Crackdown

July 10, 2016 § 16 Comments

Now that the PVE residents have screamed bloody murder about cyclist scofflaws, as if that has anything at all to do with putting up signs that say “Bikes May Use Full Lane,” and “3-Feet, It’s the Law,” the police department has, shall we euphemistically say, “stepped up” its enforcement against bikers who violate The First PVE Cager Commandment:

  1. Thou shalt stop at stop signs.

On this morning’s Donut Ride, which I was mercifully absent from as Matt Wikstrom set a new KOM up Crest, when the group came lawlessly swooping through Paseo del Mar at the incredible speed of 30-ish miles an hour, a PVE cop lay in wait at the Cloyden Road t-intersection and burst into the middle of the peloton.

One rider later said, “I was sure twenty people were going down.”

Another rider said, “I know that crime doesn’t pay, but this is ridiculous. ”

A third rider said, “Brillo pad and bleach on my chamois for a week.”

So the PVE bike haters have successfully linked two completely unrelated issues. In order to be granted the legal right to ride on their roads, all cyclists have to obey the law. Doesn’t matter that cagers don’t. Doesn’t matter that not a single citation has ever been written for violation of the 3-foot law. Doesn’t matter that on the same day that the Donuteers blew through the stop sign at which there were no cars, endangering no one at all, another rider caught a driver on video committing assault with a deadly weapon against a cyclist. And of course it doesn’t matter that no charges will be filed against the pickup driver who was caught on video camera tailgating John Bacon shortly before his “mysterious” death.

None of that matters.

What matters is that if you ride in PVE, you had better understand that you will be subjected to strict enforcement of the First Commandment. If that means we are on our way to getting recognition of BMUFL, and if it means that the city is going to bring an equally heavy hand down on cagers who break the 3-foot rule, I’m not going to complain.

But if it’s just another attempt to privatize the public roads for the convenience of cagers, well, that’s a whole different kettle of fish. See you at the PVE council meeting this Tuesday, July 12, at 340 PV Drive, Palos Verdes Estates, 90274.

PS: If you’re planning on attending the Tuesday, July 12 meeting of the PV City Council, please note: 1) Although the meeting starts at 6:00 PM, public comment won’t begin until 7:30, and probably not until after that. So no need to be there at 6:00. 2) The council will be voting on the signs at their next July meeting; this meeting is an opportunity for us to communicate to the council that we support the signage and want them to vote on it at the next meeting. Hopefully you can attend both meetings.

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The Empire Strikes Back

July 9, 2016 § 19 Comments

Now that the City of PVE’s traffic safety committee has recommended the radical and revolutionary step of putting up a couple of signs that say “BMUFL” and “3-Feet,” a group of residents has proposed banning bikes from certain public roads within the city.

Nice.

I will be charitable and assume they don’t understand that the streets in PVE are public and that bicycles are legally allowed to ride on them. I will be charitable and assume that they don’t understand that municipalities cannot preempt the California Vehicle Code. I will be charitable and assume that they haven’t thought through the ramifications of a few  angry citizens seizing public property.

But I won’t be charitable when it comes to the cycling community.

Here’s why: On July 12, at 6:00 PM, there will be a city council meeting at Palos Verdes Estates council chambers, 340 PV Drive. Cycling and the approval of the new signs is not on the agenda.

However, opponents of the signage, who also advocate illegally restricting cyclists from public roads, have already met with police and city officials. Postings on social media indicate that some PVE residents are going to virulently oppose any affirmative steps taken by the city to make cycling safer, or to increase enforcement of California’s 3-foot law.

nextdoor1

Happily, I’m one of the targets in all this. Two members of the Lunada Bay Boys On Mom’s Couch Gang showed up at the protest ride and introduced themselves as “Rich dudes,” then interviewed me and did a great job of proving that I was wrong when I said that none of the roads in PVE were wide enough to accommodate a car and bike side-by-side. After heckling our protest ride, they put together a video and proved pretty clearly that a very short portion of the road we were on was 18 feet wide.

They neglected to note that it was only a couple of hundred feet long before it immediately narrowed down to a substandard width, and they agreed that the 3-foot law needs to be enforced. Bizarrely, the street that they have proven to be wide enough to accommodate bikes and cars (for a few hundred feet) is now part of the very same section of roadway that the angry residents are trying to ban cycle traffic from.

