December 17, 2007

Rolling, Rolling on the Rivers: Santa Ana River Bicycle Trail 3

The resumption of my ride began with a bang, or was that a PHWAP!...SSSSSS?

I hopped the bus back in to Riverside, turned left out of the Transit Depot, pedaled the mile back up Mission Inn Ave./Mission Blvd., and turned left into the parking lot of Carson Dog Park , below Mt. Rubidoux, where the Santa Ana River Bicycle Trail waited for me to resume my journey to the mountains from the Mission Blvd. underpass.

San_ri24The parking lot is bumpy going for a bike with my type of tires, and I realized that I should have entered the Bike Trail on the opposite side of the street from the park when I discovered my rear tire suddenly had a flat.

It's 815am and after a few cranks of my Bicycle Pump I come to the unwelcome conclusion that I had a problem on my hands. ;-D

In the past I would have done one of 2 things: Walk my bike to the nearest bus stop, head into downtown Riverside looking for a bike shop opening at 9 or 10am, or pack it in, and dejectedly head on home.

Not THIS time! I am PREPARED!

I had that Repair Kit I  had recently put together and it was time to suck it up and show what I was made of!

Remembering how the guy at the REI in Huntington Beach had removed and replaced the tube without taking the tire off the wheel, I struggled to duplicate the feat, fighting an ultimately winning battle using patience and a tire lever to replace the tube.

During this desperate 30 minute struggle I get a passing young lady to take a photo for posterity. ;-D

Tube pumped and tire ready to be returned to its proper position... I look in puzzlement at the chain:

How did it go again? ;-D

As I stand there worriedly scratching my head I see 2 cyclists approach on the trail, and flag them down.

With the help of Ralph and Billy I soon have everything back in place and all is right with the world again, and by 915am I am ready to get the back on the road.

First I eat a sandwich and some fruit for breakfast, saving my trail mix and 2 other sandwiches, for later (Just as I had done when I rode the 1st 55.13 miles days earlier.).

San_ri25 Continuing my journey (Late comers can saddle up here!) along one of the three great rivers of Southern California I prepare to head off through Riverside, into Colton and San Bernardino, in San Bernardino County, where the Bike Trail ends 9.85 miles later.

My ride was only just beginning, though, as I was not about to let the end of the Official Trail stop me from reaching the mountains.

The powers that be are slowly devising plans to eventually take the western trail through Prado to connect with the orange County section (Presumably on the north side of the Green River Golf Club, thru the Chino Hills State Park, and also extend the trail east from Waterman to the mountains, but in the mean time cyclist have to use an alternate route to go east.

After 2 1/2 miles, passing a golf course and some new housing, on my right, I come to an "off ramp" (Signs pointing to the nearby street.) at Riverside Ave. and the county line/Riverside City Limits.

Passing the turn-off I enter Colton and soon the urban landscape is left behind again as Mother Nature is master of all she surveys.


At 59.13 mi. (Even though this is a resumption of my journey, the mileage will reflect the distance as if I had never stopped.) I pass a nice little picnic area placed smack dab in the middle of the much widened river bed.

There's not a porta-potty in sight, which is more than passing strange if you ask me (As if the placement of a picnic table in a flood prone area wasn't strange enough!). ;-D


The trail and river pass a huge waste dump, on my right, and I can see Big Bear Mountain in the distance.

At this point let me explain about 2 oddities you may have noticed in the pictures so far.

That pole is a hiking pole with a camera mount, in case I could not find someone to take pictures of me. ;-D

And, yes, I changed shirt. I forgot to use the same shirt, as before, to preserse the illusion of continuity. ;-D

San_ri28Between the picnic area and the end of the trail there are several benches and trash cans and even another couple of picnic tables, though not in the river.

At 64.13 mi., after passing under a railroad track and the various interchanges where the 10 and 215 freeways meet, I find myself in  the south end of the city of San Bernardino.

Mother Nature's running rampant again and this stretch is apparently a playground for sex-crazed  Mosquitos judging by the signs, posted on the fence, advising the prudish that the county  is "Monitoring for Mosquito Breeding".

I don't know which is the odder image passing through my peculiar little brain:

1. Millions of horny bugs engaged in a non-stop orgy of, um, procreation.


2. A handful of Government Snoops lasciviously spying on said orgy.

Shield the kiddies, as you pedal by, just in case. ;-D

San_ri29 On my right civilization returns, with industrial parks, and I encounter walkers and cyclists on the trail.

