Friday, July 30, 2010

A Worthy Distraction

(A brief look into a bright section of my evening that has something to do with being car-less in Los Angeles, if not entirely. Phrases/words have been bolded for purposes of relevance.)

On the Orange Line this evening, while on the way home from a free concert at Pershing Square, I met an adorable 26-year-old Ecuadorian doctor. He plays guitar, which is what sparked our conversation. I asked if he's tried playing piano. He said, no, it's far too difficult. My observation is that those who play guitar find it difficult to play piano, and those who play piano find it difficult to play guitar. I mentioned that I've played piano since I was three years old and can't imagine playing guitar. Cute. Glasses. Scruff. Nice hands.

I told him I take the bus and ride my bicycle nearly everywhere. We empathized on the idea that getting from one place to another is challenging without a car, but it's nice travelling by bicycle. Good for the legs. He doesn't mind taking public transportation, but at times minds the wait and the over-planning. I told him that it's likely that I'll have a car in six to eight months or so, but even then I won't see the need to drive it every day. Why every day, when you live in Los Angeles? (Talking more weather than actual commute, to be honest. Of course it all depends.)

He's so darned cute. He'll be leaving in two months. Still, the idea of two months is a decent enough distraction. Of course we exchanged numbers. There will either be coffee in the future, or I may never see him again. Who knows? Who cares? All that matters is that I walked home from my stop at Balboa Station with a lighter step than I have in months.

Friday, July 23, 2010

We Heart Bicycles

I've been watching a lot of television streamed from Netflix's instant queue lately and online (via official websites, okay? I am not a pirate) which has made me realize how excited I am whenever I see a bicycle on a TV show or in a movie. In fact, I swear that I can actually feel my ears perk up every time. (Maybe it's just my brow lifting, but it's all the same motion - upwards.) The two most recent instances I can recall this happening are (a) regularly on Arrested Development (Michael Bluth [Jason Bateman's] bicycle and (b) on an episode of LOST... during the final season there was a bicycle in Jack's apartment. It meant nothing to the symbolism of the show, but I noticed it.

I'm sure there's more somewhere, but that's what I'm reminded of right off the bat. Oh yeah, on Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit, the district attorney at the time - I think it was Casey Novak - rode her bicycle to the courthouse; they dedicated a brief scene to it. Movies - Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, obviously. The Goonies. ET. And Juno... see?! Bicycles are fabulous and most everyone agrees that it feels good to hop on one and fly through the air with the greatest of ease and that it would be a moot point to even try to argue that it isn't. Sure, that's bias you smell, but naturally it's based on truth.

Perhaps one day - before I get the nerve to move to New York, that is - I'll feel the same way about public transportation in Southern California. I can even mention a couple of movies/music videos that have featured a Metro Red Line subway car/station. But trust me, this is not Manhattan, nor is it San Francisco, or Boston, or Paris. Hell, it isn't even San Diego... at least it isn't on this side of the hill.


How about you? This was really a quick list, but can you think of any movies/TV shows that have featured bikes in which your radar went off like "Aw, yeah!"?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

She Lives, Breathes, and Rides

It feels so good to be back. I haven't really gone anywhere, not physically at least. Although if I run into some extra money I might do a weekend on the East coast before the end of the year, but I digress. For a reason or two I needed to take a little break, and gosh, may I just say that I'm glad you're still here.

It isn't exactly news, but the temperatures have finally risen to their seasonable highs, and it's sure not an exception in Los Angeles. Anywhere from 95 to 100+ degrees has been the norm, but I swear every summer the rise of the mercury still surprises me. Walk outside just to run to the corner store and all your energy is sapped. I can't imagine being super-active in this weather. Although wait - I have been.