Moreover, they didn’t think my blog was funny, which is weird, because I try really hard to write a fair, balanced, ordinary bicycling blog that is non-controversial. Why? One simple reason: My mom sometimes reads it and I would be mortified if she ever saw me write words like “fuck” and “shit.”

But back to the Lunada Bay Boys On Mom’s Couch. They deserve props for caring enough about the issue to show up, scream at peaceful protesters, video it, spend two weeks and all 56 of their combined IQ points editing it, and then share it from an email called SuperRoidInRB@gmail.com. And I mean that. They do care. They may be unemployed bums, but unemployed bums have a whole lot of choices about what to do in a day, and choosing to counter-protest is pretty healthy for democracy, certainly more so than another drunken day harassing women and vandalizing cars at an illegal rock shelter built on protected public state shorelines.

The bicycling community now needs to build on the success we’ve had with the traffic safety committees in PVE and Rancho PV. What does that mean?

It means it’s time for usto show up.

The city council will allow concerned members of the public to address the signage issue even though the council won’t be voting on it at this meeting. This past Wednesday 17 cyclists made polite, sincere, and intelligent appeals to the PVE traffic safety committee. That needs to happen again on July 12, and again when the council meets to formally vote on the recommendations. You can rest assured that the PVE residents who don’t want the 3-foot and BMUFL signs installed have already met, spoken, and emailed every single council member, the city manager, the city engineer, and everyone on the traffic safety committee.

If you can’t make it, fine. What about your husband or wife pr boyfriend or girlfriend or kids? If you can make it, why not bring your husband, wife, or kids with you? The roads may be in PVE, but PVE doesn’t own them. To the contrary, the city takes hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to pave and maintain them. They are our roads, too.

Democracy isn’t Facebook. It’s not Twitter. It’s not email or Reddit or NextDoor or campaign contributions and it’s sure as hell not this blog.

Democracy is you, your family, and the most precious resource you have: Your time. The elected officials in PVE are like elected officials everywhere else. They show up, struggle with problems, and try to find the best solutions for the least price that results in the most happy constituents and the fewest angry ones.

In short, if they’re doing their jobs even remotely correctly, they compromise.

We can be part of the compromise, but only if we collaborate by showiung up. I know that Tuesday is Telo training crit day and Eldo training crit day and there are lots of better places to be at 6:00 PM, but we can’t be heard by the people who matter unless we’re in the chambers with our names on a speaker card.

Please show up and help. Ironfly, South Bay Wheelmen, BCCC, PV Bike Chicks, and especially the members of the Double Secret Probation Cycling Committee, i.e. Jim Hannon & Eric Bruins & Mike Norris. LaGrange will be sending people, and they’re not even in the South Bay–they’re coming because public access to public roads isn’t a joking matter, and safety in PV is crucial to every cyclist on the coast.

We need you.

You will be empowered by the engagement and you’ll gain a ton of respect for the council members and the police. You’ll also gain respect for the people who oppose safer and better streets, and who think that bicycles are a plague. They may see the world differently, but they care enough to show up and make their case. They want their city to be a better place, and to them that means fewer bikes.

They care.

Do you?

END

PS: If you’re planning on attending the Tuesday, July 12 meeting of the PV City Council, please note: 1) Although the meeting starts at 6:00 PM, public comment won’t begin until 7:30, and probably not until after that. So no need to be there at 6:00. 2) The council will be voting on the signs at their next July meeting; this meeting is an opportunity for us to communicate to the council that we support the signage and want them to vote on it at the next meeting. Hopefully you can attend both meetings.

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What a bicycle America looks like

July 8, 2016 § 33 Comments

I’m an awful father. When my daughter went off to college we put her on a plane to Asia and basically didn’t see her for five years.

When my eldest son went to college on the East Coast we took him to LAX with his duffle. “See you. Love you.” I visited him in Philly twice.

At the time it seemed okay. They were adults and had picked distant places and I was about as broke then as I am now and for fuck’s sake, my parents didn’t even tell me goodbye when I was eighteen, and I didn’t care because they were paying the tuition.

But with my last kid I figured maybe I should be more involved so when he invited me to orientation at UCSB I said, “Sure!”

UCSB is what bicycle America would look like. Cars are third-class citizens. Prime parking is for bicycles. Bike racks are everywhere. Pedal paths are the only roads on campus. Bikes have the right of way. No one wears a helmet, kids have wind in their hair, people look happy.

