I just feel a little silly going through all the hassle of loading my bike on the car so I can tool around random neighborhoods. I mean, I’ve done it, but it feels like it defeats the purpose of riding a bike.
I don’t know what I like, but I know art
My quest to cover all of the roads sometimes leads me to odd places. Yesterday’s ride to the North end of Tampa included a surprise visit to the CSUN Art department. No one was there, but there’s some outdoor artwork.
Your donation goes to the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundations, two groups that help people living with HIV/AIDS. Do good! Donate!
Okay, it’s not exactly a secret, but Little Tujunga is a rare thing in Los Angeles: A long scenic road through Angeles National Forest with very little traffic, but not so isolated that you’d never get help if you had an accident. I spent 99 percent of the time on the road with no one around, and I could hear cars coming from a mile away. That’s not just a cliché; it was so quiet that a distant engine was totally audible. Well worth the ride!
I like stupid puns and wordplay. A few years ago I realized “Hansen Dam” sounds a lot like “Dancin’ Ham,” and I decided that there should be a store that sells them. And when I was looking for a spokesperson, Danson/Dancin’ was the obvious choice. The fact that people who overact are called hams didn’t even occur to me until I was in the middle of making the ad.
Angeles National Forest is the first National Forest in California. It’s about 700,000 acres. It’s so famous for burning that its Wikipedia page has wildfires listed ahead of the local flora and fauna. The Station Fire in 2009 burned for over a month!
Wildlife, gone away station
If you look behind me when I talk about laughing like Seth Rogen you’ll see some containers and a dumpster across the street. That’s the back of what’s left of the Wildlife Waystation. It used to be a home for wild and exotic animals.
They ran out of money a couple of years ago and the animals were transferred to other locations.
I wasn’t actually thinking of John Denver and Miss Piggy when I sang “Happy Trails,” but I knew the Van Halen version would get me a copyright strike.
Roy Rogers, the guy best known for the song, used to live in Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley.
I have a bit of serial monomania I’ll find something I like and really focus on it until I get tired of it, then come up with some sort of grand project, then drop it almost completely. Web design from scratch? I used to make new pages every day; now I haven’t made one in years (this page is different because WordPress is doing all of the heavy lifting). Photography? I took thousands of pictures and always had my camera bag with me; now the bag usually just sits on the floor and only comes out when I need to get pictures for the yearbook.
My current focus: the bike. It’s held on a good long time, but I can feel some burnout sneaking in. I don’t like it. My bike is a fun thing, and I’ve been turning it into a chore. That’s not good. So instead of pushing my love of riding to the breaking point I’m going to do a crazy thing: ride my bike for pleasure. I’m still going to set goals (and I’m definitely doing the AIDS ride in June), but I’m going to spend more time away from the bibs & jerseys and goals. More t-shirts, heavy bikes, and slow rides casually exploring. More ice cream is always good!
My Monster Trucker
My heavy and awesome bike is a 2004 Surly Long Haul Trucker. It’s a really popular touring bike. Tough, comfortable, and with lots of places to hang bags and stuff. I saw it hanging on a fence by the freeway one morning and thought “if it’s still there this afternoon I’m going to check it out.” Eight hours later it was still there.
The frame had a big dent in the top tube but was straight. Someone had added random blue “highlights” with spray paint. My guess was that someone stole it, took it for a joyride for a while, then abandoned it. I decided to take it home.
I didn’t want to just take someone’s bike, so I tried to find the owner. I posted the bike online, checked bike registries, and even contacted Surly to see if they could figure out the original owner based on the serial number. (Side note: find your bike’s serial number and register it on bike sites like Bike Index and Bike Register). After a couple months of holding it, I realized I’d never find the original owner. I took it apart, repainted it, and ended up spending hundreds of dollars on my “free” bike.
Free except for the new wheels and tires, saddle, cables, bottle cages, bar tape, saddle bag, cassette, brakes, and paint. Totally worth it.
They Live is a weird movie. Some of it is great. Some of it is awful. Some of it is only great because it’s willing to be awful. My video has about one second of a fight where Roddy Piper tries to get his friend to put on sunglasses. In most movies it would have been a thirty second struggle- a minute, tops. They Live devotes SIX MINUTES to two guys lumbering through a brawl in an alley. No music, no quick cuts. Just six minutes of two guys rolling around in a garbage.
Bike Shop Guy
Bike Shop Guy gushed over my bike. Specifically, he loved that it has rim brakes and quick release wheels. Newer bikes are like newer cars: they’re better performers than their ancestors, but they’re really hard for consumers to work on. New bikes have custom parts that require special tools that ordinary mortal can’t afford and don’t usually need. Bike parts are a lot less interchangeable. Most of the repairs on old bikes could be done with tools in a standard tool box.
That’s actually one of the reasons my Long Haul Trucker was such a popular touring bike. You could bring that thing into any little town and there would be someone around with the tools and parts to fix it. Good luck doing that with your top end Cervélo.
War of The Colossal Beast is the sequel to The Amazing Colossal Man. It’s the story of a sixty foot tall man with one eye who somehow manages to sneak out of an airport and walk to Griffith Park without being noticed. If you’d like to watch it, it’s available in lovely upscaled 4K on Youtube: