Rollers’ Wiggle

San Francisco has its famous Wiggle, a longstanding zigzag route that leads cyclists through the hilly city without actually having to climb steep hills.

Well, while Los Angeles has its share of steep hills–many of which are right here in the Flying Pigeon’s ‘hood–most of them are residential streets that only a handful of cyclists ever ride by any necessity. But we do have some thoroughfares that climb, and we do have at least one equivalent–however rudimentary–to SF’s famous Wiggle. And it’s worth checking out.

If you live, work, or otherwise hang around North East LA–and how can you visit the Pigeon without coming here?–then you’re probably also riding back and forth to Echo Park, Silverlake, and East Hollywood for eats, booze, music, friends, work, or just bike love, and you’re regularly climbing that somewhat steep, heavily trafficked, and decidedly boring hill on Sunset Boulevard, heading west from Broadway. Let’s face it, it’s a slog. I’m a climbing fool, myself; I ride Mulholland on a fixie, and I’d rather take El Paso over the hill from Eagle Rock than York–but even I find that mile of Sunset tedious.

Well, thanks to Chinatown’s own little Wiggle, we don’t have to deal with it anymore.

I heard about this one from Hungry Beat‘s John Vu, who said he got it from Mr. Rollers, and it’s a delightful end run around the Sunset grind.

So, you’re heading south on Broadway through Chinatown, with downtown rising like a grimy Oz in the distance, but instead of going all the way through, you turn right on College. Just before the steep hill over the freeway you turn left on New Depot and wind among the apartments and the shabby freeway fence to Alpine. You follow Alpine to a crooked intersection that requires you to bear right to stay on Alpine till you cross over the 110 at last to Bartlett St., turn left, pass the Italian deli and wind right to Beaudry, then turn left, and whamo!, you’re on Sunset, not too far from a stairway featured on Bad Religion’s video of “Struck a Nerve.”

You’ve still got some climbing to do, but it isn’t much, it isn’t steep, and the scenery’s not so bad–temples, apartments, little theaters and markets, a corner of LA you might never have seen otherwise. One of the joys of cycling is that you can notice so much more than in a motor vehicle; why not ride where there’s something to notice?

Here’s the route mapped out for you: Rollers’ Wiggle

Use the comments to tell us about your own fave Wiggle.

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