Tuesday, January 21, 2014

From Dawn to Dusk

This is my second attempt now to share some thoughts I've had recently believe it or not there are bicycles, beers, tea and Bullmoose Bosco bars revolving somewhere in this cathartic post with a whole bunch of other stuff. I'll spare you the inconsequential, well on second thought here's one. I had a cinnamon cake doughnut the other day and I enjoyed every cinnamony bite. Yep out of my system now where was I?

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr

I confess I'm no F. Scott Fitzgerald or Hemingway nor even a translated Dostoevsky (who happens to be one of my favorite authors) well perhaps my writings resemble the rambling part of Dostoevsky...I've been lamenting over whether to post this one but here it is, mortality, why write a blog and how the bicycle fits into my world view. You may be wondering where the dawn to dusk part comes in...it's coming.

First why write a damn blog? I mean there are blogs a plenty out there, lots of folks enjoy the "Bike Snobs" pithy, sardonic insights. I know I do to a point; okay I don't read him all that often but when I do I'm in a snobby mood anyway. Point is there's lots to read out in the blogosphere. So why do I need to clog things up?

The short answer is because I want to! I'm passionate about bicycles and any thing revolving around these wonderful amazing machines, but we'll get to the bicycle in a bit. I write for my self and if there is a cherry on the proverbial cake maybe I add some value to this crazy blue marble.

I am an artist at my core...don't artist's do art for the sake of art because they have no other choice they/we let it develop in the ether. Allow the viewer/reader to process it all make their minds up about what the artist is communicating. The truth is that I've been inspired to write a blog by some blogger friends who I greatly admire, but another reason is maybe to leave a record a mark of my existence...

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr
Which brings me to the mortality part. It's pretty simple and really I don't want to get too philosophical about this as there are much smarter folks than my self who've made it a life career to consider such things. I'm nearly 53 and in that time I've developed my list of maladies hey it comes with the package. However, the most difficult part of life in my opinion are the accumulated losses of family, friends and pets at least for me they weigh on my psyche. And there are plenty of ways to view mortality but for me living in the moment  in the now works.

The most recent event for me was the loss of an RBW Owners Bunch member Seth Vidal who was involved in a hit and run while riding his bike this past Summer in Durham North Carolina. I didn't know him personally but in the wake of his hasty departure as well as reading others thoughts this sense of impermanence has once again percolated to the surface of my conscientiousness. I lost my best friend  my Uncle Larry December 27th 2009 who was like a brother to me and my Dog Porter passed January the 4th of 2013 a loyal good friend. So Seth's leaving has me revisiting the sense of  my life our lives...If Seth's life view could be summarized I suppose it would be the following:

"It isn't a contest. Just enjoy the ride." Seth Vidal

Words to live by.

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr
For me the bicycle represents one of mankind's finest achievements because it harnesses us as the power plant and it does so with relative efficiency. Not to mention when you look at a steel lugged bicycle in particular it's gorgeous rolling art.

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr

In my opinion there is is no better way to experience your surroundings then by bicycle. So on to to the now moment...

I made arraignments to meet fellow RBW Owners Bunch and honorary Rabble Rouser Evan Spacht otherwise known as the Coconut Saturday the 11th at Los Angeles Union Station. Up at dawn ( there's the dawn part) and out of the house I  rode the 8.5 miles to the Sun Valley Metrolink Station and boarded the train....called Evan to make sure he made the train and he happened to be in the next car.

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr

We arrived around 8:30 am and made our way out of Union Station but along the way we ran into a huge group of Los Angeles hipsters all decked out on Miyata's, LHT's and a host of other bicycles...I was in nirvana looking at all these bikes loaded for an S240 and they were going out to a ride "The Old Ridge Route " that I've wanted to do but haven't yet found the time. I had to pinch my self, was I in LA or was this San Francisco? So happens one of this group Mark on the LHT had recently moved from San Francisco. Things are happening in the City of Angels.

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr

Our day revolved around, climbing up into Elysian Park making tea eating croissants and having spirited philosophical conversation about the state of all things in our tiny way station. And it seemed like a serendipitous spot as there was a coconut on the grass waiting for us.

