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Bikes, bomb scares, and Ciclavia

The things we'll do to go on a bike ride.

Today the city of Los Angeles closed off several main streets to traffic, leaving it safe for bikers and pedestrians. It's called Ciclavia. I love this day.

Of course, being in Los Angeles, everyone lives spread out far from the center. We commute into the center on buses, trains, maybe even cars, in order to ride our bikes around the city.

Ciclavia was great, but the drama came on the home trip. Imagine thousands of urban cyclists squeezing into a tiny string of subway cars.

We were ready to wait patiently for out turn, but as we worked our way through the crowd towards Union Station, we were told that the Red Line was temporarily closed.

I was outraged for a while. I thought they arbitrarily blocked us off so that instead of dealing with hordes of bikers on a Sunday afternoon, they would have to deal with hordes of bikers a few hours later on a Sunday evening. It didn't seem logical.

It turns out the real issue was a bomb threat.

I didn't wait for the news, though. I met a friend who had her car parked a few miles away, complete with a bike rack on the back. She handed me a spare key with the idea I would ride my bike to her car, and drive back to pick her up.

But when I got there, the car key was useless because she had "The Club" locking the wheel.

For a biking event that ended at 3, I didn't even get home until after 5. Not a disaster, but it got me thinking.

I could have just got on my bike and taken a ride anywhere I wanted today, and avoided the hassles of a group trip. Why do we really ride our bikes?

For me, it has never been about racing or speed. I thought I was just using the bike as a fun way to get around, and save some money along the way. But it turns out I'm willing--even eager--to spend 7 hours of my time to take a 45-minute bike ride if it's part of a big group event.

I had a lot to do this weekend, and doing Cyclavia meant giving up some sleep. But I didn't just ride. I met a professional musician, and talked about wine with a dude from Argentina. I even got a new business idea which may someday provide the means to go on more bike tours.

Biking is a social event, something I hadn't thought about since the last time I went on Midnite Ridazz. That's another reason I ride a bike.

Biking is social, something that can bring strangers together.

 

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