November 07, 2009
Fullerton Hiking and Biking Trails: This One's For Mountain Bikers
The City of Fullerton Ca., in the north of Orange County, has approximately 28 miles of recreational trails, which are spread throughout the city.
Hikers, equestrians, mountain bike riders, walkers, and joggers take advantage of these scenic trails.
On Wednesday afternoon, Hiking Stick and camera in hand, I spent 4 hours walking 4 of the trails in the network, from Downtown Fullerton to the border with Buena Park, a total of 8 miles or so.
My Bike does not have the tires for these trails, so the poor dear sadly had to miss out on the fun.
And there were a lot of cyclists out there having fun. ;-D
There are 11 Featured Trails with Info Links on the city website, and 8 other trails that are listed on the site, and related interactive maps.
You cross an old bridge over a railroad, and Laguna Lake is a wonderful spot for fishing, and bird watching, walking, and cycling along the south shore trail as it become the Bud Turner Trail on the other side of the lake, and heads past the Equestrian Center.
The Nora Kuttner Trail has several steep, and rugged, uphills and downhills, and hikers are always on the lookout for deliriously happy cyclists barrelling toward them on the downhills (I encountered several!).
It was here that I encountered 3 brave, and hearty, young teenage girls, taking on a climb. ;-D
They hopped in the saddle and valiantly headed onward, and upward, for a short distance before realizing it was the better part of valor to walk their bikes to the top afterall. ;-D
At Coyote Trees Hill Park is one more fun stretch for the cyclists, as the trail heads down into a canyon.
I have 6 more photos, and a detailed route description, in the full report of my adventure, and you can read it all here:
September 14, 2009
Blog Posts About Segways, and the Smell of Apathy Bring Great Comments
A couple of weeks ago I wrote two stories that reader Randy Eady found a way to connect together with his comments:
In an earlier Cycling Dude Post on Segways in Huntington Beach I mentioned one community/urban mobility planning tool called the Green Transportation Hierarchy. (A graphic depiction of the priority of consideration in governmental planning for various modes of transportation, walking first as the most green form, followed by cycling, transit, delivery vehicles, taxis, and finally SOV (single-occupant vehicles).
This tool consistently rubs against a cultural imperative that relates to automobile-reliant urban transportation and the challenge of incorporating eco-sustainable lifestyle choices.
Read the complete comments:
Segways in Downtown Huntington Beach? (As of this writing no word any new decisions about this issue.)
August 31, 2009
Segways in Downtown Huntington Beach?
Surf City Segway Riders to join the busy streets, sidewalks, and trails, alongside pedestrians, joggers, Dog Walkers, and bicyclists?
Huntington Beach officials are seeking a company to install a Segway rental service in downtown that would provide guided tours and allow the two-wheeled motorized scooters to be used for recreational use.
Proposed in July, this idea could be approved by Sept. 8.
The relevent sections of the Proposal, linked above, for Cyclists, are the following:
g. Segway operators will not travel through the beach, pier, and pier plaza
events/activities, which include but are not limited to the arts and crafts exhibits and
farmer’s market held on Fridays.
h. There shall be no operation of Segways on Pacific Coast Highway.
k. All Segway operators must be equipped with two way radios or cell phones.
l. All Segway machines must be clearly identifiable.
m. Due to high traffic volumes during the peak season (Memorial Day to Labor Day),
the City may designate black out days for pedestrian safety.
From this it appears that Segways will not be allowed on the Beach Bike Trail, which runs, North to South, from Sunset Beach to Newport Beach, along Pacific Coast Highway.
Segways, traveling 12 MPH, with touristy, and local, bar/restuarant hoppers, chatting on their 2-way radios, and cell phones, while navigating the crowded sidewalks of the famous, and always busy (especially on weekends) Main St. area, and surrounding blocks?
I don't know about this.
How are they going to police where these people go?
Seems like a recipe for trouble to me.
A poll, in the Register, that had 300 votes within a few days of the original story, shows OC residents split on the subject.
March 04, 2009
See the Sights of Santa Ana by Bicycle
The bike ride I describe here is a leisurely ride through mostly residential neighborhoods of the city of Santa Ana from the Northeast across to the Southwest, along 3 Class 1 paved, and signed Trails, residential streets, and through downtown.
It is a ride at one with nature, and attuned to the history, and cultural make-up, of this city.