At 65 mi. the exisiting Santa Ana River Bicycle Trail ends at Waterman Ave., and across the street is a sign:


Santa Ana  River Channel

San Timoteo Weed Abatement and Re-vegitation Project.

US Army Engineers District.

Cyclists now have a choice to make:

1. Head to the nearest light, cross over, and head north into downtown San Bernardino where Omnitrans Busses and Metrolink Trains await:

North on Waterman, left on Orange Show Rd., right on E St. to 4th Street Transit Mall ( The final chapter of this series discusses transit options.).

2. Turn right, heading down Waterman to Washington St. where you can catch the Riverside Transit #25 westbound to the Downtown Riverside Transit Terminal Via Barton Rd.


3. Do as I do, and take to the surface streets, near the river, and continue on to the base of the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Bernardino National Forest, home of mighty Big Bear.

If you choose #3, then follow me! Things are about to get REALLY interesting. ;-D

At 1130am I turn right onto Waterman Ave. and, shortly, left on Redlands Blvd..

On Redlands, to the west of the intersection, are some fast food joints if you are hungry, or need to go potty: Go ahead, I'll wait. ;-D

San_ri30 Ok, ready? Great! ;-D

Heading east on Redlands Blvd. I briefly pass through the northern reaches of Loma Linda before entering Redlands when I turn left onto California St..

At around 68 mi., as I ride along Redlands Blvd., I begin to realize that "city" is not entirely an apt description of what I find as I head into the cities of Redlands and Mentone.

Fast food joints soon give way to an Orange Grove, one that will soon be partially destroyed to make room for a new Elementary School.

There is a lot of open land out here and a lot of developement of prime locations, for housing and business projects, is going on where ever you look.

I remember riding through here in the 1970's, on the bus to Redlands and Yucaipa, and seeing little urban developement.

After the left at California St., passing Pharaoh's Kingdom Adventure Park, an ill-fated attempt at an Amusement Park that was open for many misbegotten years before finally closing its 17 acres full of rides, race car tracks, golf courses, water slides, laser tag area, an amphitheatre for concerts, and more, and a right on to San Bernardino Ave., I am again surrounded by industrial parks and some open land.

Watch for 18 wheelers, here, as they run rampant through these parts!

San_ri31 After just over 69 1/2 miles, across from another orchard, is a church with a bookstore/cafe, and nearby school.

The Packing House is a non-denominational church, with a large following, and its small Christian Bookstore and cafe is a very nice place to stop for nutritional and spiritual nourishment.

The store opens at 8am daily, except Saturday when it opens at 5pm, and closes at 5pm, except on Sun, Wed. and Sat.(9pm) and Friday (Noon).

After a short left on Alabama St. and a right on to Pioneer Ave. I now find myself on a narrow road, past more orchards, before entering an area of redlands with a combination of old and new housing.

The Santa Ana River can be glimpsed to the north as I make my way through the neighborhood.

San_ri32 At 73.63 mi. I finally have a clear view of the foothils below Big Bear, to the east, and the mountains above the eastern end of the city of Highland.

See that large R on the side of the mountain, in the upper right of the picture?

That's Mount R, hee, hee. ;-D

Every year, in March, Univ. of Redlands students, staff, alumni and members of the Redlands community make the annual trek up to "Mount R" to assist in the clearing away of debris and brush on the collegiate letter "R."

There is a story, here, that is almost 100 years old and pride, plus a sense of history, school spirit and duty, led future generations to do something to maintain this majestic legacy.

The Redlands "R" is believed to be one of the largest collegiate letters in the nation, standing approximately 500 feet tall and 350 feet wide. The R was engineered in 1913, only six years after Redlands was founded, when a group of freshmen (class of 1916) hiked up the mountain to build their dream-a huge "R" to announce to the entire valley the pride they felt in their school.

The freshmen were apparently having lunch on the front lawn of the Administration Building when someone came up with the idea of building a letter on the side of a nearby mountain. The mountain chosen, Mount Harrison, was later found to be inaccessible-residents near the mountain did not like the idea of college students tramping regularly through the area. So another mountain was selected, although it was a bit farther away from the campus. The freshman gathered a group together, and over the course of three different three-day trips managed to put a recognizable "R" on the side of the mountain. During the following year, another group of freshmen were sent up the mountain led by brave sophomores (the freshmen of the original party) to burn the entire "R" area. The burning of the brush completed the "R."

Continuing in the spirit of the class of 1916, a requirement for all entering freshmen was a trip to the "R" for an annual cleanup. The university's yearbook "La Letra" was even named in honor of the "R" in Spanish for "the letter."

