15.8 miles. 5 hours. A route from La Placita Square in Downtown LA all the way to the ocean at Venice Beach. What could possibly go wrong?
I wanted to go the whole distance, but it became clear that there was just too much to take in to where I had to slow down to a bit below my training pace, and occasionally pause to take pictures. And then, there was the small matter of temperature and lack of shade. And the Big Yellow Light in that Big Blue Room.
More below the fold…
This Ciclavia was pretty much dominated by cyclists. I suppose that’s somewhat to be expected, but in the past walkers and runners were not as few and far between as they were this time. Some of the bikes were pretty amazing, like this one that didn’t go anyplace but churned ice cream. I suppose that’s a way to burn off the calorie content of the ice cream ahead of consuming it…
This perhaps was the coolest art bike I saw. It requires several people to pedal it, and it has a crystal chandelier suspended over the top. An elegant dinner party on wheels. Considering some of the grades in the early part of the course it was quite surprising to see them make it all the way to the Pico-Union district.
The route turned south onto Alvarado, passing by MacArthur Park and the Westlake district. Note the Langer’s sign off in the distance. I might have been tempted if I still ate red meat, but I stayed clear.
There is a huge Central American community in the area we passed through along Alvarado. Definitely a different sabor (flavor) than primarily Mexican-American communities. This guy was playing Tropical music, heavily influenced by Latin pop, dub and reggae but also by Afro-Cuban Salsa. Kept me in the groove for sure.
When I finally got onto Venice Boulevard, one of the first things to greet me was a cemetery. Rosedale is perhaps the oldest cemetery in Los Angeles that is still accepting new “residents.” It dates back to the 1880s…the death-obsessed Victorian age. I didn’t see any statues of weeping angels, but I did see these interesting mausoleums. One is very classically Greco-Roman, the other is a pyramid! Very cool.
Unfortunately, the walk down Venice towards the sea had little in the way of shade, so I ended up starting to feel a bit burnt out. Packed it in a little before hitting the Kaiser Permanente hub…I might have needed their medical services if I had gone that far. I had plenty of water, and if anything I might have been over-hydrating, but the problem was the sun beating down on me, frying my brain. So I packed it in, slightly disappointed I hadn’t gone the distance, but short of making myself sick.
The big highlight of the event for me? Running into my friend Annemiek de Haan outside of that really cool cemetery. She was on her bike, and long distance bike rides seem to be second nature to her. Must be that healthy childhood growing up in the Netherlands, where the bike is king. I knew there were other friends on the route, but she was the only person I ran into.
Am I going to do the next Ciclavia? You bet. However, I’m going to definitely wear my broad-brimmed boonie hat. And hope for “June Gloom.” The next one will be Downtown LA to the Miracle Mile along Wilshire.