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr

Afterwards we climbed a bit more had a pinch flat explosion! Sounded like a gunshot and had the locals ducking for cover, repaired, remounted the saddle finished the climb with views of the Los Angeles skyline

then carved our way down a twisty potholed road en route to the hip enclave of Silver Lake to pick up some Bosco Bullmoose bars at GSC (Golden Saddle Cyclery) these folks are really nice people are passionate about bicycles in a low key way and honest...if your in town and have some time to spare I suggest a visit (no consideration has been proffered for this thumbs up just MHO) we stowed our bikes and walked back to the Silver Lake Farmers Market for people watching, strong coffee, tamales oh yeah and a huge cup of steaming hot black tea.

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr

Bosco's mounted for transport it was time to hunt down a beer or two... the Coconut knew just the right place Angel City Brewery  a quick ride back through Echo Park and into the "Arts District" where they don't serve food unless you count the Vietnamese food truck parked out side serving up four delicious appetizers, the bonus is since they don't serve food Dogs are allowed inside a huge expansive old wire manufacturing plant which I think is darn cool sorry cat lovers no cats sighted this time.

We had some great beers and conversation with some nice people. It was getting late we looked at the time! It was dusk there was a rushed sprint back to Union Station to catch the 5:25 pm Metrolink train but that had been cancelled and the next train was 8:25 pm !! I didn't want to spend three more hours waiting on a train (Los Angeles is still working things out) and the wife was expecting me home so I grabbed the Gold line train up to Pasadena and rode the 15 miles home.

A photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr

What I took away from this day was that our lives are over in a flash even if we live a full life span it's a Dawn to Dusk sort of thing over really fast (the ride was also Dawn to Dusk) and like Seth any moment could be our last so raise your own bar to make the world a better place, grab a bike see your surroundings at a good pace and surround your self with good people like the Coconut and Carpe diem...

If you want to look at other photographs from this and other adventures look here or the Coconuts here.

Thanks for taking the time to read a long post and keep the rubber side down.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rivendell San Diego mini bump ramble around the bay .

Marine flags a photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flckr
Our good friend Curtis McKenzie put this ride together as many of us have admired this particular ride, I know I was keen to go on a ramble especially when it means doing so around water features that can't be a bad idea.

It's the first Southern California Rivendell ramble of 2014, nothing official just a bunch of fellows on a mellow ride around San Diego Bay stopping and chatting about all manner of things. There was a ferry ride, a salt Mountain or two, a big historic naval ship and of course beers.

Bruce and David a Socalpedalpusher photograph on Flickr
We met at Liberty Station which used to be the San Diego Naval Training Center near the "Recruit" training ship.  The requisite bike geeking commenced...but then it was time to do some rambling.

David's J.P. Weigle fender and reflector a Socalpedalpusher photograph on Flickr
Curtis led us up over our first bump of the day Halsey Rd Bridge as we headed South toward Down Town San Diego via Spanish Landing passing the San Diego International Airport and stopping by the USS Midway and Star of India for photographs and conversation.

David, Curtis, Bruce and USS Midway a photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr
Continuing South we bought our ferry tickets for the return passage and continued past Seaport Village The"Kiss", and a tribute statue of Mr. Entertainer Bob Hope. We passed under the Coronado Bridge skirting the Sweet Water Marsh National Wildlife Refuge traveling along the the Southern boundary of the Bay through Imperial Beach and riding North up the Silver Strand Boulevard to Coronado Island.

Once on Coronado we made our way to the Coronado Brewing Company for quick refreshments there were at least two stupid stout's consumed and a stupid IPA (sorta makes sense doesn't it) and nacho's before catching the Ferry back to San Diego's Broadway Pier. There was talk of wishing another order of nachos had been ordered...hey we worked up an appetite!

The crew at Coronado Brewing Company a Socalpedalpusher photograph on Flickr
We had a short but wonderful ferry ride back which offered fantastic views of San Diego.

Starboard panorama a photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr
Although this was a ramble of 32 miles it seemed to go by way too fast and before we knew it we were parting ways but before doing so there was talk of other ramble locations and S240's. I enjoyed every moment of this ride and know we'll be doing it again in the near future. Thank you Curtis for organizing and being a great tour guide.

And here are the aforementioned Salt Mountains...

The Salt Mountains a photograph by Socalpedalpusher on Flickr
Did I mention that the weather was a fantastic balmy mid 50's at the start of our ride and probably in the mid 60's at the end...I say probably cause here in temperate Southern California you forget to check those statistics as accuracy doesn't really matter...yeah this is for you up there in the North you know who you are.

If you'd like to see other images from our ramble they can be found here and David's are here.

Thanks for reading and keep the rubber side down.