From about 1960 to 1983 the area was neglected and tradition nearly forgotten.

Then, in 1984, freshman Greg Horn became interested in the tradition of the "R" and decided to bring the symbol back to its original state, thus bringing new life to an old tradition.

When the university turned 100 last spring the R was made to glow at night.

Some might say residents and former residents are "Mad About Redlands", but that's a matter of opinion best left to Psychologists and the jealous. ;-D


After more groves and some open spaces Pioneer becomes Sessumes Dr. and passes tiny Redlands Municipal Airport, on my left, arriving at Wabash Ave., in the outskirts of Redlands.

I turn right on Wabash Ave. and shortly turn left onto State Route 38/Mentone Blvd. .

It is 130pm, I have traveled 76.13 mi., and find myself entering Mentone.

As I ride through Mentone, passing retail and homes, I visit the first of 2 historic businesses in the city.

The place is a relative youngster, compared to the second establishment, and can't even claim the longest residency on the highway but, for a bookworm like me, it is a fascinating place to visit.


As the website explains:

In 1931, a man nailed a hand painted sign to the side of his building advertising quality bookbinding.  He had learned the secrets of hand bookbinding from a Swiss craftsman.  And the story and service of the Book Craftsman began...

Your books, Bibles and special memories are meticulously restored by a team of old world craftsman working in a specially-equipped shop.  The historic building we work in reminds us that our craft -- of carefully binding books by hand -- is a dying art.

The Book Craftsman has been featured on NBC, ABC, Fox TV and Access America, and their Content Policy may give some folks fits (I say, good for them!), but before you judge them for their values, judge the quality of their work.

Restoring books, some centuries old, are their specialty, and they take a special interest in Family Bibles (Wonderful slide show!) .

They also do binding for more modern literary needs, including those of the self publisher, as well.

I stood there, in awe, looking at some very, very, old books they had restored and put on display.

I got back on my bike and continued on my journey.

(Continue to the action, and info, packed final leg!)

December 17, 2007 in Riding Riverside County, Riding San Bernardino County | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 16, 2007

Rolling, Rolling on the Rivers: Santa Ana River Bicycle Trail 2

Continuing my journey (Late comers can saddle up here!) along one of the three great rivers of Southern California I find myself heading into the urban landscape of Corona, as I leave Orange County behind.

I also leave the river itself behind, for almost 15 miles, as I am forced to navigate the streets of Corona and Norco, in the west end of Riverside County.

I ride up Green River Rd. to where it travels next to the Corona Expressway and the 91 frwy.

At the top, where I turn right, there are a Jack in the Box and a Taco Bell, thus the all important bathrooms! ;-D

At 31.85 mi., with hillside homes on my right, the 91 and a glimpse of the Prado Dam Spillway ( The Dam is actually along the 71, to the north, and Prado Regional Park is way over on the San Bernardino County side of that.), on my left, I ride along Green River until turning left at Palisades Dr..

At 33.57 mi. I leave the nice bike-laned stretches behind for a bit, and turn left onto Serfas Club Dr., passing through residential West Corona on a downhill that goes under the 91, past a McDonalds and In & Out, as Serfas becomes Auto Center Dr..

After passing the Metrolink Station/Riverside Transit Depot, I turn right onto Railroad St., left on Smith Ave. and left onto Rincon St..

To get to Rincon I ride a clearly marked bike lane (There are even white bikes, with arrows, painted into the pavement!) passing through several industrial parks and past a park.

Butterfield Park is on the corner of Butterfield Stage Dr., a short paved road paying tribute to a bit of history (Southern Stage Rte. ran through area between 1858 and 1861. The last part of the Bike Trail out of the OC, from Weir Canyon, and Green River Rd. match part of the route.), that deadends near the Corona Municipal Airport.


Rincon Rd.  is a narrow road through a portion of the Prado Flood Control Basin, just east of the Santa Ana River, a stretch that is closed to traffic (Bars across the road at each end.) during heavy rains that cause flooding.

Rincon becomes Corydon St. and continues out of Corona by crossing River Rd.


Corydon winds its way through the west side of Norco and into what feels like another world in many respects.

I immediately am made aware of the differences by the fact that there is no sidewalk in sight, and there is a sign that warns of a $125 fine for parking "on the trail". ;-D

San_ri13To put it bluntly: There is an aweful lot of horsin' around in this city. ;-D

That's why it is called Horse Town USA.

