Not Particularly Little

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Secret Road!

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!

Dancing Hams

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.

A man, a ham, a dam: Panama

Forest, Fire

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!

A typical day in the forest.

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.

Sort of like a less murdery Tiger King

They ran out of money a couple of years ago and the animals were transferred to other locations.

Happy Trails

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.

Bom ba dee da, bom ba dee da, bom ba dee da dee da dee da

Roy Rogers, the guy best known for the song, used to live in Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley.

This is the version of the song I usually think of.

Then he moved to Apple Valley in San Bernardino.

I’m sure he never sang this song.

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What happened last week?

THIS happened, for corn sake!

This week’s four rides:

Edge of Simi

Four and a half years ago, I rode my first century ride from Toluca Lake to Santa Barbara. I was so worried about making it over the hill into Simi Valley that I took a different route with longer, less steep hills. I finally went over the pass last week- and discovered it’s now not a big deal.

I took Box Canyon back. Winding road, lots of blind corners, and only one lane in each direction with almost zero shoulder. A little spooky.

Bike Tag

The BikeLA subreddit plays bike tag. One person rides somewhere and takes a picture. When the next person finds it they take a new picture somewhere else.

I found this Karate Kid/Cobra Kai Mural:

My bike fell over while I was taking this.

…and I submitted this Nipsey Hussle mural:

La Crescenta & Tujunga

Windy Day

It was supposed to be a lazy ride, but wind means work.

San Fernando Valley Half Century

I had originally planned to ride through Simi again, but I forgot my pump and if my bike breaks down it’s a lot easier to get help and a ride home from the San Fernando Valley.

Luke has as many as three bikes, depending on how you count

I love my Long Haul Trucker but it has skinny tires and a short stem, which makes riding on anything other that straight, smooth roads a little spooky. My Fuji Touring is a little better, but still not really up to any kind of dirt or gravel road. 

Solution: NEW BIKE! Look at this lovely thing:

A Salsa Journeyman!

But three bikes in an apartment is crazy – especially when I hardly ride the Touring these days.

Solution: “Loan” my brother the Touring!

I couldn’t just let it go – it’s the bike I rode to Santa Barbara, for corn’s sake – but I hated seeing it sit unridden. So it’s on indefinite loan to my brother, who will ride it a bunch.  

I got the Salsa three days ago, but the smoke from the wildfires was too thick to go for a ride. Today I took it for a short shakedown.

…and I plugged some holes!

It’s about what I thought. A little slower, a lot more stable. A fun ride. I’m still adjusting it, but I can tell it’s going to be a nice ride.

The trouble with map apps, and starting to fill in!

I’ve been using BikeGPX to help me fill in holes in my Ride San Fernando Valley project. It’s free, and it works well – unless I make a crazy route that keeps doubling back on itself. The it gets confused and I have to nudge it back on track. But for any normal cyclist trying to ride pre-planned routes, it’s a pretty cool thing. Worth having!

The other “use a map to plan a route ahead of time” issue: Did you know that roads and maps sometimes don’t line up? It’s true! It’s almost like the city is constantly changing or something.

1. This road no longer exists.
2. I was supposed to ride in here, but all the crisscrossing confused the map app.

But even with glitches, the southeast valley is starting to fill up.

Heck, in a couple of years I might actually finish this thing!

New mapp app, new seatpost

It’s really hard to find a decent app that gives turn by turn directions. Runkeeper & Strava don’t do it, which is annoying. I found an app calle Bike GPX that lets you follow a map, but doesn’t have a voice. Annoying, but it worked well enough to (mostly) follow the route.

Also: I am stunned by how different the bike feels with a different seat post. Much more comfortable!

Now part of the rideSFV map: the West Valley!

Today’s ride:

Some sort of gun, I guess?

About 40 miles on the new saddle today. Totally worth every penny it cost.

And the West Valley is officially on the map!

Of course, I’ve already ridden all over the West Valley (and big chunks of the north side as well), but that was before I started mapping, so…let’s do it again!

Filling cracks, climbing little hills.

Today’s ride: 20 miles of picking up missing streets, and a slight return (voodoo child) to hills.

I have no idea what this could be. That could be a mouth bottom right, I guess…

Things I learned:

  1. I need to ride more hills. A tiny bit of the end of Lankershim was a challenge.
  2. It’s really easy to miss streets. I’ve been consciously trying to fill in everything, and I’m still missing streets less than a mile from me! 
Seen here: missing streets.

I need to start making maps before I go so I can pick up stragglers and and reasonable hills along the way.

Rorschach tests, mile adjustments

Cartoon dog wearing a turtleneck and smoking a pipe, or hand reaching from the grave for Santa’s boot? You be the judge.

I like the antenna on top of the dog’s head.

And’s here’s a rough guess of which parts of this ride were new-to-me roads.

I guessed that there are are 3,200 miles of road in the San Fernando Valley, but I based that on a report from the City of Los Angeles that doesn’t include other cities. No Burbank, no San Fernando, no Glendale. New guess: 3,400 miles.