Directions to Ride Start:
The 1st thing to know is that, for car drivers, there is plenty of parking at the start of the ride.
For drivers all freeways lead to the 5, and then you head north or south, to Santa Ana where you exit at Main, and head north, a brief distance, to Memory Lane, turn right, and right again, at Lawson, into the parking lot for Santiago Park.
For Bus Riders the busses that you connect with to go to Main and & Memory Lane are EITHER the OCTA #53 from either Irvine, going North, or from Brea, heading south, or the #60 along 17th, allowing your to ride north on Main to the start, or the #54 or #56 that drop you on Main for a short ride south to the start.
THE ROUTE & THE RIDE:
This is a combined description because it seems the simplest way to describe the experience.
Distances are approximate.
The ride begins by climbing up out of the parking lot, and entering the Santiago Creek Trail, on the right.
As you approach the Archery Range, and an old bridge, things get interesting, and a bit mysterious, right away, as you encounter stone walls and old stone steps leading into the creek bed for some long forgotten reason.
At .66mi. you enter old Hart Park, near grand Ave. & the Garden Grove Freeway.
Already you will have begun to encounter walkers, people with their Dogs, and cyclists, more so on weekends, along the trail.
They are mostly Hispanic, and young, including families, but you will encounter Caucasians, and elderly, as well.
Entering Hart Park you pass the old parking lot with its old rock walls and steps, & past picnic areas, and baseball fields, taking in the, especially on weekends, the many families at picnic and play, and more than a few cyclists as well.
Moments later it's just you, the trail, and the empty river bed, again.
As you pedal along, going udner a couple of bridges, you pass places where walkers can get off the trail, and explore the plant life closer to the trail.
You may encounter young cyclists who have set aside their bikes to sit along the banks of the creek, almost hidden from view.
I encountered an old man, with a bike, who originally intended to go to the park, but instead became sidetracked by a beautiful patch along the trail where he chose to set up his folding chair, and settled down to read his Bible closer to God than a noisy park would allow on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
At 1.97mi. you come up out of the trail at Tustin Ave, and La Veta, cross back to the west side of Tustin Ave., and pedal south.
The creek trail may someday be extended further east, and many cyclists can't wait to experience such an extention.
Soon you turn right on Santa Clara Ave.and find yourself passing historic Santa Ana Cemetary, and its companion Fairhaven Memorial Park, where Civil War Veterans are buried, among other early settlers of Orange County, and Southern California.
Leaving this residential area, turning left on Grand Ave., you head south under the 5 Frwy., and right onto Santa Ana Blvd.
At 4.95mi. your trip along Santa Ana Blvd. takes you on a trip through the early history of the city, beginning by passing the historic Santa Ana Train Depot, now a major Transit Hub, an old residential neighborhood, and finally past the old 1st United Methodist (Roots back to 1869), the nearby Episcopal Church of the Messiah (1888) & the 1st Presbyterian Church (1882), at Main St.
Your first stop in old downtown Santa Ana is the Orange County Courthouse in all of its magnificent 1900 Arizona Red Sandstone glory.
It is the oldest exhisting courthouse in Southern California and has tried some of the most famous cases in the hisotry of the state, including the Whipsstock Case, which dealt with slant oil drilling, and the interpretation of farm labor law, resulting in law regulating explosives.
After passing the seats of county government, and truning left on Ross, then left on 4th street the last part of your exploration of the old downtown begins.
This leg takes you shopping.
By shopping I mean the popular Hispanic Shopping District, and the nearby Arts Colony, plus many polular places for a variety of dining experiences to wet your whisle, and tickle your taste buds.
East of 4th, Right on Bush, Right on 3rd, left on Broadway, Left on First, and finally Right on Maple.
At 7.18 mi. you have finally arrived at the start of the cross city, neighborhood tour trail, that runs just over 3 miles, from the east side of Santa Ana, to the west side.
Starting at Maple, and Chestnut, you ride south on a trail that runs parallel to Maple all the way to Warner Ave.
As you travel you cross numerous streets including the busy one called McFadden, Edinger, and Warner.
The trail is flat, but occasionally bumpy, and you have to carefully cross many neighborhood streets, while encountering cyclists, joggers, walkers, poeple walking their Dogs, and the occassional solitary person, or couple, lounging on the several grassy areas, whether public, or private residential spaces.
