I rode to Manhattan Beach yesterday. There wasn’t much traffic even though it was Saturday and rather late in the morning, about 8:30 or so.
One function of the pandemic is reduced car traffic. Everyone seems to be thinking twice about going anywhere by car, and that’s probably because for most people there’s no “where” to go to.
But there was a bunch of bike traffic. Bikes everywhere, and they seemed to fall into three groups. 1) The usual suspects. 2) Newbies. 3) Ustabefit types.
The Ustabefit riders were easily identified by their nice but old bikes and their serious cycling duds that didn’t fit so good anymore. I think it’s pretty awesome that the pandemic has spurred so many people to start riding and has encouraged so many who used to ride to ride again.
What was equally awesome was the utter absence of cager hostility. In the South Bay it’s usually a fact of life that sooner or later you’re going to draw a honk, usually sooner. But the scads of people taking to the streets, or the lessened car traffic and concomitant decreased stress, or some combination of the two meant that there was lot of pleasant coexistence that I normally only associate with downtown LA and Long Beach-type places.
It also shows how silly the whole idea of bike lanes and bike infrastructure is. People are perfectly capable of riding in the street and cars are perfectly capable of not hitting them, if they so desire.
I got home and went shopping at the Food 4 Less on Sepulveda and Vermont. I bought several pounds of potatoes, a 5-lb. bag of sugar, some canola oil, and a bunch of other stuff that ended up weighing over 20 pounds when you added in the u-lock and cable.
To get home I have to go uphill a bit, and although Basswood/Shorewood aren’t mandatory, I never avoid them, reasoning that I won’t live here forever and I’ll look back regretfully on having lived at the top of a wall and having not ridden it every chance I had.
Things were going well up Rolling Meadows. I rode over the little wooden step-ramp and then pedaled hard up Silver Spur, but the backpack and my commuter bike and my tennis shoes were making me feel less than sprightly. I labored up Basswood, really labored, as in “she’s in labor.”
I took a hard run at Shorewood and at the point where my momentum turned into deep mud and I was going to have to pedal and pedal hard, I swung a leg over and got off. I walked all the way to the top, fully expecting a peloton of 100+ friends, acquaintances, and cycling enemies to come charging down this desolate suburban street with cameras flashing, all shouting, “Look at the wanker! Too weak to pedal! Pushing his effing bike!”
They didn’t, though, and I wouldn’t have cared if they had.
Sometimes you gotta know when to hold, know when to fold ’em.
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