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.
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…
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.
1985: 1981 Vespa P200E
Greatest Memory? Every ride with Cheri (memorialized here), especially the ones where we snuck out at night and rode to the city 20 miles away.
The first time I went for a ride, on the back of Rob Bond’s Suzuki GS550, I knew I had to have one for myself. Sharing was simply not an option. So I spent the next year (until I was 15 1/2) working my parents over. By the time I was old enough to get my motorcycle permit, they relented. Because people (mistakenly) perceive scooters as being safer than motorcycles (it’s the other way around, actually), my parents let me buy a Vespa. I worked all summer in a paint factory to pay for it, but still only had about 50%. So my super awesome dad came up with the other half. The day I turned 15 1/2 I went straight to the DMV to get my motorcycle permit. I passed the test. Back then, you didn’t have to get a car permit in order to get a motorcycle permit. And I hadn’t heard about the MSF, as it was just starting up in 1985. Too bad, it would’ve saved me launching that 1981 Vespa P200E into the bushes across the street in front of my parents and the guy selling it to me.
I’ve lived and ridden in LA for over a decade. In that time, I’ve seen some messed up driving and survived plenty of threats on my life. (some perceived and some real). I’ve even grown pretty confident on my bicycle in the 5 months I’ve been riding. But the past couple days I’ve seen some seriously crazy shit. And it’s not even a full moon. What is going on?
Last night I rode my bicycle from downtown to Hollywood and back. I had 2 cars almost run stop signs into me. Then a minivan pulled into the oncoming lane to pick his friend up at the corner just as I was turning the same corner. I discovered I can lock the wheels on my bicycle very easily without crashing. two wheel slide! wootwoot! But just the same it scared the hell out of me. That kid’s parents will be getting a nasty letter from me courtesy of the DMV’s letter forwarding system if I can find the link on their new website. Although I fear that budget cuts may have led them to discontinue that service. Continue reading Is LA Suffering an Outbreak of the Crazies?
So I started this whole cycling adventure with a few goals-
1. get in shape. as in, be more strong, energetic, toned.
2. have fun getting from point a-b.
3. laugh at cops and gas stations.
All of these are happening, so I am raising the bar, as one must do with goals. Now that I feel a little stronger, I wanted to see if I’ve made any progress. Because with the way I get passed (like I’m standing still) by guys on fixies going uphill, I clearly am not ready for the Tour De France. Or even Malibu, for that matter. Malibu is the goal.
One day, I will be fit enough to huff it up those hills with the best of them. Until then, here is my progress so far. (click to embiggen) I think the gps got a little high on the 25th, as it’s the same route I’ve taken on other days and there weren’t any unusual hills involved. Sometimes the gps on my iphone likes to wander off.
It’s kind of annoying that we’re not seeing a general upward curve here. I know those calories burned are cumulative, and that I get stronger with each ride, but I’d like to also get faster…
Recently I rebuilt my dad’s old (as in, 40ish years old) 10-speed, with the help of Jim and others at the Bicycle Kitchen. It’s been great to have a fun way to get some exercise and I can tell immediately that cycling builds all the muscles I most need to endure a full day on the track. Because I’m not one to set aside time to exercise, I’m also using the bike as a regular form of transport at least a couple days a week.
After 25 years on 2 wheels, your perception of danger changes. What would have terrified me years ago often presents nothing more than a minor annoyance. Just as it’s rare for me to actually crash nowadays (usually in the rain on a bike I hate.) It takes a LOT for me to feel like I narrowly escaped death. Today it happened.