June 11, 2017 § 12 Comments
Yesterday I sponsored a peloton skills clinic, taught by Rahsaan Bahati and assisted by Big Orange club members Greg Seyranian and Jon Stark. We had thirty-two riders show up for the free event, which took place on Westchester Parkway.
For ninety minutes Rahsaan talked, answered questions, and rode two laps around the Parkway so that we could practice the things he taught.
Education is a critically missing component from most bicycling organizations. It’s hard to understand why, as a condition of its existence, every bike club doesn’t have an ongoing education requirement. Actually, it’s easy to understand.
- Most people who run a club think they are experts with nothing to learn.
- Most people who race bikes think they invented cycling.
- Most club members are wholly unaware of educational opportunities, because typically THERE ARE NONE.
- Most cyclists would rather ride badly and get hurt than devote several Saturdays a year to improving or, dog forbid, teaching others.
- 99.99999% of all non-cycling family members have no idea, none at all, how dangerous riding a bike can be if you do it wrong.
- Safety has no place in any racing club I’ve ever belonged to except, if you’re incredibly lucky, as an add-on to kit design, race reimbursement, board squabbles, fights over sponsorship, training, and Strava competitions. Usually it’s completely non-existent.
- Most clubs refuse to pay money for professional instruction. But they will pay for parties!
- Most racers think race survival skills = road safety skills.
- Most new cyclists ape the attitudes of the more experienced ignoramuses.
- There’s never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over … in the hospital.
This clinic was strongly supported by the Big Orange membership, with about forty riders and three board members giving up the precious, golden Saturday riding hours of 8:00 to 10:00 to enjoy the clinic, which was an outgrowth of the first one put together by Big Orange rider and board member Joann Zwagerman.
I’ve been racing since 1984 and riding competitively (i.e. like a freddie) since 1982, and I learned so much listening to Rahsaan. Few people in LA have any inkling how knowledgeable this man is, and it’s not until you’ve actually listened to him that you can even begin to appreciate his warmth, kindness, gentle instruction, and profound understanding of what goes into competent bike handling.
Even though we’re the only community with a Rahsaan, your community has experts who possess great knowledge about riding safely, and they would love to share it. If you’re on a club board or in any position of leadership and are not aggressively pushing education to your membership, you are failing everyone. And if you don’t think you can find someone who knows enough to teach, visit the CyclingSavvy website to get started.
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February 22, 2012 Comments Off on The Pier Ride is dead, long live the Pier Ride
Douggie sent out the Word via FB: new Pier Ride route. We’d be axing the Marina death race through the stop lights, the crazy acceleration along Admiralty from a standing start to Mach 12 in four seconds weaving through the honeycomb of massive cracks in the bad pavement as we spilled into the neighboring lane, chock-full of angry commuters, the short but too-long-but-pointless-non-sprint sprint along Via Marina where the first person to throw up his hands gets the V, the massive chughole on Pacific that took down VV and left her with enough road rash to bump the stock price for Tegaderm by 15%, the stealth bike killers lurking behind each of the stop signs on Pacific en route back to Washington, the semi-pothole right there at the turn back onto Via Marina where, if you’re not careful, you’ll smack the shit out of it and torch a rim, then back onto Admiralty for the true crazy-ass fuckfest of gnarly steel plates and their upjutting lips of carnage, the giant ripped up shards of broken pavement, stripped down dirt studded with gravel big enough to chew up a brand new Gatorskin, furious traffic, more stoplights, and the final insane dash back down Fiji Way where it might be Big Steve, or Davy Dawg, or Tree, or Eric, or Hair, or for sure Rahsaan or Danny Heeley or some pro who dropped into LA for the weekend, ramping it up to 40 mph or maybe 45 depending on how big a sucker you look like when the story’s being retold at the coffee shop, to the big-ass finale finish that, again, no one quite knows where it is, but is definitely there, somewhere, decided again by the first pair if hands to lift off the bars, and back onto the bike path where you dodge the UCLA crew knuckleheads blocking the path with giant sculls, furry-legged Bike Path Racers putting the wood to Greg and Marco and Bernard and Eddy and Lance IN THEIR FUCKING DREAMS and almost colliding with us in the process and of course the high point of all high points, Asshole Number One locking arms with Asshole Number Two as they stick their pedestrian elbows out into our faces as we pass, then over the steel plate on the bridge where Perez likes to slip, fall, and crack his forehead every now and again, and picking razor sharp shells out of your tires that the gulls have dropped onto the path in winter, through the narrow rebar poles, either one of which if you hit will kill you, back onto Pacific, maybe past the multicolored fatboy Mapei team all the way to the triangle, then left…..
All that shit gone with one simple message on FB. Dog bless you, Douggie, and we knew it was real when Rahsaan posted the magic words: “Sounds good to me.” Because you know, if it sounds good to Vapor, it’s fuckin-A good enough for me, and you, and you, and you, and you. And you. Not to mention you, Taylor Swift, you fucking hillbilly, and I don’t care what anyone says it DID look like a fucking KKK rally at the Grammy’s, or at least the lead-up to one.