But once orientation began I stopped noticing that and noticed that I was surrounded by insane people. One woman anxiously hooked her arm through her adult son’s, clinging to him like a bad rash.

A father berated his daughter for the classes she wanted to take.

A Chinese couple reviewed the orientation schedule intensely, highlighting and marking it up as if it was the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Stock Market.

I had more practical concerns. What was going to happen when my son woke up after two months of classes and realized THAT THERE IS NO LAUNDRY FAIRY?

It quickly became clear that parent participation in orientation was designed to eliminate a student’s biggest obstacle to a happy college experience: Parents. The kids were gradually separated from the Klingons with a crowbar and taken away from their sobbing mothers and choking fathers, taken all the way 400 yards across campus to be academically counseled in private and advised to wear condoms.

As a booby prize we were shunted off into a series of seminars, each with a catchy title like “Don’t be a sniveling simp,” and “Your daughter will get banged so get used to it,” and my personal favorite, “You can’t do his homework any longer.”

After twelve hours only the moms were still standing. I had distilled the lessons into:

  1. Go away.
  2. Your kid is fine.
  3. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

At night’s end we were hustled into one last session called “Saying Goodbye and Meaning It.” After a full day of serious note-taking, the moms were at an emotional climax. Finally we’d get to discuss what really mattered: The nattering minutiae of off-loading the kids without breaking down into a sobbing, hysterical, inconsolable mess.

I wish I could make this stuff up but I cannot.

“How many electrical sockets are in the dorm room?”

“Can we have laundry service for our child?”

“How can we check up on our child’s homework and class attendance?”

“How do we advocate for a teacher to give our child a better grade if we think he was unfairly graded?”

“Since we’re paying we demand to see our child’s grades. How do we access their academic account?”

“Where is the Target? WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE IS NO TARGET?”

“If there are three students per room and our child needs more than her one-third of the space, how do we arrange that?”

“What if we think our child’s roommate is a bad influence?”

“What if we don’t like our child’s roommate’s parents?”

And my personal, all-time favorite question ever in the history of helicopters: “I’ve noticed that no one on campus wears a bike helmet which is very dangerous. How do we make sure he wears one?”

Bicycle America, indeed.


Our protesters were hotter than yours

July 7, 2016 § 22 Comments

First, thank you Judy Frankel. It was a few hours before the PV Estates Traffic Safety Committee, and we were all hard at work (okay, screwing off on Facebag), trying to figure out our approach for the meeting.

The committee agenda had three recommendations for the city council:

  1. Take down the “Bike Laws Strictly Enforced” signs, burn them, and force the charred ashes down the throats of all the yahoos we’ve caught assaulting cyclists on video.
  2. Put up “3 Feet–It’s the Law” signs that are designed so simply that your cat could read it and your dog could pee on the signpost.
  3. Put up “Share the Road” signs so that irate cagers could scream, “Get over onto the edge you stupid fuggin’ biker! The sign says SHARE!”

We all agreed that #1 was good and #2 was real good. But we thought #3 stank. So Judy Frankel advised us that we needed to come loaded for BMUFL: Bikes May Use Full Lane.

We hustled in a full crew of stinky cyclists, most still clad in their damp chamois, that included Jose Godinez, Sarah Barraclough, James Olsen, Linda Campbell, Matt Miller, Tom Duong, Susan Varee, Joann Zwagerman, Delia Park, Michael Barraclough, Alistair Miller, Greg Seyranian, Pete Richardson, Joey Cooney, Geoffrey Louis, Matt Chartier, JR Rossetti, Kristie Fox, Robert Cisneros, and Wendy Watson.

Before the meeting we had to choose between putting together an organized and well thought out approach or go pound our bikes for a few laps around the Wanky Super Power Loop. By the time we’d done three loops everyone was exhausted and had no energy to do anything except listen dully to our Feared Leader, Michael Claw of the Bear.

“Listen up, fuckers,” he said. “I’m going to make this so simple even a cyclist can understand it. The committee doesn’t decide anything, but it can kill everything. These guys make recommendations for the city council to act on. Piss them off at your peril.”

“What are we supposed to say?” asked one cowering, lycra clad sweatlump.

Claw of the Bear handed out Post-it notes. “I’ve dumbed it down for a First Grader, then dumbed it down again for us,” he said. “There are three points:

“1) Take down bad signs: Good.

