Get Real!

Saturday Ride Reviewed

I learned a lot yesterday.  About myself and about riding in LA.  It’s not that I didn’t have my suspicions.  It’s just now they are confirmed beyond a doubt.  What am I talking about?

Ok let me explain…no no…let me sum up…

I am not tired today or even sore from riding.  Granted it was only a 12.5 mile ride according to Google maps and then 12.5 miles home.  But I thought I had a lot less in me and that I would be weary.  I was completely wrong.  I am tougher than I thought.

Riding to the Westside would be difficult.  I was right about this one.  Not because it was difficult to deal with traffic on the road, but mostly because — and what a surprise — LA doesn’t like to fix it’s potholes.  And it turns out neither does Beverly Hills or Westwood.  I came down Wilshire Blvd. investigating a route home, quite surprised at having no difficulty whatsoever passing the highway entrances and exits and suddenly just at the border of Beverly Hills at the Wilshire corridor, I hit more than two dozen pot holes in a row, and blew my inner tube.  And…I wasn’t even riding fast.  Luckily LA has a bus system with bike racks.  I bussed it to my bike shop on Melrose and Fairfax where the guys took extra special care of me, changing, adjusting, advising and sharing commuter stories about being on the rode every day.  I learned more than a few tips and even how to clutch my bike handles properly.  It seems I’ve been a bit off all these years.  Who knew.

LA drivers SUCK!!!  It is amazing to me that more people don’t get into more accidents every day.  Between maneuvering around drivers who hardly ever stopped at stop signs and who didn’t know who actually had the right of way in the first place because no one ever reads the handbook, observing how many people were still texting while driving although it has been illegal like forever, and even spotting a motorcyclist no less, talking on a cell phone with one hand and driving at break neck speed with only one hand on the bike was enough to make me re-invent the term road rage.  Especially when half of them nearly hit me while not paying attention to driving.  That of course doesn’t count the bus that  rapidly cut me off on La Cienega, the woman who beeped her horn behind me because she wanted me to bike faster so she could get into a mall entrance and several drivers who deliberately drove as close as they could to me and then blocked my path as I rode as far to the right as possible.

Ho Hum.  Why am I not surprised?  I recently got a story from a friend who observed a driver taking a bong hit at a light in broad daylight.  That’s insane and fodder for a future article.

One thing I know is that, I will most likely never again sympathize with one of my friends who has been complaining about fascistic LA Police, camera lights and getting ticketed way too often.  I might reply back, “well you could wear a hands-free for your phone, turn on your lights at dusk, not text while you are driving and pay attention in general.”  I have to admit, I was often wishing that I was carrying a badge fantasizing about using some scare tactics.

What I did have however, was a seriously spontaneous and overall fun day, a great lunch, a home spa purchase in Santa Monica, met a really awesome former New York firefighter, discovered a super arts and crafts store where I treated myself to a half dozen multi-colored glitter pencils for no reason, and got totally special “we are so bummed out for you” care from a bunch of very sweet 13 year olds who helped me figure out where to get the bus when they saw my flat tire and the above and beyond assistance from a bevy of really helpful Hertz workers (all guys to my complete delight — sometimes it really pays to be a girl) who checked out my tire, filled it with air and attempted to fix the situation — just because.

My confidence is pretty much soaring today.  And I cannot wait for the next ride.


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