Being a Horse Community, they love their Horses here and there are no sidewalks anywhere in town, just Horse Trails.

They even have a Posse, so behave yourself as you ride through. ;-D

As Corydon moseys on its way through the hills, becoming Norco Dr., I see that many people have corrals and barns for their animals and as I pass Norco Fire Station 1, at 5th St., I see a parking lot/staging area that leads to some hiking and Horse trails along the Santa Ana River.

San_ri14Norco Dr. becomes 6th St., at Hamner and I ride through the heart of downtown.

As I look across the intersection, toward the Starbucks, (McDonalds, and Jack in the Box are also nearby.), there is a hint of the River in the distance.

I have travelled 41.25 mi.

Yes, there are fast food joints, at first, but as I ride throught Old Town Norco the fact that there are no sidewalks is a reminder that the city is different.

In this town if any cyclists even dare to ride on the trails they must be on Mountain Bikes. ;-D

All the Shopping Centers are over on Hamner, to the south, and soon I am heading toward the east side of the city.

San_ri15 Just before I turn left, at California Ave., and head into another residential area, I see the exemplary example of parking facilities businesses have if your mode of transport is something other than a car. ;-D

Riding along California I encounter what must pass for rush hour Horse traffic, around these parts, as I a pass several groups of riders.

I ask one group about the entrance to the Bike Trail and hit the jackpot.

The 1 guy in the group told me exactly where to go, saying that he had even made it all the way to Big Bear on Horseback once.

I pedal on and turn right at North Dr. (Palm Trees on the right!), which soon becomes Arlington Ave..

As I climb up the hill, past Crestlawn Memorial Park Cemetary, on my left I can finally see the Santa Ana River again... and Chino, Ontario, Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga and the majestic San Gabriel Mountains.

San_ri16 Just past the Cemetary, on the right and hard to miss, is the entrance to the Hidden Valley Wildlife Reserve, a 1500-acre reserve stretching along nearly 5 miles of the Santa Ana River between Riverside and Norco.

It is here, at the 44.90 mi. point of my journey, that I return to the Santa Ana River Bicycle Trail.

It is 130pm by now and what I came to call the "Back to Nature" portion of the journey is about to begin.

It is this section that will give you a Bikeasm, if you haven't had one by now, that warm and fuzzy feeling you get inside from having experienced a very special cycling experience.

After an exhilirating downhill I come to a fork in the trail: Go left and you head down into the riverbed to an eventual dead end to the west, so I stay on the straight-away.


Mother Nature is in total control of the environment here.

The paved trail briefly ends, but soon starts up again after a brief dip and climb.

Where the pavement ends is a rest stop/viewing area and here I meet Mike and his 2 young sons, on their own cycling adventure.


The river, in all its natural glory, has come from those mountains in the distance and that is where I am headed.

Along this first stretch I share the trail with walkers and Horseback Riders, but other than those few encounters there is nothing out here but me and the river.

After winding its way past a staging area for Horseback Riders that also has a collection of Bike Racks and a Porta Potty (Not for the Horses, so don't worry!) this only recently opened new stretch of the River Trail joins an older section and turns left at 47 1/2 miles.

At this spot, near Jurupa Ave. and Tyler St., are 4 Bike Racks.

This is a nice bail out point, if needed, as Tyler will take you south to the Galleria Mall, and Bus Connections.

Along the Riverside/San Bernardino trail you will encounter a few bollards (rigid posts that can be arranged in a line to close a road or path to vehicles above a certain width.), but they are easy to navigate past, so be watchful of the trail ahead of you,

Area Cyclists have led a campaign to rid the trail of them completely, but some still remain.


At just over 49 miles the trail goes under Van Buren Ave., but you have to first walk your bike around a fence just past the turn you see in the backround of the above photo.

San_ri20 Now, as I pass the water reclamation plant on my right and the heavily vegitated river on my left I find myself on a really old stretch of the trail.

By now I have been in Riverside for quite some time.

That Municipal pipe in the picture takes water from the relamation plant to the communities on the other side of the river.

It is so peaceful to ride along the trail, with little sign of the urban world  to distract you from the fun of the ride.

This whole area of river, from Norco to near downtown Riverside, is part of the Santa Ana River Wildlife Area.


Just before reaching Martha MClean-Anza Narrows Park I ride under a very old bridge across which a railroad track travels.

This walking/cycling trail filled park is on an historical piece of ground:

It is part of the Juan Bautista Anza National Historic Trail.

