Wanted to throw a quick heads-up announcement for anyone with a free Friday evening. Bikerowave, the bike co-op in Mar Vista staffed by some exceedingly patient people, is throwing a party Friday night (as in tomorrow night) and helping to sponsor a group ride on Saturday morning with the homeless advocacy group United Steps. Here’s the info:
Join us FRIDAY NIGHT — December 4th, 2009 and CELEBRATE the inaugural PEDAL WITH ME group ride!!!!!!
starting @ 8pm
Come by BIKEROWAVE in Mar Vista
12255 Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90066
MUSIC + COOL PEOPLE + VOLUNTEERS + BIKE REPAIR TOOLS + LIVE ART = AWESOME!
Pedal With Me is a group ride that is being put together to address homelessness. The ride sponsored by United Steps, a non-profit organization seeking unique solutions for homelessness ( http://www.unitedsteps.org/ )
They are partnered with Bikerowave– a DIY, volunteer-run bike shop in Mar Vista ( http://www.bikerowave.org/ ). If you’d like to help out, ride, donate a bike, money or time to this event COME BY FRIDAY NIGHT anytime after 8PM! Or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 213-624-7837
ON SATURDAY: THE RIDE!!!!!
9AM & 11AM
There are two rides. One leaves at 9 am and the other leaves at 11 am. If you’d like to help us, the Bikerowave, with getting everyone from point A (The Bikerowave) to point B (Venice Beach, less than 3 miles away) great! We need help getting folks fitted properly to bikes, escorting them safely to the beach for the rally there, and providing a valet service for the bikes. We’d love to see you there helping out.
THANK YOU!!! HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!! DONATE A BIKE AND GET A FREE HUG!!!!!
Check it out if you have a chance (and thanks Lisa for the heads-up!).
Or maybe just one truth with two kinds: To bike in Los Angeles requires dealing with cars. There are two kinds:
- The first are the ones who don’t see you. They might be the ones talking on a cell phone, yelling at their kids, tuning their radio, late leaving work and looking to roll a couple stop signs on the side streets because all the arterials are clogged. They might be the ones who nearly right hook you because they can’t be bothered to look over the shoulder. I get mad about these people, but I don’t stay mad. There’s no point, because I realize that it’s not really about me. These drivers are the ones who merge without looking on the freeway, who get stuck in the intersection going the wrong way at red lights. They’re the self-centered ones who treat the rest of the road like so many video game dots and numbers. Out there, but not really enough to worry about. They’re fat and happy in their steel cocoons, coddled in roll cages and crumple zones like so many eggs in cardboard cartons. When they cut me off, I know it’s not about me.
- It’s the second group that piss me off. It’s the second group that sees me pushing it down Westholme, heading south through the last roundabout before swinging left at Santa Monica, riding to catch the green light. It’s the second group with the driver’s side window of their white sedan rolled down and the driver peering through his thin glasses up the road to where I’m bearing down and still thinking it’s a good idea to swing out into traffic because he doesn’t want to get stuck waiting for the cars that are trailing me. It’s the second group of drivers who see me brake, pull up, raise my hands to ask what the fuck, then gun their engine through the light because they know they’re in the wrong and think they can leave me in the dust. It’s these second kind of drivers who think that just because I’m a little fucking cyclist on a dark single-speed that that makes it OK. And do you know what? It’s those second group of drivers who sit in their car waiting to turn right onto Beverly Glen at the red light, one arm dangling a lit cigarette out the window as I pull up to the intersection, then see me roll up to the light beside them.
The moral of the story? Your shit catches up to you.
First things first: Bikerowave = awesome.
A huge thanks to all of the volunteers working Saturday afternoon and into the evening. If you (faceless readers) haven’t yet been by to check out their space, please make an effort to do so. It’s open, well-lit, welcoming, and all of the volunteers who were helping out on Saturday afternoon were in good spirits (in spite of constantly being called to and fro).
Less awesome: The bike I was working on. I brought in an absolute clunker of a bike – an old Motobecane that had been sitting outside under the porch in Colorado for far too long and had then made the trip to California and spent most of its time sitting in our hallway. Less than awesome. There’s progress on the beast, and it was almost (briefly) rideable. But when I brought it home and inflated the tire a little more, I realized there was a slight issue. If the tire was inflated to the recommended psi (say, about 80), it bulged out seriously on the sidewall, so much so that it wouldn’t spin through the brakes. So I deflated the tire, tried to reseat the bead in the rim, then inflated the tire again. Same problem. Repeat, except this time I removed the tire and spread a little chalk on the inside between the tube and the tire, thinking that the tube might be getting bunched up when inflated. When I inflated the tire again (again, to about 80 psi, though the tire says it takes 90 psi), it seemed fine. I was psyched. Deflate the tire, slipped it back into the bike, tightened down the wheel a little, then pumped up the tire again. Everything seemed gravy, but within about a minute, the tire/tube was bulging back over the rim. I went to deflate the tire again to look at it when the tube (predictably?) popped.
So, as I see it, there are potentially three possible issues:
- My pump’s pressure gauge is off and what reads as 80 psi is not actually. Except I don’t this is really the case.