After crossing Warner the trail goes between a school, and houses, SW to Adams and Orange.
Next you go left, a short distance on Orange, to the Railroad, and the barking Dog if he's awake, where the trail heads west next to the tracks.
Next you cross Main, to the south at the light, and continue on next to the tracks.
Along the trail, from Adams & Orange, to Alton, as you travel next to the tracks, do not be surprised to encounter homeless people camping along the trail.
They may be harmelss, but don't stop, just keep on pedaling as quickly as you can, past them, acting like you own the trail, which you most certainly do.
Exiting on Alton, and turning right, you head a short distance to Bristol Ave., cros the street, and enter the trail again.
At this point, about 8.81 miles into your adventure, you can choose to take a detour, a few blocks to the south, for some shopping, and/or eating, plus potty break, at Target, Trader Joes, restuarants, and the South Coast Plaza across the border in Costa Mesa.
Also nearby is the Segerstrom Hall, and other venues, home to, among others, the Orange County Pacific Symphony Orchestra.
The last leg of the route continues west, between Alton, and the adjacent RR tracks,
with serviceable pavement badly in need of repairs.
The trail, and Alton, ends at Susan St., and you have now traveled 10.40 miles.
Turning left on Susan, right on McArthur, and right on Harbor, you head north, cross Warner, climb up the hill as Harbor prepares to go over the Santa Ana River, and make a right down onto the Santa Ana Rover Bicycle Trail.
Finally, you exit the river at 5th, turn right, past the school, and the Goodwill, turn left on Fairview, and right on Civic Center Dr.
You have now travelled about 14.80 miles.
Traveling east on Civic Center, you turn left on Bristol, resist the temptation to stop at In & Out Burger, or not...pass Santa Ana College, and Target & Kohls, at 17th, and approach, once again, Santa Clara Ave.
You are about to explore anotehr old neighborhood, this one called Floral Park, well known for the residents propensity for gardens, flowers, and other related leafy things.
When you reach Flower St. you can take a short detour, a couple of blocks north, to an old, famous, and well kept, "pocket" park, which is a beautiful garden on a street corner, with benches to rest your weary bones on before heading into the home stretch.
Along Santa Clara you will pass under a beautiful canopy of trees, next to an old gated property with one few privately owned collection of fruit trees in the OC (Whether Oranges or lemons I don't know, and the above pic was taken looking from east to west.)
Turning left on Broadway, and heading north, you climb up, and over, the freeway, and down for the approach to Main Place Mall.
At Main Place Dr. you make an immediate right to where the entrance to the Santiago Creek Trail as it prepairs to go past the Discovery Museum, and enter Santiago Park.
Entering the park you soon cross a short bridge, and arrive back at where you began.
It's nearly dark, in my case, as I ride this final section of the journery, and families are walking to their cars, or out of the park to Main St., and each of us, in our own way have spent an enjoyable afternoon in Santa Ana.
When I look at my odometer I find that the entire journey covered a total of about 18.85 miles.
May 16, 2008
REI Invites Cycling Dude to Speak at Bike Commuting Clinic
Last night the Huntington Beach REI held a clinic, and yours truly was among the featured participants. ;-D
REI is working with OCTA to promote bike commuting in the local area.
With safety the number one concern about commuting in the county, education is a large part of the efforts being made to make our roads safer for those working so hard to reduce the environmental, and economic strains.
On May 6th I was approached by Steve Kennedy, Action Sports Specialist in the Cycling Dept. who has helped me with my bike, and commented on the blog several times, in the past:
Hey, Steve from REI-HB here, I'm having a free class on commuting at the store on 5-15 Thursday night at 7 pm. Please come. I would like to have you say a few words about OC biking and your web site. This is the first class on commuting, I think there will be a lot of folks.
I was floored, then, once I got over my surprise, I was excited by the idea. ;-D
I didn't know until Monday if I could switch one of my days off, but the switch was made, and to REI I went for the 7pm event.
It was a cool way to celebrate Bike to Work Week and Month. ;-D
I arrived at 645pm, and Steve took me into a back storage area whre he had set up 20 chairs, a couple of tables, and a screen for a slideshow presentation.
The first order of business was to surprise me by showing that he could access the internet and plaster this blog on the screen! ;-D
He optimistically expected 20 people, and I had enough copies of my promotional flier for the Dude to handle twice that number.
