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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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
But even with glitches, the southeast valley is starting to fill up.
Heck, in a couple of years I might actually finish this thing!
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!
I planned out a route before I left, and U planned to use ti to guide me… but I discover as I was about to leave that my tracking app can’t do that. So I made up a random route as I went instead. It’s pretty close to the planned ride.
Cartoon dog wearing a turtleneck and smoking a pipe, or hand reaching from the grave for Santa’s boot? You be the judge.
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.