Archive for the ‘los angelenos’ Category


In leaving, los angelenos, san fran, stateside, west coast on December 6, 2010 at 8:39 am

So I decided early on in the planning stages to make the west coast part of the journey include a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway, the 1, which imaginatively runs along the Pacific Coast, from LA to San Francisco.

It had been recommended by a couple of friends and it was something I felt I had to do. Obviously I’d have loved to have done it in an open-topped convertible, big muscle car engine, wind across my bald scalp, big beats spilling out of the ride. But needs must and funds were drawing tight. So I opted for a ford focus, nice engine, air-conditioned, lots of boot space, and the pre requisite of a cable to connect iPod to the stereo.

Drove down with a friend, who’d travelled over from New York to join the road trip from LA to San Fran, where’d we be spending some time with long-lost west coast friends, and spent the first part of the day, listening to the first of the world cup quarter finals, as we made the slightly torturous way out of Venice Beach to get to the PCH proper.

The drive was going to be split, across two days, as we were booked into a hotel in wonderfully wooded Big Sur. My only plan for the following day was to be in a town with a TV showing Spain vs Germany in the morning, grabbing breakfast during the game and finishing off the drive to San Francisco by the early afternoon.

So lets not pussy foot about, LA was still swathed in the grey june gloom, making everything look flat and tepid. But you know what it didn’t make a difference. The PCH winds around some of the most beautiful coastline, ups and downs, moving from a dual carriageway, into a single lane either way as you clawed up the cliff side, with vegetation brushing the passenger door as a lane away the ground dropped away tumbling into the ocean, whose waters were a roilingboiling grey.

The Focus was an automatic and all I had to do was step on the gas and then on the break, piss easy. But the steep climbs and descents and following drivers who were constantly riding the brake, when their was no need, meant you had to be more alert than I initially thought I’d needed to be. And the ever present cliff side sliding away to the left was enough to concentrate the mind.

The whole drive reminded me of the drive I’d done previously in New Zealand, down the west coast of the south island. New Zealand was more jaw droppingly beautiful and savagely vibrant, than this one, the greens, blues and grays punishingly pure and clean, even through the rains that swelled and slapped on the roof, the windscreen, the bonnet. Here on this west coast the vertical challenges of the route were just as interesting, just as visually fulfilling, even if the landscape wasn’t as saturated with colour.

Pulled into Big Sur, fairly drained, without actually realising how draining it had been, took a shower, managed to grab something to eat, even though pretty much everything in the vicinity of the hotel closed at ten, and slept the sleep of the just.

Woke up bright and early and set out to find a Carmel, Clint Eastwood’s old fiefdom, which was an hour or so down the road, and driving round the picturesque place for a couple of minutes, searching for parking whilst simultaneously trying to see if I could spy a sign heralding the world cup being shown somewhere. Found a car park without too much trouble and then headed off to find the TV and food, giving me a chance to have a quick look at Carmel.

Carmel is one of those sleepy, quaint towns, one of those places which has some sort of heritage committee to keep it clean and pretty, and everyplace up to spec. Walking round it and the signs for the shops and eateries, made me aware of how constricting growing up in a place like this could be. Obviously I was just roaming through the pretty shopping district that made up its heart, where the tourists who’d travelled down the PCH would stop off and water and buy artifacts of their time on the road, and enjoy the prettiness of it, the cultured manneredness of it. I on the other hand found it a mite artificial.

But I wasn’t looking for a home away from home, I was looking for the football. Stopped into a place and was pointed up the road in the direction of a couple more establishments. Didn’t find the ones I was told about, but found a diner/restaurant with a big HD screen and an American owner who was rooting for Germany. I was for Spain, as I’d stuck my neck out and predicted them pre tournament even when faced with the scepticism of a west ham fan in new Zealand who’d said this would be Carlo Tevez’s tournament to shine, my faith in Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Torres, Alonso, Fabregas and the rest didn’t falter.

I then proceeded to live and die with the team, the only one apart from two german girls who arrived after half time who had any appreciation or interest in the football.  On a side note it’d been easy enough throughout my time in the states to find somewhere to watch the world cup matches, most bars and diners came equipped with a big screen showing some sort of sport, and I’d been converted in LA to the joys of watching sports in HD, making a nonsense of the inbuilt fear I’d have to spend ages tracking down a small bastion of football fever in the land of gridiron.

So with me yelling, stifling yells, and being alternately stared at, or ignored by the patrons, I managed to get through the match without swearing too much or antagonizing too many disinterested parties, though I like to think that my enthusiasm swayed some of them to see football as an interesting/exciting sport.

