After the small stroke of a couple of years ago, I was advised not to indulge in hill work for a while, but a few months ago I was cleared to "do whatever you like." What I liked yesterday was taking my faithful fixie up Benedict Canyon Road to Mulholland Drive. Benedict Canyon does not go all the way to the Valley, so sees only local car traffic. Furthermore, it is probably the most visually charming of the local residential canyons, with houses that are more elegant than ostentatious, and a narrow stream running alongside much of the passage. It may be an annoyingly slow drive to the impatient motorhead, but it's an ideal bike route up to the ridge. And of course, the plant life was showing the effects of what little rain we've had this winter, so it was not only the first day of spring by the calendar, but it looked and smelled as sweet as springtime should in a Mediterranean climate such as ours. Masses of bright green leaves overhead, flowers at knee height, a hint of moisture in the air, and even the austere wild hills rising above the last, high houses dressed in their own darker green. Mulholland too, LA's iconic hill drive, was lined with white and purple flowers, and didn't suffer too much car traffic on a Sunday noon. I followed it eastward to Coldwater Canyon for the descent to the Valley, where I joined CicLAvia at its westernmost hub.
About the event itself I'll say nothing except that I went sans camera or notebook, wanting only to enjoy myself, and that I succeeded in doing so. It was a bright, busy day of happy crowds rolling and strolling easily along the usually traffic-hammered roadways of Ventura and Lankershim boulevards, a true festival celebrating nothing but the joy of being unsequestered and human together in a true public space., I met friends, people-watched, and pedaled at ease among the throngs.
There was even room on the subway for the run back to Hollywood, from which I headed home, glad to be alive to enjoy such days.