It’s (almost) always worth the fight

September 22, 2015 § 22 Comments



Several months ago I was contacted by a rider who got ticketed by CHP for violating CVC 21202(a), the infamous “FTR” or “far to the right” law, not to be confused with Dave Jaeger’s French Toast Ride. At all.

The rider, Dan Funk, emailed me a copy of the citation and asked my professional opinion, and after the cursing finished I told him that it was a bogus ticket and that he should fight it. The problem is that he got the ticket riding on Angeles Crest and although he lives in West LA, the ticket was assigned to West Covina. This is like living in Manhattan and having to go to court in South Carolina, only the drive from Manhattan is faster and there’s less traffic.

The place where he was ticketed was absurd; there’s no shoulder and the only place you can ride is in the travel lane. In Dan’s case, he was actually trying to hug the fog line, and even then the cop pulled him over and ticketed him. “What’s this ticket for?” asked Dan.

“We’ve been ticketing motorists so we have to ticket some cyclists to balance it out,” advised the CHP cop.

You know, it’s the policy of equal enforcement, and I kind of like it, and wish they would apply it in other areas. “For every black person we arrest, we’re going to arrest a white person.”

“For every poor person we execute, we’re going to execute a rich one.”

It would bring some much needed change to our criminal justice system, and it’s a concept we could apply to other areas as well. “We’ve been giving out lots of tax breaks to big corporations, so we have to give tax breaks to ordinary people, too.”

Or what about this? “We’ve been letting abortion activists burn down clinics and shoot doctors, so we’re going to burn down some churches and shoot a few fundie pastors.”

There’s a lot to be said for equality.

Dan and I took the day off and met at West Covina. The courtroom filled with CHP cops. “This looks like a court where they show up,” I said. “Recognize any of these guys?”

“Nope. Mine was a motorcycle cop.” They were all in patrol car costumes.

Finally a very badass moto cop strutted in. “That him?” I asked.


Our case got called and dismissed, and we celebrated by getting to drive through eighteen more hours of traffic to get home.

Next time, under the principle of equality, I’m going to ask the judge if he’ll make a random CHP cop have to drive home in the back seat with me.



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Don’t forget the Trojans

September 23, 2012 § 5 Comments

“Are you doing the Ride to the Rock tomorrow?” the email from Hockeystick asked.

“No. I’m riding with Bull and Major Bob up to Pasadena to watch the UCLA game.”

“You should send out an email to everyone telling them the Ride to the Rock starts at 6:00 AM instead of 7:00.”

“I’m not going on the ride and in any event I’m not the organizer, promoter, or sponsor. If you want to coordinate, why don’t you send out an email?”

A few hours later, in popped the email. “Ride to the Rock, leaving at 6:00 AM. Everyone welcome. Signed, Hockeystick.” It went out to a bunch of people.

Will you go to the prom with me? You will? Awesome! (One day later: How are you getting to the prom? And who’s going to buy your dinner?)

Later that evening Bull emailed to say that Hockeystick would be joining us on our sojourn to Pasadena.

“But he’s doing the Ride to the Rock tomorrow, and emailed a bunch of people about it.”


“Yeah. Several people blew off their regular ride to join him.”

“Oh. Well, surely, he wouldn’t just blow everyone off like that.”

“You don’t know Hockeystick.”

Glorious ride statistics and factoids

Distance: 90 miles

Climbing: 6,800 feet

Elapsed time: Seemed like forever

Food consumed: Half a bagel with jam, three cups of coffee, 3/4 of a Clif bar

Route: We rode from the South Bay to Santa Monica to the West Side, climbed through Bel-Air, took Mulholland to Laurel Canyon, crossed the Valley, then climbed back up Big Tujunga, Angeles Crest Highway, and dropped down into Pasadena and the Rose Bowl. This was an extraordinary route and got us way out of our comfort zone, except for Hockeystick, who was not just out of his comfort zone but pretty much in the urn for cremains from the minute we hit Bel-Air ’til the end.

