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Slay LA Part 2

By May 10, 2024Uncategorized

Slay LA Ride Report: A 26 Miles Urban Ride Through LA’s Greenbelts

Part 2 || words by Morgan Bernard

Contrary to popular belief, Los Angeles is home to pockets of deep wilderness hidden amongst the metropolitan sprawl of Southern California’s most densely populated county. These greenbelts exist in the city like an oasis in the desert, a momentary natural reprieve from concrete that gives the willing adventurer a slice of the natural world. Many of LA’s greenbelts were initially intended to be linked by a now long abandoned railway. The 1925 Pacific Railway aimed to turn LA into a public transit city, but the plans were fought and defeated by heavies from the auto industry. Fortunately for the public, much of the infrastructure intended for use on the now-defunct railway still stands today. Various pedestrian walkways and staircases connect LA’s green belts and serve as an urban trail for a team of riders from Fixed Manufacturing. In Slay LA Part I, our riders traveled from Laguna Beach to LA by train and then navigated to Silverlake by way of Union Station, Olvera Street, Chinatown, Elysian Park, and Echo Park.

hans rey and troy lee franklin hillsHans Rey chasing Troy Lee down the staircases of Franklin Hills

When we left our riders, they had arrived at Silverlake. From there, the team passed south of the lake and headed north toward Franklin Hills. In Franklin Hills, a casual ride through residential streets was interrupted by a steep alleyway of stairs that rattled underneath the teams’ tires as they moved with haste toward Griffith Park. After nearly a dozen flights of descent and a few winding turns, the riders were back on the road, passing soccer moms on Franklin Avenue.

brian lopes step up griffith parkBrian Lopes finds a step-up in Griffith Park

Before long, the riders entered Griffith Park, where their tires again found the trail. With the Hollywood sign looming on the horizon, the team climbed the park’s rolling hills, hitting a lippy step-up kicker along the way. The uphill led to a narrow stretch of trail that traced the ridgeline of the upper reaches of the park. The trail topped out after a lengthy, grueling ascent, and the much-anticipated descent began. The serpentine trail wound downwards, and the riders banked turns and navigated loose rocky terrain as they sped to the bottom of the park.  The downhill portion of Griffith Park was rapid and more technical than what you may expect to find within the LA city limits.

After exiting Griffith Park, the Fix Team was quickly reminded that they were, in fact, in Los Angeles when they were forced to wait at successive stoplights and then pass by a homeless encampment. But before long, the team left traffic and panhandlers behind as they entered the Hollywood Hills, where the LA skyline served as a scenic backdrop to another hilly ascent. As the trail topped out and the descent began, dog walkers and hikers were the main obstacles, along with stray roots and the occasional hidden basketball-sized boulder. The Hollywood Hills downhill spat the riders out on Hollywood Boulevard, where their tires rolled over stars on the Walk of Fame, and the Fix Team bobbed and weaved between tourists, street performers, and confused commuters.

hans rey weaving thru pedestrians on the walk of fameHans Rey weaving thru pedestrians on the Walk of Fame

After dodging pedestrians, the team descended into the metro station below and boarded their train home. Twenty-six miles on and off trail, countless ascents and descents, and one unforgettable day spent exploring the wilderness hidden in plain sight in Los Angeles.