Attendees began to arrive, including one man who was already aware of this blog, thanks to Steve, and we chatted a few minutes.
Attendees included older men, and younger men, a young lady, and even a father with his young children.
As you can tell...it was standing room only!
There was enough room for all 7 attendees to stand if they were so inclined, hee, hee. ;-D
Steve gave out my flyer to the attendees, briefly introduced me, and began his presentation.
His slideshow touched on the benefits of bicycle commuting, how to select the proper bike, and tires, and preparing your bike for riding.
He showed us different tires, examples of headlights, and rearlight, and talked about the benefits of each.
Then the other guest arrived early, was introduced, and began his talk, and question and answer period.
While he brought up several subjects important not just to commuting, but cycling in general, the questions asked by his listeners, including myself, brought out more information, and insight, from him, than might otherwise occured, I think, and his combination of serious, and humorous, handling of this added immensely to the success of the evening.
He emphasized many important things:
1. Many motorists are not paying attention to you, the cyclist on their right, near the curbs.
I mean, um, well, between maneuvering their car, SUV, or 18-wheeler down the road, shaving, eating breakfast, yelling at the kids/spouse/ or others in the vehicle, and/or talking on the Cell Phone, or text messaging, they can't be expected to be fully aware of their surrounding now can they?
He made the point that because of the dangerous behavior of some motorists it was important that any cyclist on the road be a defensive driver, and take charge of his/her ride.
Knowing how to ride safely in the streets makes the journey safer for you, and those around you.
He expressed pleasure that texting and certain ways of using a cell while driving, will soon be big no-nos in state law..
2. He made the point that cyclists riding at night need to make themselves seen, through proper lights, and even reflective clothing, and that it is illegal for cyclist to ride with earphones in their ears, for radios, and ipods, and that using a cell phone while cycling was illegal , too.
3. There was a great discussion of Bike Lanes, with me bringing up the different variety we cyclists have to deal with, especially those placed on the left of where cars are allowed to park on streets.
As I mentioned how I hated those particular types, and why, the discussion centered on safe riding in the street, and how taking the lane, using hand signals, and the type of clothing worn, not to mention proper lights at night, can often help a cyclist make his/her presense known to the motorists around them.
4. He agreed, and disagreed, with me on the safety of cycling on the sidewalk.
While just about everywhere cycling on the sidewalk is illegal, he said thre are times where it might be advisable such as with young children, and under conditions where it might actually be neccessary to continue for a time, and I agreed.
Nobody wants to see 2 year old Susie haulin' her behind down Bristol on a tricycle, or 10 year old Tommy, on his 3 speed, out there either. ;-D
Speaking of minors... They MUST wear a helmet, and have it buckled. Police give out a lot of tickets, near schools, just for this infraction alone
5. 90% of stolen bicycles will never be recovered because owners never write down the serial # of their bicycle.
6. Many officers, including himself, consider INTENT over the LETTER OF THE LAW, and try to be fair, when dealing with cyclists.
7. In Huntington Beach, a major, famous, coastal community, many of the accidents involving cyclists come in 3 varieties:
A. Cyclists going in the wrong direction.
B. Bike on Bike: As hard as it may be to believe...some group cyclists ride too close to each other, resulting in collisions.
C. Incidents with motorists at driveway entrances and exits.
Busy Pacific Coast Highway is a popular route for club/group rides, even during busy traffic periods, whic are frequent.
8. While he agreed that more and more cities have Cops on Bikes, and more departments are making sure officers on patrol are aware of Bicyclists, and issues surrounding our presense on the street, such activity varies based on the needs of the communtiy.
As certain new shopping/tourist venues are developed in the the city in the future, more Bicycle Patrols may appear.
The city currently focuses most of its efforts toward education of minors.
Finally it was time for Officer Stover to go, and Steve asked me to take the stage.
Not knowing how long I was expected to speak I came with some basic themes in mind, and hope that, in my own, inexperienced, way I was able to get them across.
After introducing myself, and making sure everyone had a copy of my flier, explaining about The Cycling Dude, and what it had to offer.
