Joannnnnnn Zwagerman’s world famous Fun Donut Ride had a star invitee yesterday, the galactically famous Phil Gaimon, he of the cookie monster, of the Cookie Fondo, of the Stravver-smashing, and of the No Kid Hungry that raises money to feed children.
The combo of JZ’s call-to-arms and Phil’s call-to-cookies meant that the parking lot of Miramar Park at Redondo Beach was filled with cyclists who wanted to pedal down to Giant-Santa Monica, scarf fun donuts, swill boiling coffee, and enjoy a spectacular day cycling in Los Angeles, THE WORST CITY ON EARTH TO RIDE A BIKE, with the exception of all other places on earth to ride a bike.
We started off with Dear Leader being appointed ride leader, and he swelled up (predictably) knowing that he was really benefiting from the white privilege of owning a Lamborghini, for being a multi-millionaire, for inheriting all his wealth from his father, and for acting like one of those rich kids that fill the South Bay who have never earned anything on their own a day in their life. I started at the back enjoying the company of Colin Zwagerman, new cyclist newly fitted out on a retro Raleigh, buffed, tuned, and spit-polished by the Bike Palace for the incredible deal of $150. Colin was being officially initiated in the mysteries of riding in the South Bay, and as Dear Leader shouted instructions to the sheep, Colin was inculcated with Rule 1: Dear Leader has lots of inherited wealth from daddy, so STFU.
More impressive was Colin’s and my conversation about … philosophy. There aren’t many brilliant science-math students enrolled at one of the country’s finest universities who shrug it all off and throw in with the misfits, dreamers, visionaries, and idea-lovers that comprise the rubric “major in philosophy,” but Colin had, and as a former philosophy major and parent of a philosophy major and son of a philosophy major, it was pretty exciting to me.
Of course it wasn’t as exciting as listening to Dear Leader screech “Tree! House! Sky! Hole in road! Bump on forehead! Booger in ear! Stop sign! Slowing! Red light! Green light! Going!” but it was close.
I endured it for a really long time, about three minutes, before riding to the front and taking away the lead from Ride Leader like a mean playground bully yanking a lollipop away from a three-year old. Dear Leader was livid. “I was appointed ride leader!” he pouted, after which I sent him to the back of the bus without any Lamborghini for dinner.
From Redondo through Hermosa Kevin regaled me with the amazing story of his family Europe vacation in ’72 when his father had taken an old VW bus named Rasmussen and driven across the continent with his family, camping and exposing them to the joys of real travel. The best part of the story was when his badass 13-year-old older sister, having gotten all the culture and family time she could stand, abandoned the family at a campground in Ukraine and flew back to Copenhagen, booking herself in a 5-star hotel until the family returned.
In Manhattan Beach, Phil rolled to the fore and we pedaled on this brilliant day to the bike shop. En route we met a dude on a low-rider, playing jams from his sound box. He was stoked to ride with us for a bit, but we couldn’t keep up with his motor assist, so we waved goodbye and that was that. When we got to the bike shop, Joann raffled off some amazing, incredible Wanky socks, a Pedal Mafia jersey and a helmet donated by Giant-Santa Monica, as well as a changing tent made by Carbana.
I saw Kevin munching one of the fried-dough delicacies. “How are the donuts?” I asked.
He looked at me pityingly. “Uh, Seth,” he said. “Have you ever had a bad donut?”
“Good point,” I said, and snatched one for myself.
JZ then walked the shop floor collecting donations for No Kid Hungry, and the assembled crew coughed up $260, coming more than halfway to hitting the goal of $400, which is extraordinary given how cheap the average cyclist is. You’d think that someone who owns apartment buildings in the Bay Area, beachfront property in LA, and a Lamborghini would gladly, if not out of shame, make good the whole amount, but one thing we know about rich brats masquerading as liberals is that THEY GET RICH AND STAY RICH BY TAKING IN FISTFULS AND GIVING OUT CRUMBS.
However, at day’s end one of JZ’s friends, upon learning that the goal hadn’t been met, kicked in the remaining $160. Needless to say, she wasn’t a cyclist.
The ride back to the South Bay was equally stunning. My day had started off at 4:30 AM with three hours of climbing/TT intervals doing loops around the infamous WSPL+kickerz route, and it finished with a peaceful climb back home, but not before we spied a buddy with his bike half-stuffed in the back of an Uber.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Flat and no spare,” he said. “And now we can’t get the bike into the back of the Uber.”
The Uber driver nodded. “Trunk won’t close.”
I applied some whiz-bang Wanky analysis to the physics problem at hand. “Gents,” I said, “I can get that bike in the trunk quicker than a freshly-Vaselined finger doing a rectal exam.”
The Uber driver was skeptical. “We have been working on it and it won’t go in. We have tried everything.”
I dipped my hand in the Vaseline jar, took the bike out of the trunk whipped off the rear wheel, and easily slid in the frame. Everyone stared. Then laughed. And then we left.
JZ and Phil had raised some money for hungry kids, the crew had had a fun day on the bike, I had slid a bike into a tiny trunk, and say what you will, I’ll take a skinny donut over a fat cookie any day of the week.