Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Riding in LA is Not Relaxing: The Most Craptastic Bike Ride Ever

Riding is supposed to reduce stress, right? RIGHT!?

Not in Los Angeles.

I usually try not to cuss. But in the event that someone tries to kill me, a steady flow of very colorful language begins to bubble in my brain, and it's only a matter of time until it comes out of my middle finger, or my mouth.

I cannot describe the bus that came within a quarter of an inch of running me over on a sweeping right uphill turn today. It looked like a purple 1960s VW van on steroids--twice as long and twice as tall with twice as many wheels. I thought the front of the darn thing came too close to me--then the rest of it cut the corner where I happened to be riding.

Purple Bus

(Kinda looked like that, without the fancy paint job.)

I turned to look left, and it's a good thing I didn't swerve in the direction of my head, or I'd ve been flattened. The thing kept coming and coming and getting closer and closer and I was between it, a curb, and a nice tumble down a hill.

The finger emerged. And things I wanted to say to that mother... started brewing in my brain. He turned to park in the Malaga Cove parking lot, and I, a usually non confrontational person, decided he needed to be ripped a new one.

I waited while he wedged his purple beast into a parking spot. Back and forth. Back and forth. Finally he put it into park. Then, slowly, he opened the door on my side, apparently where he exits from the beast, and slowly put a foot onto the step down.

It was at that moment I realized I had every intention of laying it into a 60 year-old man with a cane and Mr. Magoo glasses.

Mr. Magoo

My opening line, "Hey a-hole, was it really that f-ing hard to see the neon yellow vest?" would've been completely lost on the guy. He probably didn't see my acid-pee colored yellow vest. At all. Or have the spatial capacity to know what the 20 feet of bus behind him does when he turns a corner.

I gave up my adrenaline-fueled potential tirade and continued on my ride, later thinking I should've had a cop investigate the validity of the guy's driver's license.

Just when I neared the right turn from PV Drive East onto Crest, the final ascent of the "PV Loop", some guy laid on his horn. He apparently could not wait 2 seconds longer to turn right. My middle finger got antsy. My brain started churning. What I would say to that guy if he hadn't sped away like a sissy...

"Hey, a-hole," (I need a better opener) "I realize you and half of the other people who live here can't afford the houses you live in, and you're probably rushing home in your '90s era Lexus to see if there's a "Bank Owned" sign in front of your property...blah blah blah."

It's probably a good thing I always keep my cycling rage zingers to myself. I only come up with them because I have the time while I'm riding. If forced to come up with something on the spot, I'd probably have to settle with a, "Hey!...Jerk!" Not quite as snappy, but way lower on the "Erin's gonna get her arse whooped-O-Meter".

Being angry got me to the top of the climb in record time.

Finally, one mile from home, completely frazzled from what was supposed to be my "happy time" cycling, I nearly became the victim of a suicide squirreler, as described by Steve Madden in a Bicycling editorial not that long ago.

Commando Squirrel

The little thing darted out at me and I thought for sure he was going to attempt to commit suicide in my wheel, terroristically killing me with him. Or mangling me. He screeched. My breaks screeched. The fuzzball wussed out at the last moment and we both went on our terrified ways.

Oh, Silver Bullet, why do I love you so? Why must I ride you every chance I get, when eating chocolate cake can provide the same endorphin rush without the piss-offifying, near-death experiences that come every time we get together?

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