So it’s back on the road and we’re heading swiftly onto San Francisco, we’re staying with a friend out in Berkeley and we deviate quickly from the PCH , get a bit lost trying to hit a freeway despite some good directions and then hit proper Freeway madness on the way into the Bay Area. The solitude and singlepath of the PCH is left behind and even though we’re making swifter time, the ducking in and out of traffic around me, reminds me of why I don’t generally enjoy travelling on the shortest routes between places by car.

We slip off the six lanes of highway and into a quieter neighbourhood, the Freeway a high concrete embankment away. And just like that we’re in Berkeley

I Linus, I Linus

In all about the ride, bike, los angelenos, stateside on December 4, 2010 at 9:46 am

So I was riding around down in Venice Beach when I came across asome bikes lined up along the central shopping street, all the frames were set up as single speed or geared hubs, and they looked nice enough. So I popped down the alleyway and lo and behold, found a rather fetching little bike operation, Linus bikes.

Little did I know from speaking to the owner, who was south african or australian, memories a bit vague on that one, that I’d be seeing these bikes up and down the west coast and in new york as well. The simple utilitarian design seems to strike a chord with the cycling masses out here on the left coast, and imagine my delight when I saw the range of Brooks saddles and accessories, and the smiling faces of old cycling friends spread across the catalogues.

So as I do I talked bikes with the owner, discussed the desire for the female populace to have bikes in pink or pastel shades, and generally the state of cycling on the west coast. It was fun, think he’d do a good trade if he exported the bikes to the UK, though not sure he’d make enough money out of it, with the exchange rate and VAT and all..

link to website here

Venice Beach

In los angelenos, stateside, travelling on December 4, 2010 at 9:27 am

So after the low-key trauma that is Vegas, I head back to LA and this time I’m staying down by the coast at Venice Beach. There’s a bike rental/repair place right on the corner, so after I settle into the hostel, I’m outside building the bike up. Intent on getting on it and seeing what else is out down through the sand.

Whats down through the sand is a long winding bike path, which follows the coast, right down to beginning of the PCH, and is populated by skaters, bikers and rollerbladers. I’m enjoying the leisurely nature of the ride, nothing too fast or hectic, just turning the pedals, feeling the coastal breeze on my exposed skin and the warming sun on my shoulders.

It’s all good.

It’s not so good when I wake up the following morning to go and watch the football, Brazil get dumped out by Holland, in an ugly game they should have won, Dunga’s defensive tactics and squad selection leaving him hamstrung when the game starts to slide away from him.

I’d had to leave the bike locked up outside the front of the hostel, as the girl on reception had told me that there was  no place to lock it up inside. It’s the first time this has happened and I’m perturbed but, I’d double locked it, and hoped for the best. So on awakening I’d sneaked a peek at the lamp-post the bike was locked to and fuck yeah, it’s still there, and I’m off to the footie without a fear in my heart. It’s only when I return and have a closer look at the bike do I realise that the seat post, seat, and seat post clamp have been stolen. And its only later as I mutter to myself upstairs that I realise that I can replace everything else easily enough, but just not the good luck charm you may remember me buying in Japan. Which fucks me right off.

I really do want to put my fist through something, and the feeling only gets worse, when I inform the girl on reception about the theft, and she responds that they have access to a secure lock up inside their sister hotel just a couple of blocks down, where I could have left my bike overnight.


I calm myself, and after getting the locations of a couple of bike shops, I wheel the bike down the street to find replacement items, how difficult is it going to be? Well more difficult than I’d originally anticipated. Not so much the seat post, or the seat, which is piss easy to find, it’s the seat post clamp that takes longer, most of the rest of the day longer, especially as I have to push the bike to where I need to be. Because I’m not attempting to ride fixed with no saddle.

Most of the bikes I’ve seen out by Venice Beach have been big unwieldy beach cruisers, curved Schwinn frames and big pneumatic tyres, ugly things, hella ugly things, only good for pootling along at just above walking speed, so it’s no wonder I can’t really find a seat post clamp which is the right size for the travelling bike. I’m still confused by why someone would want to steal my seat post clamp, well why someone would steal my seat and seat post at all. Do they think it will fit their bike? Is it a ruse to make me abandon the bike so they can come back cut the chains and be off with the rest of it? Has someone done it to them and they are returning the favour? Do they think they can sell it for any sort of money?

I’m left shaking my head at this, but the deed has been done and I tramp from one bike shop to another, for the better part of the morning and early afternoon, encountering as I do so some kids on a skateboard and a fixed conversion, which has a weird sized spoked front wheel, which the kid riding it informs me is a wheelchair wheel.

