Archive for November 19th, 2010|Daily archive page

hollywood, hollywood

In all about the ride, los angelenos, stateside on November 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm

So been here a day already I’m enjoying it more than I did Miami. As strange and bizarre as it may seem, I am staying in west Hollywood, just round the corner from Hollywood boulevard and manns Chinese theatre, and the walk of stars, and sunset boulevard and if I walk down the road a couple more blocks I can see the Hollywood sign high up on the hill.

I’ve been out on the road on the bike and as noted previously when riding round Buenos Aires grid systems don’t provide for the most stimulating or exciting of rides. But at least Los Angeles has two-way traffic which means you can turn left as well as right, and jumping across three lanes of traffic is much less intimidating than trying to get across five. But the roads in l.a are atrocious, riding by the kerb is just treacherous as the tarmac is folded and rippled and churned to shit, so much so it’s like riding over cobbles, disappointed that l.a hasn’t produced a Paris-roubaix winner after that experience, I was gripping the bars so hard my hands ached and I’d have to clench and unclench them to try and work it out.

Felt like I rode forever, whilst trying to find Orange 20, headed down Hollywood boulevard until it angled off and I turned onto Vermont, then took a right onto Melrose until I hit heliotrope and found orange 20. Then went back onto Vermont and headed south until I hit Wilshire, turned right onto Wilshire and rode down it for a long long time, passing through koreatown, past the contemporary arts museum and the la brea tar pits. Finally get to Fairfax and took another right and rode up a slight incline for another long period of time until I crossed sunset, took another right and headed back towards the hostel. My legs feel weak and my stomach is now full of pasta and I want to take a nap. But today has been a good day.

The hollywood hills, rise up, just over there, and its weird to be able to see that really iconic sign, suppose that’s how american tourists feel when they head into the center of town and see big ben and the houses of parliament. I’m going to get up there and have a look around at some point, as it doesn’t seem to be that far away from the hostel at all.

Took my chance to grab some authentic mexican food as soon as I was out on the bike, grabbed a burrito and some quesadilla’s over on the edge of los feliz/echo park at this corner shack. To say it was delicious would be an understatement. It was very good. Thick and chunky and filling and all the spicy things mexican food should be. Not sure whether whilst I’m here that I’m just going to eat mexican food, but I may give it the good old college try.

My hostel is just off hollywood boulevard and I spend some time walking along the walk of stars, and I’m walking for blocks and blocks, motherfucker is long yo! But I get excited about all the names I see, so many stars, literally and figuratively, old names, forgotten names, and heroic names, lying in the street for you to walk over, doing the tourist thing of walking along staring at the ground, the bipolar opposite of what you do when you’re in new york which i stare up into the sky looking at the skyscrapers which claw like dead fingers into the wild blue…

orange 20

In all about the ride, bike, los angelenos, stateside, travelling on November 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Been in Hollywood for a couple of days and decide I need to find some bike shops, hopefully where the staff aren’t dicks, and a friend who I met in Brazil has told me about Orange 20 which isn’t that far away from where I’m staying.

So ride down to it, across the bumpy, cracked tarmacadam, with the large buses, and cars strangely enough giving me quite a wide berth, and discover that the guy who does trackosaurus Rex, who was super cool and was arranging for me to go and have a look at swrve’s (cycling clothing manufacturer) office space, runs the shop, or is one of the bods who runs the shop.

Orange 20 is a cool not so little store that is down on Heliotrope, opposite the bike kitchen, which was closed when I was down there, but I’m going to go back as I hear they have a very good bike map of Los Angeles and at this point in time that is what I really need.

Orange 20 felt like a bigger version of Brixton cycles, cool staff willing to answer your questions without any attitude, interesting selection of bikes and bits, obviously more track than geared, young men coming in with their bikes to be repaired or buy parts, or just joke and laugh with the staff. It’s good to be back amongst bikes and bike people.

Grabbed a couple of t-shirts, some caps, and hung out for a little while. They also let me know about a track day for Fast Friday which was happening out in Encino, on the weekend, and the critical mass that was happening on the friday. All in all, I had a lovely time there, and was well fucking stoked to have found it.


In miami, stateside, travelling on November 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm

So apart from riding the bike and going to a couple of less than stellar club nights in Miami Beach, the only other thing I do is head out on a tour to the glades. Where the water is everywhere and the green fronds bend but don’t break, and alligators sit with only their eyes and nostrils above the waterline, waiting.

Ever since Miami Vice I’ve wanted to travel on one of those propeller driven flat-bottomed boats, with the driver high up back there, moving those long, long controls. So I pays my money and get driven out in a truck full of old folk, along long straight, non winding highways to a large roadside cafe beside what looks like a creek. The roadside cafe/diner has an extensive souvenir shop attached and there are a myriad of alligator/Everglades/Miami related tat available for purchase.

We wait around whilst another tour group is called out to the dock and I try not to be too impatient for the whole thing to get started.

Then we’re walking down to the propeller boat and being loaded aboard. four or five abreast, and the boat is being wound up, the propeller howling behind us and we’re off.

The driver guide is a laconic man, whose jokes feel as well-worn as the handle of an old man’s umbrella from a very wet country. They spill out of him one after another, some are amusing, most raise a chuckle from the majority. But I can’t help but feel that he’s regurgitating the same jokes over and over again, so much so that even he’s bored by the setup and punch lines he’s producing. Wonder whether he needs to take a break, go away and come back with some more material. If he was a stand up, he’d never get away with his schtick.

We whizz down the greenlined waterways, blue sky above, tree branches, overhanging the water, whistling close by, until we float to a stop to inspect the alligators, weeny ones that lurk on the edges. Oohs and aah’s are elicited as they are pointed out and we peer into the shadows by the water’s edge to see if we can spot them.

One european woman, I think she is German but can’t be sure, is adamant that the alligators are fake. The boat driver is unimpressed with this supposition, and bats away the idea, but she won’t let it go, and then he won’t let it go, starting off each sighting with a note that it’s probably fake.

The little critters move swiftly when disturbed, and a couple drift right up to the edge of the boat, hands that want to reach out, are quickly admonished to keep themselves inboard. But the urge to ¬†waft your hands through the surging wake still rises…