Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Finds from the Grind - Emerald Necklace South


Some scenes from my southern loop around the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River Trail on 2/3/2018.

I'm still continuing my middle distance routes while being out of shape, but I'm also doing some side exploring to check out the conditions of roads I've been avoiding for a few years. There are "known" roads among the cycling community that are best because of smooth road surfaces, lack of annoying stop lights tied to sensors, and usually friendly and not so busy car traffic. Every few years, I check out the annoying roads to see if their "personality" has changed. I like finding newly paved surfaces, which is not that rare an event, but I'm hardly ever rewarded by bike-friendly stop lights. I found a few happy surprises this day, so it will be nice going down Sierra Madre Villa to Colorado again.

I'm always interested in the brave souls who take novelty wheeled machines on bike paths. This day, someone riding an EliptiGO was stomping up the San Gabriel River Trail. I'm not sure I get the premise for being forced to stand up cranking a drive train the entire time. You could do the same thing on a bike, if you had the mental fortitude never to sit down. Maybe that's the point of the machine...

Animal obstacles on paths are always a challenge. I've never actually been hampered by any animal. I've passed by friendly horses with riders, played alpha male to shoo away some curious coyotes and stray dogs, and had to dodge numerous boisterous puppies. That last one happened again on the dirt track near Duarte. Practically speaking, I'm glad most owners on these paths don't put these puppies on leashes, because that would definitely make it harder to negotiate a pass if the leash happens to cross the side of the puppy I choose. Still, it's always fun to see a happy puppy running around, even if it does give me a bit more stress on the bike.

Oh, you may ask why this route is called the Emerald Necklace. The circle of paths made by the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River forms what looks like a "necklace" when seen on a map, with Whittier Narrows forming the emerald jewel where they meet. Things don't look so emerald green these days after all the flood control projects have turned both rivers into glorified rain gutters.

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