November 02, 2009
Cycling Dude's Conquest of Legendary Fargo St. Posted on YouTube!
Every March, for decades now, Bicyclists young, and old, sane, and mad, have gathered on a sacred stretch of road, a 1 block stretch of Fargo Street, in the hills of the Silverlake/Echo Park area of Los Angles for a most unusual, and challenging event, sponsored by the Los Angeles Wheelmen Bicycle Club.
It is a challenge so difficult that many bicycles refuse to attempt it with their owner, forcing the intrepid cyclist to valiantly forge ahead alone...
Okay, okay, maybe not... ;-D
It is simply known as The Fargo Street Climb, and attracts dozens of riders, and spectators, as well as the local print, and TV Media.
At a 32% grade this is possibly the steepest street in Los Angeles, and people as old as their 60's, and as young as 8 years old, have mastered it.
One woman has pedaled it 16 times in 1 day, and the male record holder took 9 hours to pedal up it 101 times.
8 years ago I came here for the 1st time, and marveled at the road, and the spectacle, admiring those who dared to pedal up their way to the top, from which the view is spectacular.
The only event that compares takes place in Pittsburg, Pa., and includes a stretch of road with a 37% grade.
I wrote about both events, in more detail, in 2006: Fargo X 13 in Pittsburg.
Last month I decided to have a little fun, and record my own encounter with Fargo, with my new Camcorder mounted on the handlebar of my bike. ;-D
I present to you The Cycling Dude "Conquers" Fargo St. in Los Angeles!
I am still learning to use my Camcorder, but this is still a fun little video (I figured out how to add a title, and credits!). ;-D
Yes, I made the mistake of not adjusting the camera angle along the way, and if nothing else had happened I would have considered another attempt, but the amusing encounter with the man who earlier drove his car to his house as I filmed the intro, led me to decide to share this anyway.
Wearing my 3 Feet Please Jersey I rode ny bike, this day, in Burbank, Echo Park, and Downtown Los Angeles.
By the way...Fargo is NOT the only extremely steep street in the hills of Echo Park, north of Dodger Stadium, I was amazed to discover (Who says Mother Nature doesn't have a sense of humor!). ;-D
After filming I headed downtown to the legendary Philippe's French Dip Restaurant, a couple of blocks north of the Union Station Transit Hub, for a dinner of a Lamb Sandwich, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, and Macaroni Salad.
See that wall behind me, in the picture below?
The 2nd floor of the building once housed a Bordello, before the restaurant moved in, decades ago, and over the years restaurant customers have taken permanent markers, and other writing instruments, and left their names, and various messages, for future patrons to enjoy. ;-D
While waiting for a bus, later that evening, on 6th Street, just 2 blocks from the notorius Skid Row, an old homeless black man, with a sense of humor, approached the bus stop in the darkness, but kept his distance, at first, saying..."Is THIS close enough?"
I laughed, and he laughed, and we both laughed even harder when I wondered what the reaction would be if I pedaled right throught the heart of Skid Row wearing the shirt. ;-D
For the next 15 minutes we had a nice chat about 3 Feet, and motorists and cyclists sharing the road, until his bus came along.
All in all it was a fun, and interesting day. ;-D
August 25, 2009
THE CYCLING DUDE: The 1st YouTube Video
August 16, 2009
Cycling Dude About to Go Ultra Flippin' Crazy and Become YouTuber!
At least that is my plan, and hope.
Yes, Cycling Dude Nation, Fearless Leader has decided to attempt to join the 21st Century, at long last. ;-D
Oh, MY GOD!!! Head for the hills!!!!
I know, I know, what the hell took me so long?
Afterall, I've been blogging since 2003, for crying out loud, and so many who have followed in my tire tracks have taken to YouTube, and Podcasting, like fish to water.
But not me.
Part of it is time, and cost, part of it is not understanding alot about using a computer to its fullest potential, and part of it is a fear of trying something new, and making time for it, when I can.
Attending a Genealogy Convention, in July, then participating in my 1st Open Mic Poetry Reading, then re-connecting with a pair of old classmates, 1 of who goes back to 4th grade, and one to Middle School, on Facebook, and seeing how one has harnessed YouTube to wonderfull effect, and how the other is taking his own 1st steps, all combined to give me the encouraging push I needed to take my own first step on what I hope will be a fruitful journey, and an enlightening, and fun one, for me, and for you, the reader of this blog.
The first thing I did was set up a page on YouTube, not as The Cycling Dude, but as TheMadMacedonian, my other Blogging alter ago.
Anyone who reads the "About Me" section of the page will find info about The Cycling Dude Blog, and know The Mad One, and The Cycling Dude, are the same.
Any Google Search for me can turn up the connection, and my views on, and interest in, a lot of things outside the realm of cycling, something that has never bothered me in the slightest. ;-D
While the page will have links to videos of all sorts, that interest me, and that I may approve, or disapprove of, and opinionate on, I don't expect everyone to agree with, or like all that I review, but I do hope that the cycling videos I rate, and the videos I learn to make, and share, will attract other cyclists who are part of YouTube, or visit it for the videos.
The 2nd thing I did was buy a Flip Ultra (120min.) Mini Recorder, which just arrived in the mail this week. ;-D
So what am I going to do that is relevant to this blog?
Share some of my essays, humor, and poetry, from the past 6 years, on YouTube, of course, but also try to film scenes from bike rides, and places I visit on my bike, as well as videos on issues of interest, and concern, to cyclists.
With that in mind I put out feelers recently for opinions about how best to film from a bike, asking advice on how to mount a mini-cam on my bike, or bike helmet, or if it's better to carry it in one hand.
So far the advice has been a mixed bag, and I welcome more thoughts on the subject:
One wrote:I use a video camera similar to the Flip but I hold it in my hand. With
the camera mounted on the handlebars, there was too much vibration. On
my helmet, I couldn't tell when the camera was recording or if it was
properly positioned (putting on my helmet every time with exactly the
same angle is tough to do).
One wrote:My only real advice is not to cheap out on whatever mount you use. The
Joby Gorillapods are cute and easy to use, but they fall apart pretty
I have no experience with that flip phone, but I don't think a helmet
mount would work well with that camera because of the vertical
Ambitious for someone new to camcorders, and to YouTube?
Yes, of course it is but, look at it this way...Before the Spring of 2002 I had never dreamed of becoming a Blogger....
My traffic has always been miniscule, on all my blogs, with Cycling Dude consistently the best (100-300 a day), but the things I've done, the places I've been, the people I've met, corresponded with, been blogged about by, and become friends with, over the years, have made this experience extremely rewarding on a personal, and creative, level, if not on a financial one.
Attempting the leap into Video is the next logical step for me in my growth as a writer, and blogger.
I invite you to come along for the ride. ;-D