I think I must have looked silly, as I kept getting Steve to scroll my website up, and down, on the screen, so I could point out several sections of recources in the sidebar, and talked briefly about what I write about, an why. ;-D
I talked about my life long use of my bike, including in tandem with mass transit, and how Bike Trails such as the Santa Ana River Trail, the San Juan River Trail, the Aliso Creek Trail, the Beach Trail, and the Mountains to the Seas Trail in the OC (I'm tossing the the San Gabriel River trail, Rio Hondo Trail, and Los Angeles River Trail in Los Angeles County, the Santa Ana River Trail in Riverside and San Bernardino County, trails in San Diego County and new trails in San Bernardino County into the mix as I write this report after the event.) all offer fine, daytime, routes, for part of, or all of, the commute of a cyclist.
I mentioned that I knew of a local cyclist that uses one of those contrations (Charriots/Trailers they are often called) for pulling your kids behind your bike on a ride for carrying up to $80 worth of groceries on a shopping trip!
I talked about how there are maps, and websites online that can help people find places to ride, and that some cities, such as Long Beach do more than offer the standard street map, but specifically aimed at cyclists in their community.
I discussed the various types of resources that can be found on my blog, and online in general.
As I talked, I was nervous, yet focused on what I was hoping to share.
As I talked the 7 eventually became 6, then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1. ;-D
I knew this wasn't a reflection on me, but of the interest of the attendee, and the need to be somewhere else, and I just hoped they took my flier home with them, and make use of it in their lives, and the lives of their friends.
With one person left I brought my presentation to an end.
The man asked a few questions, and that was that.
Steve assured me I did fine and, for the first time in the spotlight, maybe I did, but the experience shows me that preparing for a presentation, and standing up in front of an audience, no matter the size, to give it, are not as easy as it seems.
The last time I did anything similar to what I did last night was in school. ;-D
For a tour of the best writing on this blog, over the last five years:
Watch Mat Barlow, of Bikes Belong, in a cool video on the benefits of Bike Commuting: Bicycling for Short Trips: Good for You and the Environment.
A Tip of the Hat to brand new BikeBlogger Cycle Pig for the heads-up on the video!
I wish to also thank Steve, and REI, for inviting me to participate in this event. ;-D
May 10, 2008
A New BikeBlogger Joins Me in the OC
I recently received an e-mail:
My name is Erick Cave and about 1 year ago in March my wife and I got the crazy idea to give up our cars, and switch to using bicycles and public transportation. 6 months into our experiment the Orange County Register asked to do an article on us. The article was on the front page of the Sunday paper. You can read the entire thing for yourself here...
Now, after a year, I've enjoyed my bicycling so much that I'm constantly trying to advocate bicycles and public transportation to people I know all over O.C. . In this attempt, I've created my own blog with the goal to "provide information and education to the people of the O.C. about alternative forms of transportation with a focus on bicycles, public transportation, and pedestrian access."
The blog is new, so not much there yet, but more will be added as time goes by. Not only will I continue to add videos and articles about cycling from around the web, but my own original articles and videos as well. I want to show people how great their lives can be if they just stopped seeing the car as a necessity and started seeing it as I do, an occasional tool that can be rented as needed.
My approach to advocacy isn't a political one, but a social one. It's my hopes that by introducing more people to bicycling as an alternative form of transportation that political change will come easier. I want to create a desire in people to ride. I want to educate drivers on how to look out for cyclists. I want to help make the O.C. a safe place to ride.
Ugh, I don't want to ramble on about myself, my main reason for emailing you is because, well you're the first blogger/commuter in Santa Ana that I've heard of.
When I read your blog I was excited to see that you live in Orange County !
I'm currently trying to get involved with different social bike rides like Critical Mass but am having some difficulty figuring out which ones are still active. Most of the information on the net is out of date. I have found one ride in Costa Mesa, but I'd like to find more. I'm hoping that maybe you can direct me to the right path? I've even been thinking of starting my own ride! lol!
Anyway, I'm sure there's more of us out there, and I hope to get to know as many as I can. :) Once again, thanks for having a great blog, and if you'd ever like to get together for a nice social ride, just let me know. :D
Well, How do ya like them apples? I ain't alone anymore. ;-D
I've been corresponding with him, and reading his blog, and I have 10 reasons you might find him worth keeping an eye on:
1. Erick began his blog, CycleDriven, in June 2007, with this post:
Nine weeks ago my family and I started on an amazing adventure.
