Once Upon a Time…

 

 

Once upon a time, last week, I had several errands to run. After mentally mapping my route, I realized I could ride my bike while checking items off my list. And so I set out…

 

For some reason, there were quite a few male senior citizens driving trucks into my path. And I was in a flippin’ bike lane, for cry-eye! When I thought about how those old dudes had probably accumulated more driving experience than most of us, I found their errant ways perplexing. I didn’t flip off anyone or anything, though I may have yelled “Fuck stick!” a few times – ahem. (I’m not perfect – duh.) But those big, bad, old wolves didn’t take me out, nor did they slow me down too much, and I continued on my way. After dropping off a gift for a friend, I went to the grocery store and the pharmacy, then I bought flowers and headed to a new-to-me liquor store.

 

When I arrived, I expected the store to be jammed as the parking lot was full of double-parked cars. But I found the store mostly empty, aside from the clerk and one other shopper. When I asked the proprietor why the parking lot was so whack-a-do, he pointed to the weed store next door. And then the other shopper said it was “Free Joint Friday.” Huh. Go figure. I knew Sazeracs awaited, so I wasn’t tempted. (I also don’t have a weed card, so there.) Necessary items in hand, I headed home.

 

With the exception of the old, swerving coots, my ride was uneventful. And fun. And great exercise. And the day was as lovely as could be. And just as I steered onto my street, I swallowed a bug.

 

The end.

My Just Reward

 

 

Earlier this week I had some errands to run over in another part of town. You know – away from home. So I started mentally planning my trip and realized I could turn it into a bike ride. I mean – I have baskets for cry-eye – why not? So on the appointed day, I kicked the tires and took off.

 

The round trip was only about 15 miles, but that was a nice bit of exercise and I checked something off my to-do list. Right smack dab in the middle of the ride, I started getting hungry. So I began looking around for a little restaurant and a bike rack.

 

I found plenty of places to eat, but bike racks? Not so much. I couldn’t understand that, but hey – this is L.A. We love our cars, people. So I kept riding. I passed place after place, good food after good food, but no bike racks. Finally, I remembered a craft beer joint nearby. I also remembered how the owner is a biker and had bike racks installed out front for his customers. I rode to the bar, secured my wheels, went in and found a spot at the jam-packed counter and placed my order. The ‘tender asked if I wanted to run a tab or close out my order. I looked and him and said, “Dude! I can’t ride drunk! Close that bitch!” He laughed and brought me my check.

 

Now you’d think I was most looking forward to my food – a smoked duck and bacon sausage lunch special. And I was hungry and the food was good. But my just reward for all that biking? A beautiful wild ale.

 

 

I figured that beer would last me through my food and then some, but I started talking with the chick seated beside me and my food took a little longer than expected and before you knew it, I signaled the ‘tender and said, “Dude! Open that bitch! I need another drink!” We all had a good laugh and easy conversation continued. Before long, it was time to go. The ‘tender high-fived me on my way out and the counter chick and I exchanged our good-byes. I walked outside, unlocked my bike and headed home.

 

It was a good day. It really was.

Observations From the Road

 

 

Yesterday’s exercise equaled me getting out for a bike ride. It was H-A-W-T, but a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do. While I was on the road, I made a few observations (in no particular order):

 

-At one point I found myself behind a trash truck. And do you know what it smelled like? Chocolate. Where, I ask – outside of Hershey, Pennsylvania – does a trash truck smell like chocolate? I was only behind it a few seconds, but it was pleasant. Pleasant, I tell you!

-Did you know that a Birkenstock shoe could be as flat as paper? Neither did I, until I rode over one. I have no idea how long it was there on the road, or how many wheels it took to flatten it, but it was impressive just the same.

-While I was out there in the world, I stopped at a department store to look for a particular item. Apparently, if you’re shopping while wearing sweaty clothes and a bike helmet, you can only be looking for low-rent merchandise. At least that’s where all the sales clerks pointed me.

-When it’s hot outside, it feels much hotter on the road. Thank goodness I remembered to hydrate.

-It would appear that a multitude of people in L.A. are incapable of calling in their discarded bulky items for pick-up. I saw so much old furniture out there, it looked pathetic. For such a fit city, we sure are lazy.

-At one point I found myself behind a second trash truck. And do you know what it smelled like? Trash. Go figure.

 

These were only a few of the observations I made on the road. The rest were either too dirty or forgotten. It was a heat, I tell ya. A heat!

My Old Bike

 

 

This is me on my old bike. I had just gotten it, as a hand-me-down, and I think the love and appreciation shows.

 

I had decided I wanted a bicycle. But as I can be a bit, um, frugal, I just couldn’t bring myself to pay a honking lot of money. It was one of those times when the universe was listening: right after deciding, a friend told me she had gotten a new bike and I could have her old one. Hallelujah!

 

The first thing I did was pump up the tires. Then I took the old gal to a local bike shop, where they put on a new chain, front & rear baskets and a new seat. Pink – thank-you-very-much. I added the handlebar streamers & Elvis horn and got myself a lock. I was thrilled.

 

I started riding her as much as I could. For exercise. Errands. Fun. After a short while, someone told me I should really be riding with a helmet. I listened and found myself a shiny, pink topper for safety.

 

Why all the bicycle chatter? Because I’ve just said goodbye to my old bike. Mister insisted I get a new one. And this new gal is alright. Her brakes work perfectly. She’s just the right size for my frame. She’s lightweight. She’s, well, new.

 

My old bike was too big for me. The brakes required some finesse, and plenty of notice. She weighed a ton. It was a lot of work – riding that bike – as the brakes permanently rubbed against the wheels, creating friction and drag. A trip to the grocery store was an amazing workout, especially after the baskets were loaded. (And don’t even ask how hard it was to pedal home after loading the baskets with wine.) The truth is, riding my old bike wasn’t what you’d call easy.

 

But it sure was fun. And I put more miles on that thing than I can count. She was there for me when my car wasn’t. She was there for me when I didn’t want to pay for gas. Basically, she was there for me. And I’ll not forget that.

 

I took the baskets and the Elvis horn. They’ll be on my new bike. It isn’t quite the same, and I won’t pretend it is. Over time, I’m sure she’ll begin to look like a part of me. I’m still getting to know her. And that’s okay.

 

That old bike is now residing at her original owner’s home, where she’ll be ridden by girls at sleep-over parties and gatherings. She’ll be there when an extra ride is needed. And some lucky girl will surely struggle with the bike’s weight and brakes. But she’ll also dig that pink seat and streamers (as I left those behind). And when she feels the wind in her face and laughs with her friends, I hope she’ll be visited by the ghost in the machine. Maybe there will be an Elvis song on the breeze, as she pedals along into the adventure of her day…