“2) Put up 3-foot signs. Good.

“3) Put up “Share the Road” signs: Bad.

“4) Put up BMUFL signs: Good.”

“Er, sir,” protested one cyclist, weakly. “That’s four points.”

“I said four points,” Claw of the Bear shot back. “Four points. Now let’s go!”

We marched into the council chambers and leaned our bikes up against the corridor wall while a couple of riders with rather excitable bowels dashed into the restroom to “rest.” The sound of cracking porcelain rang throughout the council chambers.

The meeting was called to order, the pledge was read, and a few traitors were hung by the neck until dead, after which their bodies were thrown to a pack of wild dogs outside the window.

“Okay, you bastards,” said the committee chair. “Who’s next?”

We all cowered in our seats and pretended that we had simply come to take notes. “Let me tell you sonsofbitches how this meeting is gonna go,” said the committee chair. “First one of you underwear-clad clowns leaves a sweat stain on our expensive city council church pews is gonna hang by the neck until dead. Any questions?”

We had none and the meeting came to order. First off was The Great Parking On PVDW Controversy. Concerned citizens stood up and discussed the incredible importance of this pressing issue while the committee tried to stay awake and the police chief idly spun the cylinder of his .357 to see who was going to get shot first for going over the 3-minute speaking time limit.

After a half hour of avid discussion about the life-or-death parking issue, we moved on to the bike signage item on the agenda. “Okay, you bastards,” said the committee chair. “I know what you all want and let’s get this straight: You ain’t gonna get it. So you might as well shut up and go home now. Plus you all stink to high heaven. Take a bath next time, willya?”

Claw of the Bear was not to be intimidated. “We like #1 and #2, but #3 is dumb. D-U-M-B. The last time I saw something that dumb I was in Texas. So we propose something smart. Put up BMUFL signs.”

“What did you call me?” the committee chair bellowed.

“I didn’t call you anything,” said Claw of the Bear.

“Like hell you didn’t.”

“I just said BMUFL signs.”

“He said it again!” roared the committee chair. Then he turned to the police chief. “Shoot the bastard, willya? He just called me a BMUFL.”

The police chief looked doubtful. “I don’t think he’s worth shooting, sir.”

“Why the hell not?”

“He smells too bad for the wild dogs to eat, so we’d have to bury him out of city funds.”

The chair nodded, grudgingly. “Well, what do the rest of you bastards want?” he said.

One by one we went to the lectern and read our Post-it notes. “Please be nice to us,” we begged. “And give us some BMUFL.”

As each sweaty speaker beseeched the august council, one thing became clear: Our protesters were waaaaay hotter than the parking controversy protesters. The parking lot people were schlumpy, pot-bellied, sag-bottomed, and draped with ill-cut rags that were displeasing to the eye.

Regardless of how dumb we all sounded, it’s hard to argue with smokin’ hot, articulate women in Spandex and tight jeans, especially when, with one flex of the muscled thigh, they could probably crack your skull like a rotten cantaloupe.

Finally one of the committee members, teetering on the edge of a prodigious sleep, made a motion that the committee vote on the recommendations. Only thing was, he changed #3 from “Put up a Dumb Ass Share the Road Sign” to “Put up BMUFL signs.”

The motion passed unanimously.

We cheered. We clapped. We hollered. We hoped we weren’t going to get shot for leaving chain grease stains on the carpet. The BMUFL recommendation was off to the city council, where it would likely be shot down in flames by angry residents who weren’t about to put up profane words like BMUFL in their fine community.

For today, though, a big old democracy had been done, and not just in the men’s room.

END

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Let’s put some spice in the oatmeal!

July 6, 2016 § 23 Comments

Le Turdy France has become a big, steaming pot of tasteless oatmeal. Average Joe thinks it’s boring and stupid. Hobby bicycle people think it’s boring and stupid. Profamateur Cat 4 underwear models think it’s boring and stupid. And now, in a new twist, even the riders think it’s boring and stupid.

This is like David Lee Roth admitting that he can’t sing. Everyone knows it’s true, but why’d ya have to come out and SAY it?

