In a ride worthy of Joe Linton, Mr. LA Creek Freak himself, the 5th Tour LaBonge ride took a spin through Griffith Park and the LA River last Wednesday.
Temperatures rocketed up to 94 degrees last Wednesday as summer came in with a bang. Despite the hot conditions, a large number of riders showed up for a pastoral ride through the heart of Los Angeles. Gathering at the Mulholland Fountain at the corner of Riverside Drive and Los Feliz Boulevard, riders were treated to free tune-ups from Incycle Bicycles of Pasadena.
After an impromptu history lesson from Council Member LaBonge, the ride set off up Crystal Springs Drive.
The ride through Griffith Park was by far the most challenging of the Tour LaBonge rides. Steep hills and steady climbs strung out the pack of riders, necessitating frequent stops within the park to keep the ride together. The road was thankfully shaded and cool(er), and the frequent stops allowed the riders to admire the beautiful scenery of Griffith Park.
Just past the Autry National Center, the Tour LaBonge dropped down onto the LA River. Council Member LaBonge boasted that this section of the LA Bike Path was the oldest in the City of Los Angeles, a project he oversaw nearly eight years ago.
The scenery on the LA River was absolutely breathtaking. Even in July, water still covered the entire bottom of the river and the plant life was beautiful and verdant. Egrets, Herons, and myriad other birds were encamped along the river while the riders went by. With the EPA recently designating the LA River as a navigable body of water, a whole range of opportunities are now open to restoring the habitat on this beautiful river.
But more than just wildlife, there was a wealth of human scenery on the river. As the Tour LaBonge wound down the LA River Bike Path, it came across hardcore bicyclists, people out for a leisurely ride, couples sitting on benches, families strolling down the riverfront, joggers with their headphones on, and even kids fishing down by the water’s edge. The LA River Bike Path functioned as a multi-purpose amenity for the communities adjacent to it. As the late afternoon descended into twilight, the river offered a beautiful, cool, and shaded area for people to enjoy their long summer evenings.
The riders came back up Riverside Drive to the Mulholland Fountain once the Tour hit the end of the LA River Bike Path. The customary ice cream sandwiches were distributed in the twilight, a welcome treat after an eventful 17 mile ride.
If that looked like fun to you, do your best to get out to the last Tour LaBonge ride of the summer this Wednesday. Meet at Tom’s Hollywood field office at 6501 Fountain Ave at 5:30 PM tomorrow, Wednesday July 21st.