- The tire wasn’t properly seated at all and that’s why the tube pushed out on the side. This is maybe more possible, but I don’t think so, because I tried several times to reseat the bead and it seemed to be a consistent issue in the same place.
- Something’s fishy with the rim, so that it’s too shallow or something and can’t take the pressure (meaning that even though the new tires recommend 90 psi, the bike itself shouldn’t actually have that pressure.
Anyways, where things are is less than awesome, but I’ll be back by Bikerowave next time I have the opportunity. In the meantime, does anyone have any better advice? Are there things I haven’t tried yet that I should? Should I just get another tube and try to reseat the whole thing without taking the bike back in?
Coming across Wilshire heading south on Westholme, a gust nearly pushed me into a car. The smell of bruised eucalyptus and dusty pine in the air. There was a headwind as I turned east onto Santa Monica Blvd. and was lucky enough to find a couple folks to tail heading up the hill from Beverly Glen. I didn’t catch either of your names, but thanks for leading the way a little bit. Turned back on my own to roll Charleville. Now home and the world outside full of rush and whisper.
In another place, some brief thoughts about riding the bus today. No claims to being anything but about riding the bus this evening, but what riding a bike means touched on some of the things I was trying to say:
And we’ve been talking through Goffman in class today, how Goffman sees the marking of the territories of the self. I don’t remember exactly how he phrases it, but he says something to this effect: That in all of our marking of territories, we’re trying to do both demonstrate our respect for others and establish a kind of regard in others for ourselves. And it’s not as though this is ever a simple process, but I think it’s easier to do in some places than others. What makes the bus such a heartbreaking place is how often you find the incommensurable moments between the territories of others and ourselves. More often than not, it’s something between the bus driver and passengers, some way in which the driver closes out passengers, refuses to open the bus’ doors, makes people feel acutely the sense of not being quite in control. And because I think there’s something to that, some way in which the bus requires us (as passengers, though my escape is always the bike, the recognition or declaration that I could always ride my bike if the press of people got too bad) to accept the fact that we’re on someone else’s time and in someone else’s place.
I don’t think you have to deal with that in the same way when you drive a car (Joan Didion’s quip that what makes Los Angeles unique is that it’s the only city you could drive to buy a hamburger at 3 a.m.). There’s something to the way in which cars become our territories of the self, and the way in which riding the bus forces people to confront the limits of their selves. And that maybe was what made this sight so heartbreaking: This man, when he got off the bus, would rather have walked calmly (be cool on the street, nobody wants to be the person running with your hands full, nobody wants to be seen as that guy) to catch his local transfer, but he would have missed his bus. And so something slipped, he broke into a shuffling run, hands clutching plastic bags of groceries, trying to make his way home.
And back to schoolwork. Thanks to those who commented on the Crank Mob thoughts – I’ve had some more stumbling thoughts kicking around but have yet to find the time to put things together. But best wishes to everyone.
So you’d think, what with all the crazy rain that we’ve been having, that we’re totally free and clear from that nasty little thing spelled D-R-O-U-G-H-T, right? (Actually, I don’t know anybody who’d say that we’re not in a drought anymore, but the rain does funny things to my head. I have trouble imagining 75 degrees in January for example, and I’ve been pretending that it’s been this wintry for what feels like months…).
In other news important to just about anybody paying money to the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, a vota just went through to impose the city’s first water rationing in more than two decades. Under the terms of the plan, every house and business would get its allotment. Once you go past that allotment, your rates would double.
But what I found most remarkable about the article was their mention that 40 percent of the city’s water consumption comes from outdoor irrigation. 40 percent. Think about that for a moment. All the wide lawns and palm trees that have become That’s So LA (or that’s so lame?), they’re using a water. A lot of it. Kind of makes you stop and think, at least for a moment. Right?
It’s funny what the rain does to the city: I took the bus into campus on Friday (having left my bike there because I didn’t feel up for riding in the gathering dark Thursday night) and waited in the light drizzle that morning with everyone else. It’s just such a strange sight to see umbrellas on the street in Los Angeles; perfectly normal, I suppose, to see a crowd of mushrooming umbrellas in New York or San Francisco or Chicago, but there was something so odd about the sight of umbrellas on the sidewalk at the intersection of Wilshire and Vermont.
As a brief aside: We use umbrellas so rarely here that people have no sense of umbrella etiquette. I’m a reasonably tall person, so it’s not usually too much of a problem to lift my umbrella up and over oncoming pedestrians, but it’s sometimes kind of funny to see people shorter than me barrel through a cluster of people with their umbrella.
As another brief aside: Props to everyone who cycled through the rain. I saw a couple of people working through Westwood and have nothing but respect for people willing to brave the automotive equivalent of chickens with their heads cut off that results when the rains come.
I hope to back to this a bit more regularly, but I’m realizing there’s an inverse relationship between the amount of work I accomplish that I’m supposed to do and the amount of time I spend about the interwebs. Who knew? But as a last note, Ingrid has a new effort called The Bicycle Librarian gathering everything you might want to know about biking in Los Angeles, and Jim Haygood has a new biking blog up at Bike Date. Check them out.
And as for why I’m not riding today: The bike’s still in Westwood and I’m not. Such is life.