A Bicycle Built for Two

Would you believe it’s possible to bike to work in LA?


The LA Times has been featuring a week-long debate on where and how bicycling fits into los angeles city streets: when bicyclists encounter road rage, bike lanes, what it would take to get real, paris-style, city bicycling by and for the public, as another mode of public transportation. (ETA: and then there’s portland, oregon–the most bike-friendly city in america, where bicyclists are part of street traffic.)

HB is a serious cyclist. How serious? In his misspent youth, he misspent it doing “centuries,” or 100-mile rides. In one day. (Me, I sat at home curled up with a book, and cheered when he came home.) These days, he takes the Unreliable Narrator for rides in the park near our house. To do this, he has a super-cool sidecar that attaches to his frame and has both a mesh door (for hot days) and a clear plastic door that zips over it (for when it’s cold). The Unreliable Narrator has gone for rides with his daddy ever since he was about a year old.

Nov 2007, at Bike Night, the Festival of Lights in Griffith Park

HB also, much to my inner horror, occasionally rides his bike to work. That means he’s sharing the road with insane buses and often mean, inattentive, nutjob drivers. (Los Angeles drivers are kind of brilliantly, consistently rude on the freeways, but frightening on the surface streets…which they drive freeway-fast but surface-street stupid.) He wears a helmet, sure, but against a couple tons of metal and a jerk who fails to look? That helmet is a mere wishful thought. Every time he goes out on the road, a part of me holds its breath hoping today’s not the day luck goes against him. And I don’t breathe again til he comes back.

I always feel relief during Los Angeles’ rainy season, because it means he won’t be saddling up for a bit. All it takes is one person to not pay attention…

And I always, ALWAYS, drive like a little old lady whenever I see a bicyclist on the road with me. I give that person a huge berth and about ten minutes. I don’t know who that stranger on a bike is, but I feel ultra protective of him or her. Because that could be my guy out there riding around, and as crazy-superstitious as it is to think my little bit of good karma toward a stranger could keep anything bad from happening to my own HB, well, I’ll do it anyway.

2 thoughts on “A Bicycle Built for Two

  1. wow, bicycling in los angeles. That sounds like the title of a crazy memoir, doesn’t it?

    your husband is brave.

    i totally believe in karma, horoscopes, and fortune cookies … so, i fully support not breathing till your man comes home safe (esp. with baby in tow) and/or driving like an old lady when around other bicyclists … whatever it takes to keep loved one’s safe.

  2. he wouldn’t be who he was if he weren’t out cycling around, taking his chances with the vehicularly insane. but even in bicycle-loving portland, 6 cyclists were killed last year by drivers. so there are no guarantees. just luck.

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