It was towards the end of a 44 mile ride down the coast.
I’d planned on a half century, but got tired of riding on sand where bike path was supposed to be, and turned back short of my destination.
And yes, Manhattan Beach, I’m talking to you.
Despite that, it was a good ride, aside from multiple motorhead jerks who looked me right in the eye before pulling out directly in front of me or turning too closely across my path.
Somehow, though, I managed to resist temptation and kept my fingers wrapped firmly around my handlebars, other than to give one driver the classic school teacher “oh no you don’t” finger wag as she passed after left-crossing me. She slowed down just a moment, as if to verify exactly which finger I extended, then sped off with a small smile visible in her rear-view mirror.
In fact, it was a good enough ride that I added an extra, completely unnecessary and only slightly out of my way climb about 35 miles in.
But it was near the end of my ride as I was sitting at an intersection in Brentwood, waiting for the light to change, that I discovered my new role model.
A young man, maybe high school age, was riding a fixie up the cross street and positioned about three feet from the parked cars, exactly where he should have been.
Cars going forward were able to easily go around him; unfortunately, that wasn’t good enough for a woman who found her path to the right turn lane blocked by the rider. She was too close to the intersection to go around him and still make her turn, so she blared her horn at the sheer audacity of someone blocking her way for even a few seconds.
He looked back to see who had honked, then did something absolutely amazing.
No response, no gestures, not even a change in expression or riding position. It was almost like he didn’t care, as if the driver’s impatience and anger meant absolutely nothing to him.
He simply kept riding exactly as he had before, making his right at the intersection and getting on with his life, as she had no choice but to follow patiently behind him.
Maybe he was a teenage Zen master, maybe just unusually calm.
Or maybe he really didn’t care.
All I know is, when I grow up, I want to be just like him.
This Sunday marks the return of the LACBC’s 10th Annual River Ride, with rides of 100, 70, 50 and 35 miles, along with a 15 mile family ride and a free kid’s ride. While online registration is closed, you can still sign up the day of the event in Griffith Park.
I won’t be riding this year; instead, you can find me at the LACBC’s booth at the Autry Center, where I’ll be working as a volunteer Sunday afternoon.
Stop by and say hello if you get the chance. Or bring your computer with you and maybe I’ll autograph my blog for you.
You can warm up for River Ride with something a little more casual on Saturday, as Flying Pigeon rides to the Eagle Rock Brewery to share a pint or two.
And on Saturday, June 19th, explore art and culture with the Folk Art is Everywhere Bike Tour, an easy 3.5 mile ride through Echo Park and historic Filipinotown.
As forecast earlier Friday, a claim was filed against the city by Manny Gallegos, who recorded the now infamous You Tube video of the LAPD’s Critical Mass Takedown — before allegedly being beaten by police and having his iPhone stomped by officers in an apparent attempt to destroy the evidence.
If the claim is dismissed, as expected, his attorneys will file suit in Federal court alleging violations of his 1st, 4th and 14th Amendment rights. Reports indicate that his lawyers, the law firm of Moreno & Perez, have heard from several other cyclists claiming to be victims of the police during last week’s Critical Mass ride.
A word of advice to the city. You’re holding a losing hand — settle this case while you can, before we all end up on the hook for a lot more.
The LACBC submits a letter calling on Mayor Villaraigosa to step up and support cycling in Los Angeles in light of the Critical Mass mess:
- We urge the Mayor to work with the LAPD to actively support the bicycling community by partnering to sponsor bicycle events, including the street opening event CicLAvia.
- We urge the Mayor to work with the LADOT to immediately implement multiple high-profile bicycle lane projects already approved in the city’s 1996 Bicycle Master Plan and the 2009 Downtown Street Standards.
- We urge the Mayor to step forward and publicly voice City support for bicycling as a valid means of transportation in the City of Los Angeles.
The San Francisco police arrest a suspect accused of running down four cyclists in a deliberate hit-and-run assault after the owner of the SUV involved walked into a police station to report a carjacking; police say significant evidence points to the vehicle’s owner.
And there’s a not guilty plea in the case of a Bay Area hiking advocate charged with slashing cyclists with a hacksaw.
The LAPD offers tips to keep your bike from getting stolen. A bill to ban cell phones and texting while biking advances in the state legislature. Santa Monica High School suggests leaving the car at home, while the Santa Monica Library doubles its bike parking by removing space for just two cars. L.A. Cycle Chic offers a look at a Seersucker Social; and they say no one looks good in spandex? A Riverside rider gets dangerously buzzed — by a cop. San Diego cyclists are ordered to keep their clothes on during the Naked Bike Ride. NBC Sports looks at the upcoming Race Across America, which kicks off in Oceanside this Tuesday. Oakland has an exhibit on bikes in the airport. A rolling stone gathers no moss, but no one said anything about bikes. Evidently, we’re facing a spreading epidemic of jerk drivers. Riding from Austin to Anchorage to beat cancer, while a priest rides cross county to fight poverty. A Tucson rider gets his bike back over a month after it was stolen. Springfield Cyclist encounters a foolish rider desperately in need of an education in safe cycling. Rap stars and racers converge at the Harlem Cycling Classic. Advice on what not to do when you’re hit by a car, by someone who just went through it. What you get when you cross a bike seat with a sex toy. Portraits of everyday cyclists in South Africa. An Oxford student demonstrates how to steal a bike in broad daylight as unconcerned bystanders look on. A new British study shows that spending for cycling returns a minimum of three dollars (or pounds) for every $1 invested. German scientists invent a helmet that smells like stinky cheese when it needs to be replaced.
Finally, in non-biking news, the Westside’s long-planned Subway to the Sea and other L.A. are rail projects may actually be built in our lifetime finally become a reality, as the Obama administration officially endorses the Mayor’s 30/10 plan.