You couldn’t make this shit up.

Finally I find the right sized seat post clamp and with that sorted and seat and seat post angled flat, and at the right height, I’m back in the saddle and rolling again.

The days roll along and as I ride around more I start to like Venice, it’s a bit sweet and sour, oil and water. There’s a definite divide between the beachfront and the vagrancy, down and outism, tourist wanderings and the streets further back and in, where there is a nice neighbourhood feel, kind of bohemian and middle class, it’s quite a contrast. 

I spend some time over at the skatepark down by the beach, watching the kids drop in, with their elbow and knee pads, and the adults, trying to grab some real big air, in their extra long shorts and headphones, stuck deep into their ears. And for my enjoyment their’s a couple of off the peg fixed bikes parked up as well. In my time on the west coast, Pavlovian like the sound of skateboard wheels over concrete, that chukka, chukka, chukka makes me happy. West coast and skateboards become entwined, and the sight of man on a long board leisurely rolling down the street, or a younger dude pushing energetically on a shorter board ollying on and off the kerb, brings a smile to my lips. I even spy a man who has eschewed the board altogether and just straps the trucks to his feet in a kind of minimalist rollerskate way and sidewinders along, legs scissoring to get him going.

Loving the taco trucks, that appear on street corners and outside, bars and clubs late at night, Aram said I should eat as much mexican food as possible, and I’m doing my damnedest, and it is so much better than the stuff we get over in blighty. Weightier, more filling, and infinitely spicier. Each burrito, quesadilla, and taco is a drooling delight. It’s a nice contrast to the kebab shop on the corner that I’m used to, the mobility, the ability to pop up anywhere is great, the food comes to you, rather than you to it. Might see if it’s possible to import the idea into london, would save a shit load on overheads for a start..  

fast friday

In all about the ride, los angelenos, stateside, travelling on December 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm

The boys at Orange 20, tell me about the fast Friday heat that is happening out at a velodrome in Encino. After listening to their instructions about the best way to get there. Writing them down obviously. On the Sunday that it happens I’m grabbing the metro and a bus, which might as well be a metro, for all of its straight line no interaction with other road users course. I shove my bike into the rack on front and sit watching the destinations tick away.

I’ve got to say I do love the bike racks on the front of the buses here. LA is a spread out kinda town, and the buses make it slightly more manageable, for those journeys that are too fucking far you can just dump the bike on the front of the bus and sit back and let the bus take you there. Only problem is that you can only fit three bikes on the racks.

After getting off the bus at my stop, its a leisurely roll through the park, over a  bridge, and then along a dusty track until I get to the velodrome, down a road and behind some fencing. As I roll up and have a quick chat with the organisers a couple of guys from DVS, its pretty quiet. I tell them who I am and they fill me in on whats happening, all the qualifying rounds around the country, leading to one big shootout, for a big amount of cash.

I sit down in the stands take off my shoes and watch the riders roll in, in dribs and drabs. There are some of the guys from Orange 20 so I walk over to the center of the velodrome and have a quick chat with them. Its all very laid back and west coast, seemingly no stress or pressure at all. Even thought there’s a large cash prize at the end for the winner. Whats interesting is the small group of fixed/freestyle riders who are going to be involved in a competition at the same time as the racing which brings together two steadfastly different “scenes” which I’m thinking even as I watch it wouldn’t happen over in london, just a bit too much generational divide to overcome maybe.

My thoughts about the laidback nature of the competition are buried as more riders turn up and their track weaponry unveiled and tweaked for the coming races. Stiff alu dolans, and tubular wheelsets mounted, gearings swapped over and game faces applied. It got serious in a hurry. And as the races start, there are some seriously quick people on track, the rumble of a group of riders flashing past is intoxicating and I’m smiling from ear to ear. This reminds me that I have a track bike for a reason and come next summer I’m going to be doing the same as these boys at Herne Hill whenever I can. I’m going to grit my teeth get down on the drops and push as hard as I can, jump onto a man’s wheel and let him pull me round even as the velocity ratchets up, try and keep pace, until I make that break for the line.

But for now I watch these californians race, the exertion etched in their faces as they slowly spin round on the wind down, cheats heaving, sweat dripping, all raced out, until the next heat, semi, final.

