Only in L.A. could a quick spin along the coast lead result in a Greasy Weiner, getting chased by a Balrog and discovering a badly malfunctioning calendar.
Let’s take that in reverse order.
On an otherwise hot and sunny August day, I rolled into Venice and stopped near the pier to scarf down a quick snack. And found myself suddenly transported into mid-January, as the fog rolled in and the temperature dropped a dozen or so degrees in a matter of minutes.
Maybe it’s just me, but I want a do-over on this summer. While the rest of the country has sweltered in record-breaking heat, L.A. cyclists have been donning cold weather gear when we head to the beach.
In August, no less.
Fortunately, the skies cleared a few hundred yards north as I continued on my way, even if it didn’t warm up all that much. Then as I approached Santa Monica, a work crew was setting up the stage for that evening’s concert on the pier.
Evidently, they were doing a sound check, using a bass drum to tap out a steady rhythm so they could check out the levels.
Maybe I’ve read the Lord of the Rings too many times over the years. But as soon as I entered the tunnel under the pier, the boom of the drum reverberating through the timbers, I was instantly transported to the Mines of Moria, with an angry Balrog hot on my trail.
Doom. Doom. Doom…
Fortunately, I managed to escape out the other side, without the assistance of Gandalf the Grey. And found myself surrounded with something far more frightening — a path clogged with tourists as far as the eye could see.
I’ll take Balrogs and Orcs over tourists any day. Nothing personal.
Somehow, though, after numerous stops and starts, swerves and shouted warnings, I managed to make it past the pier area and continued north to where the path ends, dumping riders who want to continue just a little further into the parking lot above Temescal Canyon.
And as I rounded the curve into the final lot, I spotted one of the leading celebrities in L.A.’s food truck boom.
It could just be me. But there was something funny as hell in the idea of stumbling upon a Greasy Weiner on the beach.
Maybe I just need a little more sleep.
In the most shocking news since the Mayor’s conversion to bike activist, a rollerblader is actually ticketed for skating on the Marvin Bruade bike path in Manhattan Beach — despite years of nearly universally ignored “bike only” markings. According to the Beach Reporter,
But the juxtaposition of bicycles, joggers, skateboarders and rollerbladers can lead to disaster on the bike path, according to city police, and bike path violations lead to an infraction and court date.
“It’s dangerous,” said Manhattan Beach Traffic Lt. Andy Harrod. “Bicycles and skaters and joggers just don’t mix.”
Note to Santa Monica: Evidently, it’s actually possible to enforce that restriction, after all. Who knew, huh? Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.
The media jumps in on the helmet debate, as an ER physician says wearing a helmet is “the single most important thing you can do to determine whether you live or die” in a bike accident, while the BBC notes it may not offer as much protection as you think. A Chicago writer and bike commuter says she didn’t know the subject was up for debate, but Obama has decided to wear one after all; I wonder if the GOP will call that a flip-flop. And bike injuries and deaths cost the country over $5 billion a year.
(For anyone who’s not clear on the subject, I’m for helmet use but against making them mandatory, with all due apologies to our new mayoral BFF.)
The last of the year’s Grand Tours kicks off this weekend, as the legendary Vuelta a España — aka, Tour of Spain — starts with a team time trial; Contador is out, which means the field is wide open. My money is on Andy Schleck, but I’d like to see what a healthy Christian Vande Velde can do.
In upcoming events:
Chinatown Summer Nights hosts its final weekend in Downtown’s Chinatown District from 5 pm to midnight, with DJs, food trucks, and cultural and cooking demonstrations, among other activities; free bike valet courtesy of LACBC.
Sunday must be volunteer day; CicLAvia is looking for volunteers for outreach canvassing along the CicLAvia route, starting at 3:30 pm on the 29th at Shatto Park; other volunteer opportunities will take place over the coming weeks. Email CicLAviaVolunteer [at] gmail.com if you’d like to pitch in.
LACBC hosts their second monthly mixer from 6 to 8 pm on Wednesday, September 1st at LACBC’s Downtown headquarters, 634 S. Spring Street. It’s a great chance to meet the staff, learn what the organization is doing and maybe even join up yourself or bring in a prospective member.
The curtain parts on the L.A. Bicycle Film Festival this Wednesday, September 1st and runs through the 5th; check the website for schedule and locations.
Flying Pigeon hosts a book signing with photographer and former D.A. Gil Garcetti (you may also know his son Eric) for his book Paris: Women and Bicycles on Thursday, September 9 at 7:30 pm. I had a chance to look it over at this year’s River Ride; if you love beautiful photographs of beautiful women on beautiful bikes in one of the world’s most beautiful cities — and who doesn’t? — this is a beautiful opportunity to meet the man behind the lens.
Make your plans for Parking Day LA on Sept. 17th.
Celebrate the third anniversary of C.R.A.N.K. MOB at C.R.A.N.K.MAS III, 9 pm on Saturday, September 18th and 7 am Sunday, September 19th; costumes mandatory.
Explore the effects of bicycles on art and culture at the Grand Opening of Re:Cycle — Bike Culture in Southern California, October 7th – 9th, at U.C. Riverside’s newly relocated Sweeney Art Gallery at the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts, 3834 Main Street in downtown Riverside. A reception will be held from 6 – 10 pm Thursday, October 7th; the exhibition continues through December 31st.
Streetsblog reports on Wednesday’s fundraiser. Gary looks back at last Sunday’s successful Tour da Arts. A San Diego cyclist rides 15 miles to celebrate surviving a near fatal head-on collision one year earlier. Courtesy of Cyclelicious, a common sense guide for fat cyclists; one thing I’ve noticed about overweight riders, if you keep at it, you probably won’t be overweight very long. Your next bike jersey could be made from coffee beans; that should perk you up on those early morning rides. An Iowa cycling champion is seriously injured in a collision with a car. An NYC cyclist is critically injured in a hit-and-run. An OKC writer says the roads are crowded with bad and inexperienced drivers, so bikes don’t belong on there; it’s been a long time since I studied Logic in college, but something just doesn’t seem right with that argument. Yet another misguided bike ban, as a Texas town bans bikes from any roads under construction; seriously, they swear it’s for our own safety. Baltimore bikers are getting beaten up by teenagers; maybe they should ban bikes there so we’ll be protected from B-town beat downs. The Onion says Lance has something to tell us, but you have to promise not to get mad (remember, it’s satire, folks). Should London’s bike share program provide helmets for riders who want them? A tip for lazy riders: pick a route with lots of hills. One more reason to ride — you won’t have to drive a car that runs on fecal matter.
Finally, now Copenhagen cyclists get bike butlers to pamper their illegally parked bikes; I need to live a good life so I can go there when I die.