I’m happy to report that I’m now the proud owner of a new used bike (thanks to Christine, whose legs are too long for it) and an almost completed New Year’s resolution. (I was sneaky to make my resolution “Start riding a bike” instead of just “Get a bike.”)
Just in time, since I’m on a cardio-only exercise regimen thanks to my hernia, which I’ve nicknamed Iggy. I took my maiden bicycle voyage Sunday afternoon with AK, who also owns one of Christine’s old bikes.
I programmed a four-digit number into my new combination lock.
I attached my new lights.
I strapped on my new bike helmet whose baby blue-ness almost allows me to forget the fact that it’s a bike helmet and not a jaunty cap.
I tried not to think about how expensive a used bike can be once you start adding a bunch of new accessories.
(But AK and I did get free T-shirts from the friendly owner of the Bicycle Station, who said I looked like Amanda Peet. So ultimately I think I got a good deal.)
Riding residential-ish streets down to Lincoln Heights, I quickly discovered that the reason I feared riding a bike—its car/pedestrian hybrid nature—was also a reason to love it. True, I was as vulnerable as an especially wobbly, nervous pedestrian, but I also enjoyed all the sights and smells a pedestrian gets: the lush greens and waving clotheslines off Marmion Way, people pushing laundry carts on Monte Vista, the beautiful Changeling-era houses along Pasadena Avenue.
All while moving fast enough to actually get to Pasadena Avenue in less than forty minutes. I felt simultaneously old-fashioned and cutting-edge.
We stopped to visit AK’s old neighbors on Sichel Street, all of whom live in the same brick building, and they came swarming out to meet us, seemingly genuinely glad to have unexpected visitors. This, too, seemed like something out of the 19th century or a whimsical parallel universe. They all but offered us fresh-baked bread.
Then we pedaled up Figueroa—on the sidewalk because Fig is big—and stopped at Andy’s Panaderia for actual fresh-baked pan dulce. Not a bad time to be alive and herniated in L.A.