Two months before that we had been having problems with our car. It was sucking up money like it was hair in a vacuum cleaner. If it wasn’t the gas we were paying, it was the constant repairs. In the last year we had already put about $3000 into it for engine, brakes, rewiring, etc. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another, and we were constantly waiting for it to break down again.
One day, while driving the wife to work, I asked an off handed question. Just a stray thought that had popped into my mind. I asked her, ” What would happen if we got rid of the car, and bought bicycles and started using public transportation ? “.
2. Encounter with clueless bus drivers are not new to many of us who Bike Commute, and Erick had an interesting experience of his own.
3. He has some interesting thoughts on common misconceptions about why people decide to go with public transportation and bicycling over the car.
4. After a month he was of the opinion that "Life without owning a car has been great. In ways that I never even imagined."
5. In an interesting post he admits that he still relys on a car 3 times a month, though he no longer owns one, and goes on to address several issues from not wearing a helmet, commute distance, and more.
6. In March Erick revealed his families "Plan" in a new category of posts he calls "How?":
What I plan on doing in this category is show you what we did and what strategies we used to get what we need done.
Every city is different. This plan goes on the assumption that you have a fairly descent public transportation where you live. If you don’t, then alternate strategies will have to be conceived by you to fit your location...
Every problem has an answer. In the year we’ve been doing this we have yet to find one transportation problem that couldn’t be solved with either a bicycle, bus, taxi, or car rental. As long as we plan out trips ahead of time, and don’t allow ourselves to be in a rush, we can get anywhere that we need to go. Each mode of transportation has it’s own intricacies, but after a few weeks, you and your family will be in the swing of things and you’ll wonder why you ever thought that you needed to own a car.
A very cool, and interesting post.
7. The family that rides together...
This is one very cool video of Erick, and his daughter, as filmed by his wife. ;-D
8. In this post Erick answers a question he thought he'd never be able to answer:
9. Last week Erick made a conquest, and a friend has joined him as Co-Blogger!
When my buddy Erick first told me that he had decided to get rid of his cars, my first thought was…”Are you kidding me”! After all we live in Orange County California, you NEED a car, or so I thought. We discussed it for several hours and he gave me lots of information, which I needed to process. Once I had the chance to think about why or how someone could use a bicycle vs. a car, it made perfect sense.
I never thought that I would contemplate trading in my cool gas guzzling muscle car for a bicycle that cost less than a month’s supply of high octane fuel. Okay, so I haven’t yet, but I will. I have a meeting with a friend of mine, who is one of the owners of Rock N' Road Cyclery, here in Orange County. He is going to help me find the perfect bike to fit my needs. I am not going as far as Erick and his family did. I will keep my car a bit longer; however I am going to park it for the most part and drive it as little as possible.
10. In addition to the F.A.Q. Page, which introduces you, a bit more, to Erick and Ray, there is a Law Page that covers California Vehicle Code Division 11 - Rules of the Road.
I am so glad to add CycleDriven to the Blogroll, and encourage you to check him out.
April 06, 2008
Orange County Wheelmen Add Training Page to Website
The Orange County Wheelmen Cycling Club, hosts several of the best Cycling Events in Ca., every year, and have a very fine website.
Now it has added a new section to its site, a Training Page.
Front and center is an infromative article of interest to any member planning to do their very first Century ride.
There is a page of dates, times, locations, and miles of Training Rides, currently those for April, in preparation for the upcoming CINCO DE MAYO FIESTA 150 (100 mi. option, too!) - May 3 and 4.
There is another section of the website that has links to a series of training related articles in PDF format.
Non-Members are welcome on all Rides.
The Spring event, the 2008 SPRING CENTURY (103, 64 and 40 mile rides.) - March 29, has come and gone, but...
In the Summer and Fall, the events to look forward to are:
February 18, 2008
San Diego Cyclist Takes Ride Based on Dude Story
I get e-mails. ;-D
This one is from someone in San Diego who is taking his ride today:
A few weeks back I stumbled upon your site after searching for info about the Santa Ana River Trail. I'm relatively new to cycling as I started in September of '07.
Now, I'm not your typical cyclist. I don't ride a two thousand dollar bike while decked out in your typical cycling gear - I ride a $300.00 gearless beach cruiser and dress appropriately depending on the weather.
I'm a tall guy, 6'5" and 220 pounds, so this bike fits me perfectly.
