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.”
“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?”
“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.”
“And you know what else?”
“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?”
“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.”
He pointed to the bike. “This baby here, man. Right here.”