On the west bank of Rio Hondo in Bell Gardens: John Anson Ford Park, named after a Los Angeles teacher-writer-publicist-politician who lived from 1883 to 1983.

On the way to John Anson Ford Park on a Xootr Scooter while wearing a costume

The park was my starting point for today’s Xootr Mg scooter ride south on the Rio Hondo trail, with the goal of reaching Imperial Boulevard, to complete the loop of what I’d ridden last week, from Riverfront Park down to Imperial Highway.

Cross the t. Dot the i. Own the trail on both rivers, the Los Angeles River and Rio Hondo

It’s a perfect morning for a ride, the best of Los Angeles weather. The trail’s generally smoothly paved, although on the several long underpasses on the route the paving changes from asphalt to cement, with little transverse grooves cut into the surface every half inch, that make for a jaw-rattling instability unless I brake for the downhill runs, and then walk up the last part of the uphill segment to make up for the lost momentum.

Always wear a helmet

I’m more cautious after hearing how a scooter buddy had a fall last week on his Yedoo Dragstr, where he busted his glasses and sustained some facial lacerations, but fortunately no broken bones, and no concussion, thanks to his helmet.

Same as with my rib-breaking fall a few years ago, he explained that somehow his front wheel stopped in a pavement defect and he kept going.

For me, 4 to 6 mph on the flat seems safe enough, but 15 mph at the bottom of an irregularly paved underpass, where I have to hang on for an out-of-control wild ride…. well, I’m not going to do that any more.

On the trail

The trail’s pleasant, with a few bicyclists, the exercise nuts wearing helmets, the homeless cyclists bare headed, also a lady in Middle Eastern clothing riding a Razor kick scooter with 6” wheels, the same as my Xootr, plus a few pedestrians. Way fewer homeless tents than on the Los Angeles River.

Most people nod a greeting, but not the lady on the kick scooter. I see one guy in black T shirt, black shorts, black socks up to his knees, and black shoes.

My wife told me that this translates to a gang guy, this is the costume they wear.

And the costume

I suppose I have my costume too. My baggy shorts, my LL Bean short sleeved Henley shirt, my Merrell shoes and gray helmet from REI. It feels right for me.

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Jonathan Kelley, 80, was born in Boston, and educated at Exeter and Princeton, then Harvard Medical School, after a year teaching English in Cali, Colombia. He was a Navy anesthesiologist during Viet Nam. He spent the middle decades of his life working in a community hospital in Northern California. Besides his career in medicine, he’s a chef, pianist, and actor in his artistic life. In the kitchen, he specializes in croissants and cooking with coconuts. At the piano, it’s boogie woogie and Joplin rags. As an actor, he’s done fourteen seasons in a Mexican Christmas play in Los Angeles, plus the occasional movie role, as in the soon-to-be-released feature film “Amor en 266 Millas,” where he plays the hippie patriarch of a desert commune in the Antelope Valley. He has two books available on Amazon, “Counting Backwards from 100: My Life as an Anesthesiologist,” and “Short Stories by Jonathan Kelley.” Searching for improved balance and leg strength at age 77, Jonathan came by chance upon a Xootr scooter. Jonathan’s wife is the lovely Puerto Rican actress Gloria Laino. Their mix is like Puerto Rican arroz con gandules served next to New England style cranberry sauce.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent report. Detailed and interesting. Costumes are part of being a human, Kellely is spot on. He gives us a wonderful view of the city. Thank you.

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