Both Anza expeditions crossed the river here, and it was the New Year's Eve campsite for the 1775-76 expedition. Riverside County Regional Parks offers two Anza-related sites. The Camp #59 and river crossing sites are both within the Martha McLean-Anza Narrows Park (5759 Jurupa Ave.) in Riverside. At their Jensen-Alvarado Historic Ranch and Museum (4307 Briggs St. off Rubidoux Blvd.), living history programs describe how Anza expedition descendants lived.

Because of my love of history this is just one more reason why I absolutely love the Santa Ana River Trail: Your body isn't the only thing getting a workout, so does your brain. ;-D


Passing the park the trail becomes secluded again for a while until, at 53.79 mi. it goes right on an abandoned street a short distance, then turns left back on track.

This can be a tricky maneuver, in either direction, as the surprise of 1 cyclist I encountered, miles later, indicated, when I explained how he could actually go beyond the point he thought was the end of the westbound trail.


At 55.13 mi. I reach Carson Dog Park, at the Mission Blvd. underpass, at the majestic Mt. Rubidoux.

It is almost 4pm and needing to be sure of catching a bus back to Orange County I call a halt to my ride just in front of the yellow "8ft." sign next to the Dog Park fence.

It, and the fact the coller of the pavement changes there, makes it an easy reference point for tracking my mileage on my return a week later.

I exit the trail, turn right, and pedal a mile into downtown Riverside to the Bus Depot on Mission Blvd./Mission Inn Ave., spend an hour for dinner, at a nearby Carl's Jr., to the south a few blocks, on Market St., then catch the bus.

Continue on to Part 3!

December 16, 2007 in Riding Riverside County | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

April 14, 2005

Are Cyclists risking harrassment in Riverside Co.?

I had intended that my first report about bicycling in Riverside County, California, would be of a glorious ride around the Temecula Wine Country, to be later followed by rides around Lake Elsinore, Perris, Riverside and other such wonders the county had to offer that I could reach by carting my trusty steed on the bus.

But I had to postpone my ride from March to next month.

Now comes word of activities that are of grave concern for any bicyclist, local, or tourist, who wants to ride around the county.

Jim Baross, of CABO ( Ca. Ass. of Bicycle Organizations ), has spread the word about what has been happening to some Riverside cyclists he is helping.

Like him, I ask you, especially my fellow Southern Californians who may have experience bicycling in the region, to read the following message and, If you can contribute/help, please do.

Publicizing this story is my small contribution.

Now, meet Frank Neal...

Riverside County Cycling:

Hello to All who have cycled in Riverside County,

Riverside County, CA., is a cycling mecca.

However, cyclists seem to experience some harassment from motorists, and residents, while cycling in this area. Most recently, during the Hemet Double Century, cyclists experienced everything from loose dogs, to paint balls, to pellet guns.

I have begun conversations with several California Cycling Advocacy Groups after my friend, Clem Bartolai, was hit in the face by a paint ball on Florida Ave./Highway 74 in Hemet.


If you have experienced harassment while cycling in Riverside County,

please contact us with the following information:

Your Name
Date of the incident
Location of the incident
The facts of the Incident
Results of the Incident/Injuries?
Did you get any description of who caused it: license number, description of vehicle and occupants?
Did you call the Police?
What were the results of the Police report?

You do not have to be injured to respond. Yelling, honking, buzzing, brushing, ducking flying objects and the infamous "bird" all count!

If you are a regular rider in Riverside County, and you experience any/all of these on a regular basis, and are willing to be interviewed; include your name and contact info without the specifics.

We'll contact you!

Send info to: Frank Neal, email: Cycleman"@" Delete the quotation marks (" ") from the email address when you add it to your address book.

Thanks for your prompt rely.

- Frank Neal, "Garfield, the Kickstand Guy". Oh yeah: CalTripleCrown "Hall of Fame"

This IS serious, folks. No joke...

This is as good a place as any to introduce NEW readers, of this blog, to an old piece of mine, originally written in response to harassment I once experienced, and published, to little response, in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, in San Bernardino County, Ca., a region north of Riverside County.


April 14, 2005 in Riding Riverside County | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 21, 2004

Riding Riverside County

In 2002, I rode my bike south, from Ontario Mills Mall to Lake Elsinore, in Riverside County.

It was an enjoyable ride of over 40 miles that I plan on taking again, and writing about here.

If anyone has suggestion for routes that I should explore and write about, send me an e-mail, and let me know.

March 21, 2004 in Riding Riverside County | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack