Sunday, May 29, 2016

Trading Bike Parking for Time

Seal Beach has been hit by a couple tragedies lately. The burning of the buildings at the end of the pier, being the most recent and dramatic. But a far more insidious tragedy is the loss of bike parking to make way for a big clock, and those obnoxious bricks with the names of donors engraved into them. It has been a while since I last rode down to the Beach so I can't be sure when the transformation took place, but you may remember photos from the past, or witnessed the scene in person, showing rows of racks, often full of bikes, especially during the summer.  From what I could tell, most of those bike rack users seemed to be locals who would ride over from surrounding, or more far flung neighborhoods, park, lock up, and spend the day at the beach.

Now what have you got? An empty, unused space. They even took out the benches. What a waste. So what are you supposed to do there? I watched people for a while, they would walk out to the end, look out over the parking lot below, turn around and walk back. Others would walk up to the clock, look at it, pull out their phone to check the time, turn around and walk back. While it is prime real estate, it also seems to be, mostly, dead space. I suppose people can lock up to the railing, as you see some do. At the same time I suspect that is more the outcome, rather than the intent, and wonder how long it will be before the "do not lock bikes to railing" signs appear. Like all these beach cities, streets are crowded with cars, especially during the summer, and parking is limited, so how does removing parking for bikes make that situation any better? Where is the sense in it? And why for a big clock which, quite frankly, could just as easily have been placed just about anywhere?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Another Crossroads

Can photos ever be shared too far after the fact to become useless? I don't think so, you just find a new use for them. This one was taken two weeks ago during an evening Cross Town Loop. I didn't post it at the time, even though I liked it, and the more time that passed, the less likely it appeared that it would see the light of day (or the front page of this blog). But then I thought...

I thought about how things here have taken another turn, almost a complete u-turn. I mean when was the last time I mentioned anything about a pro race of any kind - no Spring Classics, no AToC, no Giro (although the last two stages, if I can mention them now, were quite exciting). I have not been out to a local crit, or any other road race since the Roger Millikan Memorial way back in February. (Whoops, I forgot SDSR. Well everything else is still true). It has taken a while, but in the four years since I changed from the Claremont Cyclist to the CLR Effect, I have come to realize that going to races every weekend possible to take photos, has meant that I have, out of necessity, missed a lot of good rides. Since I have come to accept that my "racing career" is over, I expect that this "retreat" to a more local endeavor will continue. There will still be some race coverage (mostly mountain and cross), but in the end, it is all about more bicycling events, more riding, more miles. See you out there.

Friday, May 27, 2016

In Flight Across the Sun

There I was, riding along minding my own business, when all of a sudden the ground began to waver, move in a flow from left to right across my path. It was as if, after all these years and countless, fruitless attempts at chasing, I had finally caught a mirage. It was mesmerizing and psychedelic (he says as he sits listening to some Jefferson Airplane); surely I would have crashed if I had stared too long or deeply.

Then came the first collision, a plonk to the helmet, followed by a second, thud this time, to my left arm. In that instant the wavering pavement made sense - I had ridden into the midst of a million bees, a massive hive on the move, and in flight across the sun. Their many tiny shadows continued to cause the pavement to break apart into pieces of uncountable number, each constantly shifting while, somehow, retaining a solidness, and allowing me to roll along.

"Oh damn," I thought but there were no further collisions, the remainder of the hive, all 999,998 of the little aviators flew somewhere high enough above my head to avoid any more problems. I have seen large numbers of bees before, including a very angry hive whose members made us, obstacle course runners, know of their displeasure with our passing, but all of those moments paled in comparison of size and scope, to the sheer numbers I saw today. I've got to tell you, it was kind of scary at first, but then so very amazing after.

It may have been a solo ride for me, but I saw groups everywhere I looked. The bees, of course, but also this group of BoBIE's heading up into the canyon. I passed them up here, turned around at the canyon mouth, and passed each other again going in opposite directions. At that point someone said "Hi, Mike," but I didn't see who it was - Dean? A belated "hey" back at you.

Then came the groups of yuccas - some old dead ones, others blooming young ones.

Been a while since I last stopped in at this little park; in fact I thought it used to have a different name. Notice the fence in the background, lined with interpretive panels, about rocks, minerals, geology, and the local mining operations. Pretty cool, and informative, and not there at the time of my last visit.

It's the Weekend

and an extra long one at that. In fact I don't think there has been an official work holiday since New Years, a god-awful long gap of time. Will have to make the most of the opportunity with some extra riding. Bike Night at Union Station this evening sounds pretty fun too. Were ever you go, what ever you do, make the most of the Memorial Day weekend. See you out there.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cycling Claremont: Going Green

Although the observant folks at Cycling Around La Verne noticed the green lane markings on east-bound Baseline at Monte Vista / Padua some time ago, short sections of green bike lane have, otherwise, been appearing around town quietly and without fanfare. Last night I finally got around to photographing one - the recently installed / painted lane on south-bound Monte Vista at Claremont Blvd. I could see using the lane if that light were red. However considering the width of the green lane, and being well aware that speeds on Monte Vista regularly exceed the 40 / 45 mph limit, I would prefer to not allow moving vehicles on both sides of me at that point .

I certainly appreciate the added prominence the green paint provides, but it is not much wider than my handlebars, and I am just not sure of the benefit when traffic is moving at the posted speeds. Keep in mind, I am not entire sure of the intent - the markings may very well be intended as a kind of linear bike box, allowing riders a clear path to move up to the intersection when the light is red. Thoughts? Would you slot into the green lane when traffic was moving, or would you occupy one lane or the other for the short distance it takes to reach the intersection?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Welcome - Now Get Out

While the Psycho-lists and Coates groups combined forces Sunday morning for one big pre-Plain Wrap ride, I decided to take the Ibis out on a less than exciting solo ride. A couple weekends ago, sitting in the Village on a Sunday morning, a local CLR Effect reader spotted me and we talked for a bit about the Cross Town Loop and the part dirt / part paved route across the top of Upland. Ever since that talk I have been of a mind to do this out and back that I last rode several years ago. At that time, the ride was of some interest, mostly because it was new territory. Enough time has passed that I made several wrong turns, back tracked a handful of times, found one passage completely closed off now, and another with an ominous "US Property. No Trespassing" sign. Because of all that, I can't say as that I was as impressed by the route this time around. Eventually, though, I made it all the way out to Cucamonga Canyon's underused multi-use trail, and then back again. 

As I looked out over the area below San Antonio Dam I was struck by the lost potential - a large swath of land which, these days, is a useless space. I mean in the past it was important for flood control and water recharge reasons. Today, though, the dam takes care of any flood control problems, while water that does make it past its massive bulwark is channeled away. The many small basins and water control devices (gates, pipes, etc) are clearly disused. The whole area (excluding the active quarries, of course) could be a fantastic recreational area, helping to relieve pressure on the few designated parks in the foothills region (Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, North Etiwanda Preserve, Marshall Canyon County Park, etc). An equestrian area, foot trails, running paths, pump track, bmx track, a permanent cyclocross park, even the fabled inland empire velodrome could all fit within the space. Heck, you wouldn't even need to remove the water recharge function; basins could remain and be allowed to flood during winter and wet times of the year.

By all means fence off the active quarry pits, but it seems to me that closing off the rest of that area is an affront to everyone living in the area, and incredible waste of open space and recreational opportunity.
a misnomer - actually people are not welcome here, even though, as government property, our taxes pay for it

Cucamonga Creek disappears into the twisting reaches of Cucamonga Canyon and the cloud-shrouded mountains.

Monday Blues: Support Your Local Bike Shop

Your Local Bike Shop does more than provide a location to check out new bikes, deck out existing rides with new components, provide a weekly, or more than once a week, group to ride with. They often contribute to their communities as well. They sponsor rides, lessons, and other events including, quite often, non-bicycling ones. I don't know how many local shin-digs I have been to in the cities out this way, where I have seen a bike provided by Coates standing out amongst the raffle grand prizes. Thus it was hardly surprising to see another at yesterday's Claremont Folk Festival. That it was blue, and thus ripe of an edition of the Monday Blues, was added bonus.

Support your local bike shop.


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