I had a good time, and came out of it with a free t-shirt and a bit of track fix, which I didn’t think I’d get since I’d be missing the track days back home, but it was nice to see how the other side race and compete, even if I couldn’t get on the track and race with them.

critical mass west coast style

In all about the ride, los angelenos, travelling, west coast on December 2, 2010 at 1:27 pm

People are starting to arrive, the trix boys are first, pulling wheelies and keo spins, the crowd as it grows seems to me to be defiantly young. Fixed, single speed is for the young, the flexible, most of the kids are rocking conversions with one piece cranks and rattlecan paintjobs, or a sprawl of stickers. More people come, rocking gears, old school racers, new school racers, girls on mountain bikes. There’s a man with a booming voice from channel 4 news whose interviewing cyclists and the police. He’s older, grey hair, a badly fitting suit, and a female cameraman whose eyes dart over the crowd looking for cutaways and nice shots to fill the spaces of the interviews.

There aren’t many of us when Newsman arrives and he asks me for an interview, I politely decline, then change my mind, as much as I don’t like being in front of camera, having worked in TV for as long as I have, I’m generally not down with being edited and shortened and soundbites cut out of longer responses. But what the hey, I’m on the otherside of the world, whose going to see it that I know. So I answer his fairly mundane questions, the sort of questions that non cyclists generally ask, about danger and risk, and why you want to ride in the first place. All I’m trying to tell him, that riding a bike brings me joy, and I wouldn’t be taking a bike around the world with me if I didn’t. And in all honesty the traffic in LA isn’t that bad, the roads, now thats another matter, but the traffic, nah..

Did I not tell you about the police this is the first mass with police outriders, there are fifteen/twenty of them standing waiting for the mass to start. More people turn up, on bikeboom, a local cycling website, the ride was down as between 6-8, and I mistakenly thought that was the time of the ride, but as I sit here and more and more cyclists appear I realise that actually this is the meet window and the ride will start after 8.

Listening to conversations it seems that people are expecting upwards of two hundred people, do we get that many at mass in London? More/less. The mass isn’t for me in London, to slow, too many people, too much anti car, eco rhetoric. So many different ideologies stuffed into the bulging sock that is critical mass, a bike ride to raise the profile of cycling, which nowadays only seems to be there to provide group dutch courage to those who have issues with cars and drivers and an arena to vent spleen on them.

My attention is diverted by a chubby red headed policeman having a go on a tall bike, cheers and whistles ring out. After riding round in a stately circle he safely dismounts.

I take a quick walk round, the amount of people feels like four hundred to five hundred. As we ride we stretch down the long boulevards taking up the road to the horizon. With this many people I thought the pace would be slow, but it’s not, it’s consistently swift, think a bridges ride without the sprints from every light or over the bridges, it’s nice I can stretch the legs, feel like I’m putting in the miles, just sitting in the saddle turning the pedals, pushing uphill, spinning downhill.

The rides full of all sorts of bikes, there’s a couple with a full suspension tandem mountain bike. Lots of fixed conversions, a dolan track champion, a tt lo pro, some kids on bikes a size or two too big for them, seatpost pushed all the way down and their crotch is still banging the top tube when they get out of the saddle to hoof it. The group is big and the police provide a loud and efficient outriding unit, blocking off traffic and allowing us to jump reds with impunity. But the young riders are restless, constantly crossing into oncoming traffic, rushing the kerb and skidding like a babies nappy. The level of group riding competence and awareness is all over the shop and i’m just looking out for number one, keeping my mouth closed and my eyes open.

There are several accidents which I don’t see, but I do see the aftermath, bodies lying on the floor, bikes twisted and bent. The most serious is supposedly the result of a hit and run. I rubberneck as the train passes by and then I’m heading off to some new part of Los Angeles. We ride far and wide, through Beverly hills, passing big shiny bright malls, bars with the friday night crowd outside dressed up as if they were going to a wedding. Everywhere we go, whoops and yells follow, horns are tooted and ulations chorus from throats, hands raised high. For tonight we are superstars, as we roll down Hollywood boulevard, the flashes going off are capturing our image, rather than the latest starlet, shouts of “what is this? What are you doing?” are flung at us. But no one replies “having fun” for that is what we are doing, riding our bikes, a cycling anaconda, weaving left and right, buoyed with the joy of cycling with others, even if most of them are a danger to themselves and anyone else around them.

We stop at a big park, the grove i think it’s called, the first rest stop of the night, we are splayed across two sidewalks, the road and the parkland verges. Drivers lean on their horns in annoyance as the police hold them back.

