Passage #201: 1 June 2013

The Model Home



In celebration of our 200th ride, we did a series of four weekend, daytime rides. Instead of departing from California Donuts on Wednesday nights as usual, each Saturday for a month we met at Union Station and took a Metrolink train to a remote location to ride.

Now, understand, we're not really angling for any kind of cross-promotion here. It is, in fact, a complete coincidence that the first Orange County Passage Ride is happening right after the revival of a certain well-regarded television show about Orange County land developers. And of course it's not a bad coincidence, as coincidences go; this week's ride actually passes through a number of such developments in varying states of suspension. But rather than dwell on the easy parallels, we will be focusing, as we so often do, on the more oblique connections.

So... it might be said that over time each of us has cultivated some idealized vision of our place within the landscape -- a model, if you will, of "home." It might also be said that a model is most useful when it accurately represents the world, but most interesting when it does not, and these model homes inside our heads are most interesting models indeed.

The origin stories that people tell about the places they live are sometimes so at odds with reality that one must admire their sheer boldness, and there are few places that wear this cognitive dissonance on their sleeves quite so eagerly as Orange County: festivals for swallows that no longer darken the skies; eroded quarries re-purposed as parks; housing developments fashioned around an agrarian past that scarcely even existed. Fueled by a seemingly boundless need for more real estate development, the model grows all the more fantastical, all the more interesting, and (we may hope) all the more fun to explore by bicycle.


Route Map

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