Sunday, April 26, 2009

One week down and exhausted in Redondo Beach

I started out this morning in Pasadena, where I had spent the night at my friend Adam's house. I walked down the subway station and hopped on the Gold Line to Union Station where I switched to the Purple Line and continued until the last stop at Wilshire and Western. And then I started walking.


For 11.5 miles. I went down Wilshire Boulevard past the La Brea Tar Pits, E! Headquarters, and Rodeo Drive before turning on Santa Monica Boulevard. The walk became a little less scenic as I walked along the busy road for the remaining miles. Three and a half hours later I walked up to Helen's Cycles in Santa Monica.


I was meeting up with Brad, a manager there, who was going to ride with me over to Manhattan Beach where they have another store. We rode through the streets a bit before we got to the bike path on the beach. I felt surprisingly safe riding on the street. Cars seemed to be pretty aware of us and definitely gave us enough room. Brad moved to Los Angeles about three years back and commutes by bike pretty regularly. He saw a big rise in bike sales when gas prices soared a year ago, and many of those people have stuck with it even after gas prices came back down again.

After a little under two hours, (and about 15 miles), we made it to Manhattan Beach. I headed to the pier meet up with a group of Kangoo Jumpers. Kangoo Jumps were developed in Switzerland and have been a hit in Europe for years, though they're still pretty new in the US.

They look like ski boots with compressible ovals underneath, and wearing them feels sort of like running on a trampoline. It gives you a great work out, and it's also helpful for recuperating runners who can't put as much pressure on their knees. I ran with a group of trainers and Kangoo Jumps enthusiasts who regularly attend Kangoos Jumps classes at a gym. Running with them down the beach was a lot of fun, though it got exhausting pretty fast. As we ran by dozens of people stared, took pictures, and yelled out questions about them.


After two miles I traded my Kangoo Jumps in for a bike and rode to Shiva and Larry Nelson's house. They own Beach Jumps, the California distributors for Kangoo Jumps, and they generously invited me to spend the night. Larry first discovered the shoes a few years ago, and was immediately struck by how fun they are. "You feel like a kid as soon you put them on," he said. And he's seen runners who have been sidelined by knee surgery start running again thanks to Kangoo Jumps. Shiva and Larry are working on introducing the shoes to more gyms and running clubs, and hope the work out craze catches on here as much as it did in Europe.

Now, I'm off to bed. I think I'll get a good night sleep tonight. Especially since I'm not sure where I'll be sleeping tomorrow night. A hotel in Santa Monica invited me to stay, but I haven't heard from them in a while so I may have to find a back-up plan. Anyone have friends/family in the Santa Monica, Venice Beach, or Marina del Rey area?

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