Today I started doing something about something, and soon I was doing lots of somethings.
Four months ago I was in my best biking shape ever. I did the AIDS/LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and (except for the the first rainy and freezing day, when I stopped early) I had no problem riding all day for a week. Even the hills we were warned would be challenging weren’t a problem. I felt great!
…until the day after I got back and COVID kicked in. I’ve had no permanent issues from it (that I know of), but it meant I went from a week of focused exercise to ten days of nearly not moving while I isolated and recovered. Since then, the world has been full of a range of inconveniences (including but not limited to: waiting for bike parts, Katherine’s health, heat waves, visitors, and going back to school) that have kept me from getting back into a regular routine. It all culminated with yesterday, a day when I did nothing physical and ate way too much tasty stuff.
Cut to yesterday, when a certain weirdo billionaire took over a certain short-form social media company and I decided that was a sign I should quit Twitter.
Then I thought that it would be a good idea to also quit the other social media company run by a weirdo billionaire and decided to leave Facebook as well.
Then I thought it would be a good moment to do a full reset and consider today a new start. So, today is officially Reset: Day One. I went for a nice ride that was comfortably within my current ability and ate a tiny bit better. The plan: keep doing that. Not pushing to do double century rides and eating only superfoods; just riding and eating reasonably.
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.
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.
Why is the Rose Bowl ride better clockwise? What’s it like to talk to strangers? FIND OUT NOW!
Circling the Bowl
I said that riding clockwise around the Rose Bowl was “prettier” than going counter-clockwise (or anticlockwise if that’s your style), but that’s not exactly right. The real reason it’s better: there’s a consistent dedicated bike path if you go clockwise. If you go the other way you sometimes have to either go against the traffic flow or ride in the street.
Greek, Observatory, Lather, Rinse, Repeat
A great thing about living in the southeast corner of the San Fernando Valley is having a lovely and challenging ride through Griffith Park. A bad thing about it is that it’s really tempting to repeat that ride instead of exploring. Goal: find new places to go!
Some good things I learned on yesterdays ride:
I can keep up with most riders
It’s much easier to keep a steady pace when you ride with a group
talking to strangers probably won’t kill me
I’m almost always a solo rider, so I was really surprised to discover how much I enjoyed being part of a group. I guess I need to start tagging along on group rides.
Darkness is coming
I’m a teacher. My workday often ends early enough that I can get in a long ride after work and still have sunlight. Thanks to shorter days and the coming end of Daylight Saving Time, that’s not going to last.
Ride in the dark after work
Ride in the dark before work
Riding more on weekends
Go pro, quit my job, and ride full time
It’s going to be a mix of the first four (though riding before work is going to be very rare). I move at turtle speed so number five is right out, unless some team wants me to make all their other riders look phenomenal by in comparison.
Your donation goes to The Los Angeles LGBT Center and The San Francisco AIDS Project, two organizations that do great work supporting people living with HIV/AIDS. Any donation helps! My current goal is $3000, and I’d be thrilled if I could cross the $100 mark in November.