Kind of a long commute

Yesterday’s commute to Yucaipa using MetroLink + bike came out to just over 100 miles. I left at 5:10 AM and got home at 6:00 PM. It was pretty glorious, starting the ride in the middle of LA, then hopping off the train and pedaling from San Bernardino to Yucaipa.

There were snow-capped mountains in the background, zero traffic, wide roads, and even adventure. I got lost and had to pedal through an avocado grove as I tried to find my way onto a dirt utility road that “I was sure” led to pavement “somewhere.”

An angry farmwife came running out. “Get out of here! This is private property!”

I was already out of the grove and onto the utility road. “Sorry!” I hollered back. “I’m lost!”

“I don’t give a damn! DON’T COME BACK!”

The utility road was rough, so rough that I punctured my rear 36mm tubeless. It was my first ever puncture on a tubeless, and aside from covering my ass and backpack with sealant, it worked perfectly and I pedaled on. As I surmised, the dirt road led to pavement, then to a beautiful, short climb up Sand Canyon Road down into Yucaipa.

On the way home, while waiting for the train in San Bernardino, I ate lunch, a roast beef sandwich with cheese and bell pepper, bookended with two pieces of my homemade sourdough rye-wheat-seet bread. I washed it down with coffee.

Inside the train a guy parked his bike next to mine. “Hey, man,” he said. “How far you going on that thing?”

“About a hundred. You?”

“I don’t know how far, man, but I ride every day to the station, that’s about thirty minutes one way, then I get to San Bernardino, and that’s another thirty minutes to my job, so about two hours every day.”

His bike was a cruiser with fat tires and wide handlebars. “How long you been doing that?”

“Six months, man. I lost my car from a DUI. At first I was bummed because all my friends was like, ‘Man, you riding a bike? That’s bullshit.’ But then I lost a ton of weight man.”

“I bet.”

“Yeah, I still got a little bit to go but I feel great now and my friends don’t say shit no more. They’re still real overweight, man. And you know what?”

“What?”

“I used to be angry all the time. I had all these voices in my head, man. And since I started riding this bike, man, I don’t hear no voices no more. And I ain’t angry for no reason no more. It’s weird.”

“That’s great.”

“And you know what else?”

“What?”

“My cholesterol and shit is way down, man. I ain’t got no blood pressure no more, neither.”

“Blood pressure sucks,” I agreed.

“Yeah, man. But you know what my old lady says?”

“What?”

“She’s like, ‘You smiling all the time.’ She likes that a lot, man. When your old lady is like down with you being in a good mood then she gets in a good mood and you know what that means.”

“Indeed I do.”

He chuckled as if he were thinking of something pleasant. “Yeah, I used to be grumpy and scowling and shit all the time but now I’m just smiling. Like, I’m happy, man.”

“Why do you think that is?”

“Shit, man, I know why that is.”

“Why?”

He pointed to the bike. “This baby here, man. Right here.”

END


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17 thoughts on “Kind of a long commute”

  1. Good one, Seth! And it’s not just the bike; dude can pat himself on the back for seeing the bright side and finding opportunity in the situation.

    1. Yes. We talked about other aspects as well, such as how people didn’t want to ride bikes as transportation because it makes you look poor, but actually it puts so much money in your pocket.

  2. My wife and I tell people that we can hardly believe all of the people we’ve met, the places we’ve seen and the things we’ve done on our tandem bike.

    I still think a tandem is better than a solo bike at getting people to open up, but you’re getting close. You’re definitely getting close!

      1. Pictures we would have liked:
        1) Crabby Lady with Salt Peter Shotgun chasing you off her land
        2) Cruiser Bike and Cruiser dude.
        3) If Cruiser Dude had a pre-biking picture of Cruiser Dude.
        4) Mountains with snow are always nice.

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