Forbidden Roads?

Yesterday I was able to leave work early again, so I set out for my new Adventure Commute. This route involves some fire roads and then a fun blast down the LA River Bike Path. I got some notes from Bruce on the best way from Paramount Studios up to Griffith Park, topped off both bottles this time, and set out for some exploring. I climbed up and over the Shakespeare Bridge and then up to the same vantage point from last week.

After consulting the map I decided to take the left fork this time. It climbed up for a little while and then turned left, opening up to a view of Glendale and beyond. It was pretty good riding until I got to a crazy steep grade. I rode up as far as I could, but the tires, and more importantly my legs, were no match for the 19% rocky grade. After a hike-a-bike section I made my way back down to pavement near the Merry Go Round.

Downtown LA in the distance.

Back on some pavement I headed up the hill to some more fire roads. That’s when I first saw them. “No Bicycles” signs. What the? Why are these here? I checked my map again and it looked like there was another road not too far away so I pressed on. I took a dead end and stumbled upon a sleeping coyote. He was just resting, but got up once he heard me coming. He kept his eye on me, wondering what I was going to do next. Just around the corner people were enjoying the manicured lawns of the park. Not knowing that a coyote was just hanging out on the other side of the trees.

I finally found a road with no anti-bike signs so I took it up into the hills again. Near the end of the road though there they were again. More “No Bicycles” signs. The road that I was on exited to an intersection of two other roads. It was unclear if the sign was meant to keep you out of all the roads, or just the one road that it loomed over. I rolled out to the pavement and as I was approaching the road I saw a Park Ranger driving by. I tried to flag them down to get a better idea of the rules, but they just sped past. Oh well, I’ll just keep exploring on my own I guess. Before long I came across two mountain bikers so I stopped to find out if they had any more info. I was told that all the dirt roads in the park were off-limits to cyclists. They said that it was because of the equestrians. I don’t know if it’s true, but if it is it’s a real bummer. There’s so much good fire road riding right there within sight of the city.

I climbed up to the top of the Griffith Park Drive and met one of the Ritte Team Riders Jonathan. I got to check out his Bosberg and he let me pick it up. It only weighed 14 pounds! I think one of my wheels weigh that much! I think that the team kit is one of the coolest ones I’ve ever seen. I want to get one of the cycling caps. Team Ritte, you should just send me one. I think that hat would increase my pace at least 2mph.

After some chatting I headed downhill and around to the LA River Path. I used the flat path to do my training work. Zone 2 @ 100RPM for 15 minutes. 15 minutes non-stop is a long time, but I was able to get it done on the path. I finished right as I rolled up to Fletcher. I had planned to take the city streets south to Main, but I saw many people using the path south of Fletcher. So I decided to use it too, against the advice of the signs. It’s been a year since the project began, and the path remains unfinished. All the access points were blocked with fences. However, as Joe Linton says, “The good thing about these fences is that they don’t work in neighborhoods like Elysian Valley. People pry them open.” There were many people out there both walking and cycling this section. In many ways, it was even nicer than the northern stretch thanks to it’s brand new pavement.

After almost two and half hours of riding I stopped to rest under the statue of Zapata in Lincoln Park, and eat some granola mix. It was a great place to relax and think of the ride. It was both a fun ride and a frustrating ride. Two of the sections that I’d like to make part of my route are technically off-limits. One of them is a path built for cyclists, but cyclists can’t ride it. Where’s the logic in that? What can be done to change this? Does it even matter? The path is being used anyways. The dirt path is just as frustrating. There’s no fence, but the threat of a fine is there every time I ride up there. Is that worth it? I don’t know. Anybody know what the fine is? Maybe someone at the LACBC would know?

After sitting and thinking about these issues I started to pedal towards home. I ended up meeting the Eastside Bicycle Club in El Sereno right as they were rolling out. So I rode with them up Eastern to Huntington and then finished it off with stop at La Golondrina for a burrito. A great end to a great ride.