Recommendations: Big Tujunga + Angeles Crest is long, hard, brutal, hot, and a favorite for crazies like the 300-lb. dude on the cafe racer whose passing fat draft almost bowled us over. Rednecks in pickups are de rigueur, as are rusted out turdboxes crammed with tweakers speeding to Palmdale for another meth run.

Best in-town discovery: Roscomare from the bottom and over Bel-Air is beautiful and a stiff climb. Hockeystick emptied most of the contents of his suitcase of courage on the first 1/3 mile, meaning that he had to do the rest of the climb using the contents of his moneybelt of adipose, which was painful to do and almost as painful to behold.

Bring your Trojans: Hockeystick was decked out for the UCLA-OSU game in a USC kit with the word “Trojans” in big, bold letters, which almost got him a date. Not at the game, but at the top of the Angeles Crest climb. Bull, Major Bob, and I had stopped at the forest service fire station to wait, and after three or four hours Hockeystick appeared, looking like Matt Barkley after playing Stanford. The half-naked fireman at the firehouse was playing loud, gay workout music as he flexed and preened with his barbells and calisthenics. Hockeystick made the mistake of wandering down by the water faucet and pulling out his own watering device to relieve himself. The combination of Hockeystick’s exposed stub and the word “Trojans” may have suggested to the sweaty, lathered up fireman that Hockeystick was inviting him to play a game of “hide the sausage in the tunnel,” and it was only by quickly suiting back up and dashing away at top speed that we were able to avoid having Hockeystick dragged off into the mancave and turned into a prison bitch.

Worst sound of the day: Bull, towards the top of Angeles Crest, moaning and groaning and whimpering the last two miles of the climb. “Unnnnnh!” and “Munnnnhrg!” and “Wennnnnghhunnh” are new words for me. Thank you, Bull.

Strangest comment: Bull, as we climbed Big Tujunga, turned back and said, “Aren’t these desert colors beautiful?” Although I was focused mainly on his rear wheel, I later looked around. The colors were brown, tan, gray, off-brown, and charred black from the forest fire. Uh, no, they’re really fucking ugly. But that’s just me.

Best view: Descent from La Canada-Flintridge into Pasadena via Chevy Chase and Figueroa. This is spectacular, and Bull took us on a secret back route to the Rose Bowl.

Weirdest police behavior: Cops at the Rose Bowl refused to let us bike through the parking area until Bull told them the exact location of his car. Like, what were we going to do? Steal a parking space with our bikes?

Heavenly angel of the day: Mrs. Hockeystick, who had sent a care package of fresh, iced and sliced watermelon. Watermelon on a hot day is the best. Cold, sliced watermelon after a brutal slog through the nasty heat is a foodgasm.

Narrowly avoided beating of the day: Hockeystick’s USC/Trojans bike outfit didn’t wear too well in the UCLA fan parking area. Thankfully, he’d packed a change of clothes that featured UCLA’s famous pansy blue with gold sparkles. I never saw someone change out of a bike kit so quickly.

Fashion fail of the day: My pants no longer fit and I’d forgotten to pack a belt. Saggy jeans falling down around my ass made for comic relief in some, nausea in others. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t been wearing my yellow and green Sponge Bob underpants.

Dietary mistake of the day: 2-foot long brat heaped with sauerkraut, jalapenos, ketchup, mustard, salsa verde, and chili, followed by cramming myself into a tiny seat under the Rose Bowl’s 106-degree heat blanket.

Funniest putdown of the day: Hey, Wankster, I know you’re from Texas and everything, but is the heat bothering you? [It wasn’t actually, unless you consider heatstroke “bother.”]

Smartest move of the day: Abandoning Hockeystick, Bull, and Major Bob after the first quarter, returning to the park, and falling asleep on the grass under the shade of an oak tree. For three hours.

Moral of today’s ride: Get out of your routine and explore somewhere new. And don’t forget to bring the Trojan(s).

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