Monday, August 2, 2010


Well, after an all too short hiatus from the daily commute I rejoined the throng making their/our way into the office. Somehow, at times like this, I always expect to see change, big change. Not change like "the old railroad bridge over Foothill in Rancho Cucamonga has been removed so the city can begin road realignment" kind of change, though that is big change. And yes, that does mean that the PET has a temporary disconnect along its route. I am talking about momentous change along the lines of evolutionary theory which holds that the most dramatic changes in the evolutionary past have occurred in spurts rather than gradually over long periods of time. Somehow I expect to see a major shift in the way people are getting around - bikes flooding the streets, parking lots all but empty, trains packed floor to ceiling. But alas no, reality strikes with a dull thud, the masses are still locked in their old ways, the same couple handfulls making the effort- two wheels are a viable alternative to the same old gridlocked ways. I'm not sure why this fallacy of thought persists; I am a card-carrying pessimist by nature, so there is no reason to hope that things would have dramatically improved. But still, every year after I have returned from vacation that hope is there. Maybe it is a result of time away from the grind, of having been able to relax and disconnect from everyday pettiness that leaves me renewed. At the same time, the nagging reality that nothing had changed nearly kept me from the bike. What's the use; and so I hit the snooze button twice, deciding to sell out and drive. I knew I would regret the decision, so at the last possible minute I threw everything into the messenger bag and rode out from the garage. I was greeted by the sun, the cool morning air, and nods from my fellow cyclists. Glad for the effort.

As an aside, I was able to visit Malibu over the weekend, though not on two-wheels. My sister and her family are down from Seattle and wanted to spend a day at Zuma, so we made the drive out to the coast. Controversy aside, it was great to see so many cyclists out on PCH. It has been a good 16 years (I can hardly believe so much time has passed) since I last rode that stretch. Living in Burbank at the time, taking Mulholland, down Sepulveda and San Vicente, PCH north, and Topanga Canyon back over to the Valley was a pleasure ride, especially on hot summer days. There was always a lot of traffic, but it seems like there are a lot more cars parked alongside the road now, especially in the vicinity of certain businesses. A clear example of private interests, in this case drivers and businesses, getting a free ride on the public's back; free private parking on a public roadway. This is also, of course, one of the more dangerous situations for cyclists, riding between parked cars on one side and moving vehicles on the other. If the shoulders were kept clear, I suspect there would be far less problem. I can hear the uproar, like a fog horn, over the breaking waves now.

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