Cycling Calabasas

After a long (20 or so years) hiatus, I have started riding seriously again, still on the Univega I bought from I. Martin Imports in West Hollywood back in 1985 or so.

For the past couple of weeks I've spent an hour or more three days a week riding around the Valley, mainly on the north end. Valley Circle, Rinaldi, Plummer and Lassen all are very hospitable to cyclists. A couple of times I've ridden down to Lake Balboa and last Saturday rode the Orange Line bike path all the way to Valley College.

What I really enjoy is going slowly enough to really take in the sights. There is an amazing diversity of restaurants, furniture stores, clothing shops and industrial areas.

Today, for instance, I rode from my home near Cal State Northridge to Calabasas, taking a detour into the foothills of Woodland Hills where I lived for a few years as a child (Calabash Elementary, woo hoo!). Then I rode into Calabasas (had to use the sidewalk as those cobblestones are a killer) and took a break at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the shopping center across from the Commons.

At about 10:30 a.m. the place was doing brisk business with mommies & stroller babies, a couple of laptop space takers and the like.

I took my coffee & scone outside and sat by a lovely fountain right in front of a couple of shops I'll have to return to. Susie Cakes creates what looks like delicious confections -- cupcakes and full-size cakes -- and has a sign touting their recent selection as Best Tasting in the Traditional Category of the 2009 Nesquick Challenge for their red velvet (mmmmmmm) cupcakes.

Also stepped into newly-opened O' My Sole a shoe store that has the tagline -- Life's Too Short To Wear Boring Shoes. At the Calabasas store, which the clerk on duty told me is the smallest of the Southern California-based chain, the emphasis is more on comfortable, but stylish, shoes. Don't just by the website, by the way. It is not really reflective of the variety of the store's offering.

But the point of this post is not to hawk these particular stores but that I would not have ever known they were there had I not taken the time to ride by. So next time you want to get some fresh air and get to know your neighborhood better, do it from the back of a bicycle. Just watch out for potholes!

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