I didn't purchase a Metro pass this month. Mainly in an attempt to save some money and better use my bicycle for local errands - especially since my hybrid got a flat I've been lazy in fixing as of yet - I have been using my old road bike to get around town, for fun, etc. With the exception of the rear brake not working well and the fact that I'm still adjusting to the height and lack of cages, it really works insanely well. Because of all of those things, it is more of a "get around town" bicycle than a "get around town then climb a hill and add another twenty or thirty miles to the mix" like my hybrid is. In either case, I've reached my goal of saving money and also have been able to survive the summer despite the reduced use of the air-conditioned interiors of buses or subways.

Maybe it's just me, but I can deal with heat better than I can deal with rain. I won't ride in the rain, at least not intentionally. Perhaps it's the thought that it's easier to cool down than it is to dry off - especially when commuting. In an attempt to survive the heat I've been doing the stuff that needs doing indoors during the day - writing, writing, more writing, with the occasional errand being run - and venturing out during the twilight hours when the sun has decided to be a little kinder to us all.

Anyway, I'm glad to have made a glass half full situation out of the whole thing. It only reaffirms it with me that, no matter how you look at it, it's always a good time to ride.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Running Cycling Thoughts

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." -- Albert Einstein

Apparently Einstein came up with the theory of relativity while riding his bicycle. If so, I think that I might start riding my bike a bit more. Me? I'm trying to figure out life. I think I've been trying to figure out life since I started working at thirteen, but at the present moment I'm going through everything. Money, people, politics of all kinds - and with all that comes the clutter. So, while on the bike this afternoon, I was able to let run through my mind the following thoughts:

-Damn. I really should have put on sunscreen.

-I really wish there was a workable market in Southern California for bicycle messengers. Can't you imagine it? Girls in tight jeans and tank tops messengering your stuff around town? I could totally do that. (Editor's Note: No, there are not bicycle messenger jobs in Los Angeles. Another pipe-dream-fueled reason to consider moving to New York.)

-What the... why the hell are you riding on the wrong side of the street? Do you want to die? If you die, you're not going to get where you need to go faster.

-I love riding in traffic. I don't understand what everyone's talking about, this "danger in the street" stuff. Riding on the sidewalk is not the way to go, especially with this gloriously winding street beneath me. It feels like I'm on a speedway. Ah, yes, I'm riding in the street, car turning left. Oh yes, I am going nearly 25 MPH. Go ahead, look. I'm looking right back at you. The better for you to not kill me.

-With Metro raising its monthly rate to $75 from $62 this month, I'm going to try to make the best of my bicycle, with more than just trips to the store or recreational riding. It's time to think outside of the box. My core and lower body will thank me.

-Why are there chickens by the lake? Does anyone else see this?

-I'm going to take my friend up on his dare and post a poll on Midnight Ridazz inquiring persons attracted to women of their opinion of women on bicycles. More so I'd love to know how other women feel when riding. Three years of riding and I still sometimes feel a little inadequate. Other times, however, I feel sexy. There's something about pedaling hard and fast only to stop at a light and feel a thin layer of sweat begin to cool my chest and torso. It can't be just me.

-I'm glad I didn't end up buying a car with my savings. Knowing how life can go sometimes, it could have meant the difference between living on the funds for the car and living in the car. (Okay, so that's not really funny. America needs some serious help. Hopefully some sense will come into the Senate when summer recess is over.)

-I really need to tune into Keith Olbermann tonight. And Rachel Maddow. I wonder if Rachel rides a bicycle... (be still, my beating <3)

-This street... freshly paved; smells like warm asphalt. And, oh boy, the trees lining it have formed a canopy of interlocking branches, like fingers against the backs of palms. Way to remind me of the one summer the street around the corner from the one I grew up on was re-paved and the trees had grown in. That's where you'd find us roller-blading. Falling down and roller-blading.

So yeah, nothing nearly as profound as Einstein's theories, but what were you really expecting? I think I got in a good twenty miles today, and more things hammered out than expected. Interesting what running errands and a detour around the lake can do for one's mental Rolodex.

I was thinking might do something like I did a few months ago and try to ride somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 miles on the bicycle this month. Any takers?