Various reasons have been put forth to explain the mind-numbing boredom that sets in after just a few minutes of watching terribly underfed chickens, bones poking through their underwear, slam into motorcycles that have no business on the course. Here are the biggies that have oatmealized Le Tour:

  1. Robots. No one enjoys watching robots.
  2. Chris Froome. If you’re going to dope up a robot, make him handsome, like Eddy or Lance or Fabian.
  3. Radios. If you don’t think radios remove all excitement and fun, look at the average 8-year-old from a rich helicopter-parent family that controls his every move.
  4. Gore. Pro underwear racing is dangerous beyond belief. There aren’t enough sick people who enjoy bloodshed, closed head injuries, and Hoogerland meat-shredding in the general population (NASCAR excepted) to get pleasure out of this choreographed slaughterhouse.
  5. Power data. Use a power meter for three weeks and tell me how much it has increased the joy and spontaneity in your cycling.
  6. Freak show. We know they’re volcano doping because they’re riding faster now than they did in the EPO Era. Yawwwwwn.
  7. Dentist chair syndrome. What is already miserable is worse because it’s so long. It takes three weeks to find out which doper climbs one mountain faster than his podium rivals by two minutes? Really?
  8. France. We can’t stand another castle viewed from a chopper. We just can’t.
  9. Yellow. Check your comic books, especially anything with the Two-Gun Kid. Yellow is the color for chickens and cowards. “Why, you yaller-bellied varmint, I’ma gonna fill you plumb full of lead.”
  10. Names. Most Euro names are too hard to pronounce. No red-blooded American will watch a sport with names that don’t sound like “Ruth” or “Aaron.” “Gretzky” gets a pass because he was, you know, not bad.

So after reviewing these terrible problems, I’ve taken the old admonition to heart that “You shouldn’t raise problems if you don’t have solutions.” Here they are:

  1. Humans. Make the Tour open to actual humans. Hairy legged, pot-bellied, flatulent couch potatoes welcome! It will be awesome to watch your Uncle Fred out on his bike for the first time since 1973 struggle up the ONLY STAGE IN THE TOUR, L’Alpe d’Huez.
  2. Give Chris Froome his own race. He’ll be the only participant and he will win every year. We’ll call it the Tour de Froome. That way he can eat a few thousand cheeseburgers, stop volcano doping, and look human again.
  3. Coach ride-behinds. Don’t ban radios, but make the schlumpy DS’s follow along on their bicycles instead of in a follow car. If they still have the lungs to shout instructions from 30 miles back while climbing L’Alpe, more power to them. If half of them keel over, no worries. Your average DS can be replaced with a 3rd-Grade dropout drug addict dope dealer.
  4. Moto licensing. Require anyone who wants to follow or mix with Le Tour on a motorcycle to pass a certification test that involves wrestling hungry tigers. Survivors will be required to pass a crash dummy test where they are slammed into the back of a truck going downhill at 50. Successful applicants can safely follow the peloton from 100 miles back.
  5. Strava. Require all riders who use power in the race to post up better numbers than Thorfinn-Sassquatch. Those who fail will have their power meters confiscated.
  6. Bike motors. Since we’re letting Uncle Fred race Le Tour, which now only has one stage, everyone who’s not a doper or professional underwear model gets a bike motor. Who wouldn’t enjoy watching Nairo Quintana getting dropped by a fellow whose shorts stop halfway up the San Andreas Fault buttcrack?
  7. Cut Le Tour. One stage. 35 miles. Winner takes all. In alternate years it will be held around Chris Lotts’s parking lot crit course in Compton.
  8. Expand the meaning of “France.” The world has lots of cool places to see. In non-Compton years, stick Le Tour in guaranteed bike-friendly places like Palos Verdes Estates, San Bernardino, or Houston.
  9. Black and red. Those are some winning colors. Black for “aggression,” red for “blood.”
  10. Americanize. Remember how in your Spanish class in junior high Mrs. Simon gave everyone a Spanish name (mine was “Francisco,” and I loved it). Give all the riders American names. Peter Sagan is Pete Smith. Roman Kreuziger is Robbie Johnson. Fabian Cancellara is John Davis. Nairo Quintan is Bill Jones. Chris Froome is Suzy Small. You get the idea.

And yes, you’re welcome.

END

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More traffic safety committee stuff …

July 5, 2016 § 13 Comments

The Palos Verdes Estates traffic safety committee has its monthly meeting tomorrow, July 6, and bicycling is on the agenda.

The big question is whether the city should take down the punitive “Bicycle Laws Strictly Enforced” signs and replace them with “3-Feet, It’s the Law” and “Share the Road” signs.

