28 April 2008

viva ciclismo

yesterday in my daily web searching for the end of the internet, i stumbled across a bike advocacy group based in LA called cicle. seems kind of like an oxymoron, no? so i stayed on this site awhile and i have to say i really enjoyed the "properganda" and bike stickers they have. they are reminiscent of communist propaganda posters back in the day. and frankly, i like the way they look. it worked on me! here's the girl one:

here's the boy one:

i was happy to discover this is going on in LA should i ever need to relocate. i know that there are like minded people there after all.

speaking of which, i've been off the bike for a good two weeks tending to an ankle injury. i don't know exactly how i got it, but i do know for certain that it hurt, so i stayed off of it until it felt better. that meant no bike and little walking, and those are the two things i truly enjoy doing during the day. not being able to do them made me even more grumpy than usual. so i holed up here trying to find the end of the internet. sometimes i thought i did find it, but evidently i was wrong.

so this weekend was the first weekend the ankle told me it was ok to do things again. and somehow i convinced the boo to stop pretending he was going to fix his bike, and just fix it already. i told him i needed to clean mine since my leg kept getting dirty every time i rode (pre-ankle "injury"). we went to our local bike kitchen. every major city should have one of these places. it's basically a community bike garage where you can do repairs yourself. since space is scare in cities for a whole garage full of personal bike tools, nothing could be better than a community bike garage. i'm one woman who, if taught, could definitely feel at home with a tool belt and a garage. and it's not just because i'm good at assembling ikea furniture either, although i will admit that is where i discovered my latent talent for assembling things together with tools. i wont lie either, it feels empowering to be able to fix things yourself and not pay someone (likely a dude) to do it. i taught myself to change the flat on my bike and that was great. i can do it very quickly now if need be. took me awhile the first time, but it's all part of the process.

back to the bike kitchen. so the boo and i went early saturday afternoon. i learned how to clean my chain and i scraped the rust off of the lil parts all over my bike. my poor bicicleta has to be outside when it rains, and it started to rust due to a couple of years of neglect. but i scraped off the rust, along w/ some parts of my hand, and now she's glistening. and the chain! that was the best thing ever. feels like a whole new bike. like riding on a cloud. so then the boo and i took our souped up bikes out for a teeny ride. he hadn't been on it for awhile, so i promised to take it slow. we rode to the water and then ate some excellent, but if HELLA (yes, i said it) greasy fries w/ skins. the veggie burger was super delicious as well. my god. and the sun was bright and slightly unforgiving. i got a nerdy glasses tan on the nose, and a hair elastic tan on my wrist, along with slightly burned shoulders.

then we rode past his work and then home for him to time how long it would take him. there was a kinda nasty hill on the way, and i beared down and rode to the top. then i looked behind me. no sign of the boo. my road bike left him and his mountain bike out in the cold. after we met up again, i took him around to a few places, then rode home and watched estooopid movies and ate sushi!

that was a good day.

then yesterday i called up my regular bike gang since i wanted to go on a RIDE. the bike gang already had the same idea, so we met up at the usual place and then managed to collect a member who is going through finals, but couldn't resist the lure of the sun. it was one of those rare days where one didn't need pants or a light jacket to ride out to the beach. so the four of us hopped on our bikes, after one beer, and roderoderode. then....BAM. one of our members got a flat. i had a patch kit, but no one had a pump. my frame is so small that i can't fit my water bottle AND a pump at the same time. so, there ya go. so that cut our ride a little short, and since we were almost at the water, where the bike stores are few and far between, we ended walking back uphill to the nearest place, about 30 min on foot. on the way i learned how to balance my right foot on my left pedal, use my left foot as the kicker and coast. i couldn't do it at first, but then it became more like a biking skateboard. or a skateboarding bike would perhaps be more appropriate.

then we rode to one of my fav bike-friendly cafes. (my true favorite one is mojo though. can't beat an actual bike store/cafe in one place!) then i beat one brother in connect four twice, then his brother beat me three times in a row. i gladly gave the game to a 4 yr old who ran to us and wanted it so bad he couldn't help himself! he was adorable. then we rode back to the park where a portion of it on sundays is blocked off to cars. so we were riding casually and all of a sudden the flat tired member wanders just in the side and in front of me. his back tire hits my front one and down my bike goes. i somehow managed to jump out of the clips on my pedals and land on my feet. i told him i was really glad i didn't fall on the ground because i would have landed on glass and my arms and legs were exposed. apparently he was avoiding the glass (which is what gave him the flat in the first place) and scratching his head under his helmet at the same time. he only had one hand on his handlebars and i guess he spaced out or something. i don't know. anyway, he just rode too close to me, and i was more than a little scared that i was going to be pulling glass out of my arms the rest of the day. but my reflexes were quick and everything was fine. on the way through the panhandle, there was the four of us and we were behind these other two bikers. there was a group of three behind us too. the path we were on is full of bikers, walkers, runners, dogs, kids and parents. it was very crowded with people going every which way and then i saw the person in the front on the ground all of a sudden. apparently i said "oh hell no, " and i remember not even five minutes ago i nearly got in an accident. for a second i envisioned the 11 of us all on top of each other spread out with legs and arms everywhere with bike wheels turning through all the mess and pedestrians shaking their heads. anyway, of course that didn't happen. but the first six of us were riding very tight, meaning if i stopped suddenly, i would have been hit from behind or if the person in front of me did that i would have hit her. so i went right and rode over the grass to miss the first biker. apparently he got stuck on the part where the paved path meets the grass. there was a particularly muddy part that grabbed his back wheel and just didn't let go. why he rode over that since he was on a fixie, i have no idea, but whatever, it happened.

so we were riding back home anyway, but that sealed the deal. we went home, played scrabble, and things were right in the world again.

it was a great weekend. and again, here for your viewing pleasure, are only some the many many benefits of riding a bicicleta...wrapped up in a cute picture. enjoy

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