Riding down Western through Koreatown under a full moon, hoping nothing spectacular would happen. Full moons and Friday nights, especially a holiday weekend, tend to spell disaster on the streets of LA. I smelled it, and this time it was easy to tell which car it was coming from- the hooptie 80’s sedan that had seen some hard miles. Windows down, they stop for a red light. I see the driver is smoking. I think “shit, they’re Black. I don’t want to be that asshole profiling Black dudes.” I pull alongside the passenger, and stop. I look in, planning to threaten to call 911 and report the driver for DUI.
When my friend Jenny said “I’d like to visit Portland for my birthday” I said “Let’s go!” I’d only been once before for the Net Impact Conference, and had a great time. Since then I’d gotten deeper into pedal-powered bikes, so I wanted to explore the country’s Bicycling Capital. We made a stab at getting bikes from friends, but wound up just renting these single speed hooptie city bikes. They were painfully slow, geared to handle most riding for most people, so we didn’t really get much of a workout. But we rode all over Portland for a few days! It was rad.
So I’ve got a new love. He’s big, black, and thrusts harder than any of my previous loves. Best of all, he doesn’t have any dirty habits and is totally low maintenance. Read all about him, and our first 180 miles of the honeymoon over at Gas2.
Lucky for me, I lived through that little highside. It was a cold, dark night in West Hollywood. I’d just had a lovely dinner with some friends, both old and new. But I was wary about going to the Abbey. It had never appealed to me. Once we were inside, I couldn’t wait to leave. I lost my friends in the crowd and left, looking forward to my bed. I rode down Robertson and went to make a left turn onto some road, maybe Beverly, maybe 3rd. All I remember is rolling on the throttle like I normally would, not in any rush or anything, and the bike wobbling violently side to side. Although I don’t recall being spat off like a bucking bronco shakes off a rider, that’s what happened. I came to naked under a sheet in the nearest hospital, so I was out for some time.
I’ve decided I should start posting the articles I get paid to write, since I neglect this blog so much. Sure, you can always click on the link to the right and down, but this is easier for you. I had the privilege of attending a fireside chat with Elon Musk… (sans fire. hopefully we’ll be able to chat by the fire at Burning Man someday…) It was a great event, and it was great to see him again. I just wish we could get him on a motorcycle. The electric motorcycle industry would REALLY take off then! And he’d discover LA traffic isn’t so bad after all.
PandoDaily’s Fireside Chat with Elon Musk
Like I am with bikes, I dove right back in the deep end. I’ve been a fairly good patient these past 9 weeks, following doctor’s orders, babying that pelvic fracture to the point where I’m overusing the cane. But today I couldn’t take another minute of it. London had dried out, and I had to get from the Waterloo tube station to the Tate modern- a considerable distance for someone who’s supposed to be “taking it easy”.
There they were, proudly waiting right outside the station, whispering “take me! I’m yours! I’ll get you there swiftly, safely, and with far more pleasure than any other mode. take me, I’m free!” So I did. Got on a bicycle for the first time since April 6th. Wearing the same pants I wore that night too. In London, a city I was so terrified to ride my motorcycle in I’d only ride on weekends and usually at night or in the burbs. I’ve ridden in lots of cities, American and European, but the whole left side traffic thing makes it a little too exciting. Especially on a bicycle. One which I can’t be bothered to figure out how to change gears. And without a helmet. I felt safe enough cruising around Barcelona without a helmet, but there’s a lot less traffic there than London and it’s all on the right side. Perhaps it’s also that I drive/ride more like a Spaniard or an Italian than a Brit. It felt so wrong to be riding without a helmet and with only my purse for hi-viz, but London was good to me, and I also rode slowly on the sidewalks when traffic was too scary. Looking forward to getting the official go-ahead! from the Doc June 20th…
Now I’m near Silverstone, looking forward to volunteering with Riders for Health this weekend. More about that later…
Just like the first time I rode on the back of a motorcycle, it’s not so much that I want to be around people who have them, but that I want one for myself. Same goes for the TT, even though I’m here for the first time. I’m going as a tourist and journalist, to witness the electric bikes make history, and help my brother celebrate his birthday. But I’d rather be flying through the air, 200 ponies between my legs, slamming back down to earth only to tip the bike into a sharp bend up ahead, then to fly along the Mountain as fast as I possibly dare. This all-out speed on the world’s deadliest racetrack is my idea of a good time.
But that’s not gonna happen this year, and honestly, I’ll probably never be fast enough to qualify for a TT race. Someday I will ride the TT course, but likely not in competition. This really shouldn’t be the year for that even, as my collarbone persists in being detached and the doc persists in forcing me to use this infernal cane. Because I’d rather be a gimp a little longer than suffer crippling arthritis the rest of my days, I’m following doctors orders. Well, as best I can…
This is going to sound really smug, but it’s not like that. I’m actually surprised this is such a mystery to most people. When I was in high school, I’d pore over European fashion magazines, wishing I had a machine that could scan (before scanners) a photo from the pages (usually Gaultier) and make a copy of the actual garment, only you know, at a price I could afford. Well, I went to fashion school and quickly became that machine. I was fortunate to have an awesome patternmaking teacher in Connie Amaden Crawford at FIDM. She helped me uncover my talent for draping & patternmaking.
I was really shocked when I saw this GOOD infographic, which states that 0.9% of LA commuters go via bicycle, and so few commute via motorcycle that we’re lumped in with “other”. But when I looked around, I realized I do indeed see way more bicycles on the streets of LA than motorcycles. And now I’m becoming one of the 0.9%. I got a new bike on Black Friday, a Fuji Absolute hybrid. I call her Miss Absolute. It’s immensely more comfortable and faster than the vintage bike I was on before.
I was so excited about seeing these films, I thought today would be the greatest day ever. Well, maybe not as good as a track day at Laguna Seca, but still good. Being in a theater packed with race fans was awesome, as was Fastest. But the most exciting part of TT3D was the ride home from the theater…
Fastest showed two sold-out screenings at the Downtown Independent, a theater I can walk to, always a plus. It was a great movie, as I’ve come to expect from director Mark Neale. He did an excellent job of showcasing Rossi’s talent, going into detail about certain accomplishments the American announcers on Speed TV really hadn’t conveyed. But it was also a sad film. Not just for all the interviews with Marco Simonicelli, but for what felt like the end of Rossi’s career. 2011 has been the worst year of his career, and when they showed him announcing his plans to move to Ducati, I screamed “Don’t Do it!” and the whole theater laughed. Yes, I love being with my people. We understand each other. I cried openly when they read a few lines from the goodbye letter he wrote to his Yamaha, just as I cried when I first read the translation.