Preparation is key
I timed my departure perfectly. Alarm at 5:30. Slam the coffee. Slam the raisin bran. Dash to the toilet to drop my morning steamy Santorum, along with a couple of smaller Gingriches. Lube the legs. Pull on the kit. Dance around for a few minutes as the embro puts the fire on my balls. Ratchet down the Specialized S-Works Pro Road Shoe which, for $360.00, still doesn’t fit right or stay ratcheted down. Hop on bike. Notice rear tire is flat. Say, “Motherfucking goddammit shitfuck to hell!” Throw down bike. Wake up Mrs. Wankmeister. Timidly say, “Sorry, sweetie! Nothing! Everything’s fine, snookums!” Whisper under breath, “Goddammit motherfucking shitfuck pissit crapwad to hell!” Yank off rear wheel. Yank out tube. Check clock. If not out door in five minutes, no way I’ll make the ride. Only have one spare tube. Take it out. Partially inflate. Throw on floor. Run into kitchen. Run back. Notice tubes are tangled. Can’t remember which one is new, which one flat. Both have a little air. Whisper some more “shitfucks” under my breath. Take a gamble and pick the one on top. Stuff it onto rim. Pop on tire. Grab floor pump. Floor pump tips over, smacks the Scratch, makes hellacious racket. Sweetly say, “Sorry honey sweetums!!” Whisper a dozen more motherfuck goddamn shittohellandbacksonsofbitches. Pump up tire. Tire deflates. Rip out tube. Rip off another string of oaths. Is “dicksnot” a real cuss word? Is now. Put in other tube. Pinch shit out of finger. Stab palm with plastic tire iron. Run out of cuss words. Embro, coffee, and panic have lathered me into a steaming sweaty foamy froth. Get tire changed. Air ‘er up. Dash out the door. Get down to parking garage. Forgot garage door opener buzzer. More gods get damned, mothers fornicated with. Go back upstairs. Go back downstairs. Hop on bike. Freezing morning air ices everything inside jersey and shorts. Cuss some some. Check Garmin clock. Ride leaves at 6:40 sharp. Thirty minute ride from the apartment to there. It’s now 6:30. Probably not gonna make it without a time machine. Hammer all the way to Westchester.
The goose is loose
As I’m trolling up the parkway, off in the distance I see the mass of riders approach. I do a u-turn just as the point comes rolling through, with the Goose Man on the point, all Rapha-ed out in black and nasty pink, to hell with tearing out a page from the Perez fashion manual, he’s taken the whole damned book.
They let me squeeze in just as Wehrlissimo rolls by, there’s Davy Dawg, there’s Big Steve, there’s Tree, there’s G$, there’s Vapor, there’s the Fireman, there’s Southbay Eric, there’s Tink, there’s Surfer Dan, there’s Hair, there’s Suze, there’s Methuselah Tim, there’s Douggie, and then in a long ragged line there’s every wannabe, couldabeen, gonnado, and oughttatry in the South Bay. Instead of the Old Pier Ride, where we just do one loop, the New Pier Ride features three nasty laps around the parkway, and I’ve intercepted them at the end of the first lap.
We do the first turn, Vapor turns up the heat and the popcorn starts popping as the wankers, tankers, whackers, and hackers fry off the back. We crest the rise up to the overpass and a yellow city truck comes blowing by at fifty, and with the entire left lane to himself decides to get closer and grazes the charging peloton, missing me by inches. G$ uncorks an acceleration so hot that the blue stripes on his knee-high SPY hosiery turn green, Wehrlissimo chases and melts, and we make the second turn. I charge off past the light with Flapper Brad and a fellow IF wanker. The group blasts by, with Goose Man leading the flail.
Vapor takes over at turn 3 and it’s another long line of hurt, misery, despair, desperation, self-loathing, and clawing to stay onto the wheel in front of you. The pack has dwindled considerably, with many of the hackers deciding that they’d be more productive at work or on a gurney than out flailing in the middle of this beatdown, and we hit turn four. Last time up the hill there’s a small break, I’m stuck with the flailers and the harder I pedal the slower I go. The break explodes, everyone sits up, and the flailers reattach.
The final push for the sprint comes, and unlike the Old Pier Ride, where the sprinters are fresh and rosy-cheeked and flexing and ready to wreak havoc, they are for the most part so fucked over, tired, and roasted from the three laps of death that they can only watch as Vapor, who could win every one of these wankfests at will but instead prefers to lead out the children to give them a workout, turns on the jets and with Hair tucked on his wheel and Davy Dawg tucked on his wheel blows out a contrail of pain and misery and speed so fierce that the only one who can come around is Hair, who switches to glide and pulls away with the victory, the money, the fame, and the glory of being the first ever winner of the New Pier Ride being his and his alone.
Meanwhile, back at the flat
On the last lap I’d hit a rock full force and been forced to do the entire thing, I found out later, on a slowly deflating rear tire. Surfer Dan, G$, and Tink stopped, Dan gave me a tube and assisted with the change. I explained that but for the flat I would have probably ridden 25 mph faster than everyone else. They all nodded and rolled their eyes.
On the way back we discussed the New Pier Ride. Better? Yes. Safer? By far. Roastier? No comparison. Plan on going back to the Old Pier Ride once they finish their strip mining project/core to the center of the earth experiment on Admiralty? Noooooo way. The Pier Ride is dead. Long live the Pier Ride.