Stuck on Mt. Disappointment, Part 2 or Why I will be abstaining from group rides or My Beef with the Wolfpack Hustle
As I approached Highland on 4th this morning, I pulled up behind this woman, driving her nice big SUV. I noticed she was talking, in a very animated fashion, on her...wait for it...cell phone. Phone held in her right hand, glued to her ear (if you zoom into the photograph you can see the shadow outline), she kept looking back and forth frantically to see if it was safe to cross into the median.
I watched as she would start forward then look the other way and slam on the brakes. Frankly, it was scary to watch her be so distracted, waiting for the accident to happen. From behind her, I made large gestured of making a phone sign with my left hand, putting it to my ear, then very clearly making the "hang up" gesture. She either didn't see me or didn't care. I considered pulling up next to her and confronting her, but as Bike Girl said, it was not the right battle. I could only hope that she would be lucky, that the people who are in cars around her would be lucky, and the pedestrians and cyclists she passes would be lucky. I watched her pull through the median, then into the Southbound lanes and away. I shook my head and hoped.
When I pass drivers who are obviously breaking the law and talking on the phone sans hands-free device, the anger I feel is for myself. They are putting ME at risk...especially this woman in her HUGE SUV, which would obviously kill me in any "accident" between us. But as I watched her drive away, the anger and sadness I felt was for the families--her family, the family of the other person, my family--all the people who would miss her and or the people she might harm or kill because it was more important for her to talk on the phone than be safe. We so often think about how these careless individuals put others at risk, but what's really sad is that they don't care that they put THEMSELVES in so much risk. What's more important, taking what's probably a relatively unimportant call or being alive?
I'm going to go with being alive.
Well it's official, folks. A work commute by car that used to take me 25 to 30 minutes now only takes me 20 minutes via bicycle without breaking a sweat. So all you naysayers out there who proclaim you can't traverse LA on a bicycle as fast as you can in a cage, oops, I mean car, are right. You can do it faster! Suck it!
I've decided I will post every day this week, come hell or high water. Hell will probably be first considering this is LA, and even though it rained last week, we are still in a drought.
So, very quickly, I thought I'd recount my commute this morning (even though I do have some stories from previous bike rides in November and December that I haven't gotten to yet--no time for that now though). The temperature is up to about 55 degrees in the mornings now, and we're supposed to hit at least 60F everyday this week. The ride was brisk and lovely, as I got out early enough to dodge a lot of traffic that comes out after 9am, so I was able to really "get the lead out" and book it. I actually made record time--20 minutes from pedal begin to pedal stop.
The nicest part (yes, and smuggest part) of my ride was on 4th street after I passed La Brea. The street is very narrow there, and cars don't have room to pass. There were about 4 cars stopped and waiting behind a garbage truck, while the workers picked up the garbage cans lining the street. I pulled to the left to see if there was oncoming traffic, then whizzed past all of them thinking, "SUCKAZZ!" Regardless of any little motorist mistreatments on the way in, that moment totally made the morning's ride for me.
Monday night Ohaijoe and I rode around a deserted downtown Los Angeles searching for festive decorations. We found some great gardens and environments at the Music Center complex. Below are pics of my bike in different places...
Isn't it weird that cyclists take pics of their bikes like pet owners take random shots of their pets? Sigh...I've gone round the bend for sure.