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The Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Moment in Time #362 - Sprawling All Angels

07.27.16

One or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives
for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities,
and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the
encounters they find there.

It's a bike ride.

Started by user nathansnider and user theroyalacademy.

It meets every Wednesday at 8:30pm
at California Donuts #21.
We ride at 9pm.
While we endeavor to return before the last red line trains (around midnight),
it is generally not possible. Please plan accordingly.

On this bike ride, you might expect:
- inconvenient passageways
- oblique strategies
- Oulipian constraints
- disorientation
- reorientation
- "cover" versions of other people's rides, performed with amateurish enthusiasm
- amateurish enthusiasm
- playgrounds, pool halls, bowling alleys, karaoke
- geocaching
- full moon picnics
- traffic median tea parties
- rivers that no longer exist
- smell tourism
- Couchwick v2.0

Furthermore:
- usually 20-35 miles
- usually some hills
- a medium pace (probably not for beginners; certainly not a hustle)
- few stops, short stops
- but we're not in a rush; we don't need to run every light
- victory donuts!

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This week:

Sprawling All Angels


It is easy to look at vintage maps and romanticize the Pacific Electric "red car" trolley system that spread out over the Los Angeles area in the early part of the last century. Its fingers stretched in seemingly every direction, from Chatsworth and San Fernando to Santa Ana and Newport Beach, from Santa Monica and Venice all the way out to San Bernardino and beyond. It even climbed up Mt. Lowe! One compares the current rail transit system and, well, it makes one sad.

And, if the Roger Rabbit story -- of a trolley paradise being torn up by evil Christopher Lloyd and his Cloverleaf corporation so they could build freeways -- were the whole story, we would indeed be fully justified in our sadness. But, not surprisingly, the truth is a little more complicated than the cartoon. And though we tend to think of the endless sprawl of our area as a result of the freeways, it was actually those idyllic trolleys themselves that were a major early catalyst for it. Rather than a public good meant to serve the far-flung, the trolley system was largely built as a rather cynical loss leader by real estate interests to do the flinging. And once the land was fully developed and the houses sold, well, who cares if those trolleys are maintained or efficient? (Certainly not the real estate guys.) We morn their loss in retrospect, but relatively few did at the time.

Which isn't to say the city shouldn't have taken it all over and modernized it, streamlining the system where sensible, expanding it where possible. Instead, we got buses. And while buses have their advantages, it is just not the same.

Yet now our present rail system -- though not nearly as wide as before, and having far fewer fingers and destinations -- with new extensions opening up, a system is shaping up that again stretches far and wide. This is due in no small part to the fact that Metro is a county-wide agency and every district wants their piece of the pie. So the system sprawls out in the manner the red cars did (rather than their cousins, the "yellow cars" of the Los Angeles Railway, which densely served the central city). The new rails chase the sprawl that the old rails helped create.

So this week, as you by now no doubt surmised, we too venture out into the sprawl, taking advantage of some of that new rail. We will expand our normal Wednesday night territory, cover some new ground. Whatever happens, let's hope we can avoid the dip.

(A lot of details, so more than just a quick parenthetical:

- ~30 miles of riding and a stretch on the Gold Line
- Not much in the way of climbing
- But a fair amount of off-roading, some of which we should do in stealth mode (so, if you are uncomfortable with that, this might not be the week for you)
- A couple short, steep, loose, rocky inclines to scamper up/down
- We'll ride from the donut shop to Chinatown to catch the Gold Line
- If you want to meet us there, our ETA is ~9:30 (we might be later, but we won't wait)
- Between the distance and the time on the train, expect this to sprawl temporally as well (don't complain that you were not warned!)

)

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For the latest information about each week's ride, join our mailing list:
groups.google.com/group/the-passage-announcements

For more information about past rides, visit our website:
ThePassageRide.com

For miscellaneous images, information, and links, take a look at our tumblog:
thepassageride.tumblr.com

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Discuss






























































































































For example,
certain models of
one-man helicopters
currently being tested
by the US Army
will probably have spread
to the general public
within twenty years.
 


Posted by theroyalacademy