There is a street made famous by Casey, who is real, real good when it comes to riding off-road. We were coming home from Telo and were going up this little street.
It is short, it cuts through to Silver Spur, it is real, real steep, and it ends in a cul-de-sac. It is a shorter way home, and steeper, than the traditional route from the bottom of Silver Spur.
It has a real, real high curb. I’ve never even tried to hop it. Every time I’ve come to that curb I’ve felt like a failure. “Why can’t I hop that thing?” I’ve wondered, and each time I’ve gotten up my nerve I’ve looked at that high sharp concrete edge that is real, real hard, and always humbly, and beatenly, dismounted.
On this day that we were coming home from Telo, Casey easily hopped it but not. He tipped over and landed real, real hard.
His brand new Canyon frame snapped in two. This was cause for real, real sadness, not only his, but ours as well because there is nothing sadder than seeing a friend with a broken new bike.
After that I never even thought about hopping that curb. One time I was riding with Baby Seal and he skipped up and over it like it wasn’t even there. He glanced casually back with contempt to watch me dismount, carry, hang head.
The walk of shame.
There is a lady who lives on this street. She sees the countless people walking/biking down from Silver Spur, or up from the street who take the little cut-through. Because they are people they are slobs. The little cut-through was always filled with junk.
One day I rode up and dismounted to clamber over the curb with my ropes, belays, and ice axe, and I saw the lady on her hands and knees, busily whacking away undergrowth, clearing the little path. She had a garbage bag filled with trash. “That’s pretty nice,” I thought. “That lady is making the path clean and neat and easier to use for everyone.”
The lady was sweating real, real good from all the work.
Yesterday I was coming home and I saw this little makeshift step that someone had pushed against the curb. It was a little step-ramp for bicycles. Someone, maybe that lady, had seen all the people dismount and carry their bikes over Mt. Curb and she had decided to do something about it.
I tested the steps with my feet. It wasn’t engineered to get to the moon. It was kind of rickety but it was also nailed together pretty solid. I kicked it a couple of times. It rattled a little bit but looked like it would work.
I got back on my bike and went a few feet down the street, turned around and took a run at it. My bike sailed up over those little steps, 34mm, 40 psi and such. It made me so happy.
Nah, I’m too weak and unskilled to hop a 7-foot curb, but you know what? Sailing over that little step felt like a million bucks.
That lady or that whoever had watched a whole lot of people, maybe some of them were old walkers who struggled getting a leg up over the curb, or maybe they were lame cyclists like me, or maybe it was only me? Maybe there is no one else in LA dumb enough to take those two steep walls and call them a “short-cut.”
Whoever it was, they made life nicer and safer and happier for someone they didn’t even know.
What if everyone in the world was like that lady?
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