Sometimes, it seems like it’s all just too much.
From last week’s near-fatal allergy attack (that is, near-fatal in the sense that I felt like I was going to die, and wished I could just get it over with, already), to election campaigns in which the politics of fear and character assassination have replaced ideas hope — or compassion, for that matter.
Let alone trying to put together an email to raise funds for my brother’s dog sled team up in Alaska so he can compete in next year’s Iditarod, while simultaneously trying to find enough work to replace that new job that fell through last month.
Then there’s a part of me, as a former Colorado boy, that dies just a little every time I look out our window and see that familiar West L.A. skyline instead of snow-capped mountains.
So I put on a little Chris LeDoux — a genuine working cowboy and rodeo rider from just up the road in Wyoming who sang about, well, genuine working cowboys and rodeo riders, among other things — got myself together, and hopped onto my bike.
As I rode, I found myself transported back to the high plains, surrounded by native grasses as high as my shoulder, riding along trails once trod by the Apache, Arapaho, Comanche, Ute, Pawnee, Crow and Blackfoot tribes. Where the buffalo did, in fact, roam, and the antelope still play, and where I once watched a red fox (as opposed to Redd Foxx) casually stalk his prey, apparently unconcerned by the hawk circling high above.
Or I might have been high up in the Colorado Rockies, riding through groves of golden aspen and breathtaking vistas, with the occasional deer or elk standing alongside the road. Sometimes I’d see a bear rise up on his hind legs to watch me go by, trying to figure out what the hell kind of spandex-clad creature I was. Or maybe just calculating whether he could catch me, and if I’d be better with mustard or a nice Bordeaux reduction.
But then I ran into yet another movie crew needlessly blocking the bike lane to protect their massive trucks from encroaching cyclists, and found myself jolted back to the mean streets of Los Angeles as I was forced to take a lane in heavy, impatient traffic.
But I ended my reveries feeling a little brighter, and hopeful that hope is still stronger than fear — even in an election year. And happy once again to be right here where I am, in this ongoing love/hate relationship with L.A.
And I know that if life gets to be too much, I can just hop in the saddle and ride off into the sunset.
Even if that is just seven and half miles from here.
Damien and Will recap the first tour de Ballona, while Gary and Alex travel to New York for Bike Kill 666, where Alex revels in being a scofflaw while Gary contemplates traffic and God. Meanwhile, Timur relates his experiences at the first Bike Town Beta (man, I missed a busy weekend!), and creates a user-editable Google map for the local cycling community, to which I intend to contribute now that my pre-cyber era brain has finally figured out how it works. Flying Pigeon is hosting another Dim Sum ride from downtown to Alhambra, including free test rides. Streetsblog reports on why Americans don’t use bike lanes and bike paths. If they asked the question here, I think the most popular answer would be, “They don’t go anywhere”, followed by “I don’t want to get mugged.” And finally, it has nothing to do with cycling, but the Times is running a great series on the L.A.P.D.’s anti-gang squad from the city’s infamous noir era, with notable characters including Bugsy Seigal and Mickey Cohen.