Yesterday, I offered my heart to a stranger

Please don’t bury me in that cold cold ground; I’d rather have them cut me up and pass me all around. — John Prine, Please Don’t Bury Me

The other day I found myself at my bank, transferring a couple of accounts I never bothered to move from my old bank in San Diego, despite over 20 years of living in L.A.

Much to my surprise, when I handed them my drivers license to prove I really am who I say I am — yeah, like a lot of people want to pass themselves off as moderately broke, semi-self-unemployed bike writers these days — they handed it back.

“Do you have a valid ID instead?” the banker asked. And sure enough, when I looked at my license, it had expired.

Five months ago.

For some reason, I never received the automatic renewal form a clean driving record should have merited. And since I’m long past the age when bartenders ask for ID, and I seldom write checks, I’d never noticed the deadline had passed.

So yesterday I took the bus down to the DMV, and after a $31 check and a two-hour wait, I had my new temporary license in hand.

And I was, for the first time, a registered organ donor.

I don’t know why I never did it before. Partly squeamishness, partly a desire to meet my maker in as close to original condition as possible, I suppose.

But I’d been thinking about it ever since GT pointed me to the story of a local cyclist killed without warning in a freak accident.

Jeff Bayly’s death was such a heart-rending tragedy that it reminded me that anything can happen, anytime. And if it should ever happen to me, I want some good to come out of it.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that cycling is inherently dangerous. I probably face more risk slipping in the shower than I do even on the worst streets of L.A. And I’d certainly face a far greater health risk if I spent my time on the couch instead of in the saddle.

But things happen.

So while I plan to live a good, long life and annoy my loving wife for as long as possible, I want to make sure someone, somewhere, benefits in case I don’t.

Because even at the advanced age of 53, I still have a few good parts left.


Notice for anyone planning to attend today’s TranspoComm meeting with special guest star LAPD Chief Beck — the session has been moved from its usual site in Room 1010 to the City Council Chambers on the third floor.


Arnold joins the husband of the current Secretary of State for a Health, Nutrition and Obesity summit right here in Los Angeles; I wonder how many local cycling groups/advocates were invited to participate?


Hey, HuffPo backs CicLAvia, just like me (more on that next week). Does a split between founding members threaten the new South Bay Bicycle Coalition? Cyclists confront bike-unfriendly Beverly Hills, and see a possible shift in attitude. Long Beach’s cycling expats explore Marfa, Texas. Cycling lawyer Bob Mionske cuts through the posturing to put Portland’s new 2030 in context — including Long Beach and yes, Los Angeles. Alta Design’s attempt to build a more bike-friendly Southern California spreads to San Diego. A San Diego area bike path poses a hazard to cyclists; so what else is new? Beautiful views of the Chicago skyline captured in the puddles left by melting snow. DC area governments respond to budget cuts by slashing bike plan funding. Despite numerous calls to ban them, one city explicitly allows fixed-gear bikes. Not surprisingly, NYC’s new law mandating bike access results in high bike parking charges. A cycling J.R.R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame compared auto infrastructure in Oxford to the destructions of Saruman and the Dark Lord. The BBC offers a biased bashing of Brit cyclists. Two-time Formula 1 champ Fernando Alonzo considers forming a cycling team with buddy and two-time Tour de France champ Alberto Contador. Twenty-one months in jail for the driver who killed an army major taking part in a Cambridgeshire time trial last year. UK Grocery giant Tesco offers bike skills classes and considers adding bike departments to its stores — think bikes next to buns at your local Vons.

Finally, you don’t have to speak Hungarian to understand this great bike-to-work ad campaign. And if the last one doesn’t make you want to hop on a bike — if not your significant other — nothing will.


  1. tracywilkins says:

    I also pledged to become an organ donor for the first time when I renewed my license on January. Not sure why I had never done it before. Maybe it’s just the age we’ve reached…..

    • bikinginla says:

      You may be right; as I get older, I have a far better sense of the inevitability of le morte d’moi than I had even a few years ago. No one gets out of this world alive.