Personally, I think they should paper the whole fuggin’ city with “Cagers who harass bikers will be drawn and quartered!” but that may not happen. And I guess it is progress that instead of threatening everyone on two wheels with “strict enforcement,” which frankly sounds like you’re going to be bound with leather straps and beaten by a dominatrix wielding a cat o’ nine tails, the city is going to put up some finger-wagging “3-feet, folks” and some saccharine “Let’s be friends” signs.

Yeah, progress. Because a couple of dozen extra signs are going to change the behavior of motorists in a city that has, for decades, tolerated the violence and illegal shenanigans of the Lunada Bay Boys, none of whom, by the way, are boys, and all of whom are rumored to be saggy, baggy, flabby, middle-aged farts who still live on Mom’s couch.

But I digress.

The good thing about the PVE “Can’t we all just get along by putting up a few signs?” project is that it seems to be accompanied by a realization that bicycle riders need to be taken into account. WOW!!! The agenda even says that the signs are the part of a bike master plan that’s in the works.

It’s the master plan verbiage that should give you hope, and more importantly, a reason to show up at the meeting.

I know it’s late, I know you’re weary, I know your plans don’t include me; but we’ve got tonight babe, so why don’t you stay (at the traffic safety committee meeting)?

C’mon. Please?

END

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My in Depends Day

July 4, 2016 § 26 Comments

The July 4th Holiday Ride is always a doozy. This year was no exception.

It’s hard to disagree with the statement that the Holiday Ride is the worst ride ever. About 200 people show up and flail their way from Manhattan Beach to Brentwood. Then there is a knife fight in the mud for Tony Manzella’s wheel and we pack the entire lane of a narrow, twisty, fucked-up country road, the knife fight for Sweet Ass’s wheel moves on to guns, then mortars, then nukes, and two minutes in there are 10 riders left and unless you’re one of the ten your day is done.

If you’re one of the ten, you just risked life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for about twenty minutes of crystal-meth-pure misery.

Before today’s ride Sausage told me to video it on his GoPro. “But I have a Cycliq Fly12,” I protested.

Sausage is into high quality. He’s also real diplomatic. “Your camera sucks,” he said. “Use mine.” It’s hard to argue with facts.

EA Sports, Inc. and I drove to the Center of the Known Universe where everyone was standing around all nervous as hell. Why nervous? I don’t know, actually, because the ride always ends the same way. You get miserably dropped. There is no drama, and after having done it for ten years there’s not even any mystery about when it will happen.

Of course not everyone in the Santa-Monica-to-the-South-Bay arc is a lunatic. About 200 other people, all of whom who have done the Holiday Ride, and all of whom know how stupid it is, have formed an alt-Holiday Ride called the Yellow Vase Ride. They ride at a friendly pace around Palos Verdes and then have coffee and croissants at the Yellow Vase cafe. People laugh, talk, tell stories, and appreciate the beauty of the area and the fun of cycling.

Well, fuck those people.

By the time we got to Marina del Rey there were another hundred or so baby seals who’d been added to the clubbing list. In addition to the drama of the ride there had been some pre-ride Facebag drama, too. Phil Gaimon was going to show up and tow us up Mandeville at 462.3 watts like he did last year, but first we had to sign up for his Grand Fondue. One of the local Strava addicts complained that it wasn’t fair for us to be motoring along behind Phil, and a war of words ensued, after which there was a lot of red, rashy, very painful butthurt. So to make sure everyone on the ride was going to be okay I brought something for anyone who might need it.

butt_balm

Of course Phil didn’t show up so there was no need for the balm, but it’s nice to be prepared.

The ride followed its predictable course. At first people were chatty and tried to hide their anxiety with lighthearted banter. Then in Santa Monica people began to fight for position. Then on San Vicente it went from blob to narrow line, 2 or 3 abreast. Then on Sunset it was deadly silent. Then on Mandeville there was only grunting and the clanging of gears. A few people put on a brave front with occasional chatter. Two minutes in it was quiet as a teenager at a video console, an ethereal silence that enveloped us as each rider sank lower into the pain mire, everything in the universe resolved into the tiny strip of rubber twelve inches in front of your nose, and one by one people fell off, no words or excuses or explanations needed because the brutal pace and gravity spoke all that needed saying.

It kind of looked like this.

END

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