As we ride, I squeeze myself to the front, making up ground on those who choose our course. Not wanting to be stranded in a splinter group at the back and having to figure out exactly where I am after the disorientating journey i’ve been on. So I stick doggedly with the front, threading myself through the riders around me, the talkers and the skidders, the sprinters and the no handed merchants. We pass streets that I know and have ridden down, but these roads look different, I am at strange ends of them, in different parts of town, western av, Melrose, wilshire, hollywood.

The police disappear for a while, and we are left free to choose our own course with no police interference, it seems there is some jurisdictional politics going on and the police won’t follow us into this part of town. I have a quick chat with a young guy on a tall bike, who rides serenely alongside me, yelling at others in front of him as the river of bikes becomes an accordion being pushed together, as everytime we slow and come to a halt he has to make preparations to leap down. I ride with an older english pilot, in his fifties, who carries a loud hailer and uses the crispness of his english accent to yell “wanker” at some of the younger riders. He is witty and articulate and we share the road for a pace before a sprint starts and there is confusion over which way we should be going, the peloton splits and loudhailer manb goes straight ahead and I plunge to my left to head with the main pack.

We roll on and on through the night and I wonder whether it will ever stop, whether the ride continues till its last rider pedalling. But eventually we pull over into a carpark of a strip mall in a part of town that i recognise. And I bail, because I can see this ride going on for a long time and my map only stretches so far…


In los angelenos, stateside, travelling on December 2, 2010 at 12:27 pm

So after getting a phone call from the good people at swrve, I head to downtown LA to go and meet the people behind the cycling clothes that I enjoy wearing so much. Cycling clothes that don’t make me seem too much of a cyclist when off the bike, but when on the bike make it a pleasure to ride, just enough pockets in the right places, and cut just so, to make it a pleasure to ride in. And when the temperature dips as it has now in ye olde london town, and the snow starts to fall, my milwaukee hoodie keeps me toasty and warm, and dry, well dry enough until I wash it another couple of times to get back the water repellence it used to have…

Can you tell I’m a fan.

Downtown LA despite the skyscrapers, plethora of hotels and rooftop bars, feels distinctly deserted, and on street level the amount of bodegas, discount stores and multitude of boarded up shopfronts give it an air of dilapidation and destitution, it reminds me of Dalston and Hackney before the creeping gentrification took hold, when no one with any sense used to rock through there apart from the ones that lived there. But as I look around downtown la, I’m not sure where the people live here…

After a couple of wrong turns and a leisurely roll through town, I finally find the building their based in, about twelve, maybe fourteen storeys high, lovely old fifties/sixties thing, cornices, and pale brickwork around the windows, roll the bike into the lobby, let the large lift take me upstairs and then out along a corridor to their offices.

When the door is opened and I’m invited in by Matt, I’m surprised as I lay my bike down alongside his commuter that their office/workspace is also their workshop, one side of the large open space, which is divided by a run of shelving units which hold boxes and boxes of clothes, all labelled by design and size, opens out into a factory space where a run of sewing machines and fabric lie waiting for the staff to come in and start producing the goods.

 Matt tells me later that this is great since they can prototype clothes quickly, and if changes are required can turn those changes into finished clothes almost immediately. It also means that anyone in the who knows them can get their clothes customised within a day or two. I take this on board and when at the end of my visit I sort through their assembled clothing ranges – you didn’t think I would come all this way and not buy anything did you? – I take them up on their offer and have some of them tailored more exactly to me.

I spend a pleasant couple of hours in the company of Matt and Muriel as Matt talks me through the thinking behind Swrve and I just talk about cycling, travelling, riding apparel and the tour de france. Its lovely to know that the people who make the cycling clothes that I love to wear are as passionate about cycling as I am, and just want to make the best, most comfortable product out there. It is also good that the cosrt of said product doesn’t move past a point that most cyclists are comfortable paying.

Being in Swrve’s offices and talking to Matt about cycling, decisions to cycle, cycling heroes, cycling apparel, cycling in la, cycling, cycling, cycling, reminded me how much I do love cyclists, and made the sticker that I have on my rear wheel make me smile even more “everyone on two wheels is a friend”  because we know what its like to be the fragile one on the road, the exhiliaration of riding hard along anb emnpty road, or, dicing with traffic as it crawls along, and we fly past. The connection between yourself and that inanimate machine that you power and how in that connection, it becomes more than the sum of its parts, how in the end if you ride enough, you merge, and cycling becomes an extension of movement, as easy and unconscious as walking, talking, breathing, eating. 

So I bid my fare thee wells to Matt and Muriel and got just a little bit lost and out of breath as the darkness approached trying to make my way back uptown to west hollywood. Knowing that soon  I would have some more Swrve apparel to roll around town in..

US Site

UK Site

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.