Since getting my bike, I've been searching out routes that aren't too hilly (though there have been a number of times that I've had to push my bike up a hill or two) for someone on a one-speed.
I've traveled from Oceanside to my home in SD – 42 miles (with some long, STEEP hills in La Jolla), Downtown SD to Coronado Island (The Bayshore Bikeway - and back – 50 miles, Around Mission Bay – with all the side trips and riding to and from the starting point, the distance came out to 33 miles.
My next ride will take place this coming Monday on President's Day as I ride the Santa Ana River Trail starting at the north end. Getting there will be an experience in itself, I'm sure.
I'm riding Amtrak from downtown SD to Santa Ana starting at 6 AM. Once I arrive in SA, I'm taking the Metrolink to the West Carona station. That drops me off (around 9 AM) 5 miles northeast of the starting point in front of the Green River Golf Course. Once I finish at the ocean, I'll take two buses (or I might ride, depending on how my butt feels) to the Santa Ana Amtrak station to catch my return train to SD at 2:51 PM.
The point of all of this is for me to say thank you for all the detailed info that you posted after your ride on the SART (and all of your other rides, as well).
This will definitely let me know what to expect on my ride and let me say that you're doing a great service to your fellow cycling enthusiasts.
After this ride, I guess the San Gabriel River Trail is next!
My wife thinks I'm crazy for doing all of this, but her thinking that I'm crazy isn't anything new.
Keep those updates coming!
December 16, 2007
Rolling, Rolling on the Rivers: Santa Ana River Bicycle Trail 1
Welcome to the latest of my journeys to report on the joys of bicycling along three of the mightiest rivers in Southern California! (Rolling, Rolling on the Rivers: An Introduction.)
This ride covered over 80 miles, and needed 2 trips to complete because I kept stopping to take pictures and notes, pass out Cycling Dude Flyers, and to talk with other users of the trail.
This ride is a joy to take, from top to bottom, in either direction, and you will learn a lot about the communities it passes through, and about the environment.
However, if there is 1 question, the answer to which makes this ride so special, it is this one:
Answering this question is the first step toward completing the last leg of the ride and makes all that you experienced getting to that point worth the time and effort.
At the end of this series is a discussion of getting to and from (Link to come!) but, for now, let's hit the road.
The Santa Ana River Bike Trail begins on the north side of the river, at the border of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach and there are 2 entrances: 1 on the East side of Pacific Coast Highway, 1 on the beach side.
At the south end of the beach there is ample parking and restrooms.
Entering the trail from the parking lot, at 630am I take one last look at the ocean waves, head under PCH, cross the officially marked start of the trail and pedal off into the sunrise.
At 1 1/2 miles the ocean water begins to resede and yet birds of all persuasions still can be seen hanging out, doing whatever it is birds do, in the river.
At 2.46 mi. the trail crosses a bridge to the other side of the river.
At 4 1/4 mi. I encounter the "Next Great Tennis Phenom"!
What an idiot! Behold the the dumbest person I encounter the whole trip, practicing his swing. ;-D
When I tell him that playing tennis in this spot was not safe, for him, or for others, he just stares at me, says "oh, yeah?" and returns to whacking his ball.
The concrete channel is master for miles, in this part of the OC, except for a couple of accomodations before reaching Fullerton.
By 9 1/4 miles, when I pass 5th Street and see the homeless encampment and its many bicycles, on the other side of the river, I have passed housing, businesses and a couple of schools.
All along here I find the first indication of the nice landscaping along the trail.
Having alreading encountered a few cyclists along the way, including a couple of chaps named Ralph and Billy, I was now beginning to encounter Group Rides.
The groups of spandex clad riders ranged from 3 cyclists to as many as 15 and I saw the last of them as I left Santa Ana and headed into Anaheim.
They were traveling too fast for a picture, but I had time for a smaller group bringing up the rear, at at more leisurely 12-15.
Why a group like the first one would choose to speed along the river trail is a mystery to me.
The risk is always there for disaster.
Not only do you have idiots like the tennis player, there are the occasional homeless on the trail side of the river and on weekends, near the soccer fields, kids playing on the trail and in the river, especially at the underpasses.
