Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mountains to sea...

Years ago I kind of swore off separated bike paths; too many pedestrians, too many weekend riders not paying attention, the streets were safer. Biking in LA's piece on the Marvin Braude Bikepath along the coast reminded me that would frequent it from time to time (though I do not know if it was called that 15 or more years ago) sandy corners and all. For some reason a little voice keeps saying "the more things change, the more things stay the same". Anyway, after my son was born, the time I had available for cycling decreased dramatically and the long rides taking me from home, inland, to places like the Marvin Braude path ceased. Well, my wife and son had other things to do today so I decided to revisit one of those long bike path rides I used to regularly do, but have lately, only done short sections of - the San Gabriel River trail - from the mountains (Duarte) to the sea (Seal Beach). Unlike the Marvin Braude, the SGRT does not suffer from massive crowds, or sand, in fact it is mostly elevated above the surrounding land so there is very little debris, and sections of it have recently been repaved. Like the Braude path, the SGRT passes through many municipal jurisdictions which may account for the piecemeal repaving efforts; some of the worst sections have suffered from neglect for years, and coincidentally, or not, tend to be located in the less affluent cities along the middle portion of trail. Maintenance for the trail seems to be under the direction of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works Road Maintenance Division, though the Long Beach and Seal Beach sections are maintained by those two cities. Interestingly, the northernmost portion of trail, through the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, a County facility, is the best maintained.
the big waterfall above the Santa Fe Dam

northern part of the trail is surrounded by flooded and active quarries

water treatment facility

reed gate, a trail access point at Whittier Narrows

Whittier Narrows has a lot of these kind of riders too

eventually the soft bottomed river changes to concrete

and the concrete bottom changes back again

LA DWP plants

in Seal Beach now, that's Long Beach across the river

shopping carts racing in the river

never been sure what they hunt along the concrete sections

I suspect this one will have more success

dam at Whittier Narrows

two cowboys and a vaquero

back at the dam

final obstacle - getting to the top

from the top looking back along the San Gabriel River

Final tally: 71.13 miles, with an average speed of 17.1 mph, 4hrs 11min 

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