At 10 1/2 mi. I cross the river again, on a bridge to the west side, and hang out for a while riding alongside Ma Nature as she plays a round of Golf in the river, for a mile or so, at River View Golf Course. ;-D
It is now around 8am and the last 3 groups of riders pass me by.
Along the way I've had several chances to pass out flyers about this blog to cyclists, including a group forming up near the golf course.
As I leave the golf course behind and pass Anaheim Stadium and Honda Center, I realize that the river, now with the flow heading south, has dirt, rocks, and other natural and manmade left overs from the rainy season.
At just over 14 mi., at Katella, the trail crosses the river again to the east side, at a small park, and there is a bathroom (But be careful as sometime homless hang out at a nearby bench.).
Flowing water, flowery weeds and bushes now appear in the river as I pass industrial outposts on my right before homes return.
This area is a prime hangout for birds of all persuasions (Notice the ones playing "Follow the leader" on the left. They were very intent on leaving the crowd that was assembled (Mostly out of camera view.) on the right behind.)
At 17 mi. the trail becomes lined with trees for a while.
At 21 1/2 mi. the trail returns to the north side of the river, just beyond Imperial Highway.
Just before the crossing I met a nice Hispanic couple out for a ride and had my picture taken. ;-D
At 22 1/2 mi. the river is really flowing, the freeway is on your right and Yorba Regional Park is on your left.
Just beyond the Weir Canyon underpass the trail goes left and up a short hill, out of the river, to turn right alongside La Palma Ave.
It is 930am now and I have traveled 24 miles.
I find myself on street level for a bit because Ma Nature has taken over the river completely, then the trail gets close to the river again, with the street above me to my left.
At 26 3/4 mi. I come to Gypsum Canyon Rd.
Cyclists interested in continuing into Riverside County take note of that little brown sign on the wall in the picture: Turn right, here, because to go under the bridge and continue on the trail will lead somewhere else.
Turn right, ride to the corner, and turn right again.
Following the green signs, to the right, the trail enters Canyon RV Park, then heads into a narrow passage where the freeway is on my right, and the east end of Featherly Regional Park, on my left.
The last leg of the Orange County portion of the Santa Ana River Trail heads past the Coal Canyon entrance to Chino Hills State Park, and Green River Golf Club.
Take a good look around because this is the last sight of the flowing river that you will see for almost 15 miles.
The trail official ends at 29 mi., at the entrance to Green River Golf Club on Green River Rd., but my odometer reads 30.
It is 1030am and I exit the trail, to my right, and ride up, up, up Green River Rd. back into civilization.
December 02, 2007
Cycling yes, but also a Velodrome in the Orange County Great Park?
Marine Corp Air Station El Toro, in Irvine CA., closed in 1999, in 2002 the Feds decided to sell the land at auction and the Department of the Navy sold the property on February 16, 2005 to the winning bidder, Lennar Corporation, for $649 million.
As a condition of the sale of the property, Lennar Corporation signed a Development Agreement that deeded 1,347 acres to the City of Irvine for the Orange County Great Park and agreed to pay an additional $200 million for future development and maintenance of the Park.
Ever since all sorts of discussions, debates, public surveys, design developement and more has been going on.
The Orange County Great Park Plan will provide a wide array of active and passive uses, including a 2.5 mile canyon and lake, miles of walking and biking trails, a cultural terrace, Orange County's largest sports park, a botanical garden, and a tethered helium observation balloon that will be an icon for the Great Park. More than 3,885 of the 4,700 acres will be dedicated to open space, education, and other public uses.
Here is a look at the Preliminary Master Plan.
The Park will include an extensive trail network with connections to adjacent multi-use trails and bikeways, such as the Mountains to the Sea Trail.
I recently received word of the latest chance for residents of Orange County to express their thoughts on the process and what sorts of facilities residents would like to see in the park.
Would a Velodrome be a good fit for the Sports Complex part of the park?
I do not know, but if there are any local cyclists reading this there is an excellent online survey available from yesterday, thru the 8th, in which you can express your thoughts about cycling options for the park (I just took it myself.).
If you have a chance to do so there is the latest in Public Open Houses going on this weekend at the site where you can...
Meet the Great Park Design Team and give them your feedback on programs related to:
Sports and Recreation Festivals and Events
Ecology and Nature Historic Preservation
Cultural and Social Institutions and Activities
You can learn more and keep abreast of developements at the official website, which I will be adding to the side bar.