Let’s Go Ride A Bike: Personal Challenge, Day 21 (10.7.12)
Today didn’t exactly start off the way I had planned. I woke up, ready to participate in CicLAvia, an event that temporarily moves cars from the streets of Los Angeles. The streets are open to bikers, pedestrians, roller skaters, skateboarders, and joggers. I was planning on joining a new group of friends in a bike ride through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. I was all ready to go when I noticed that both tires on my bike were underinflated. I couldn’t go on a major bike ride with my flattened tires. (I guess this is what happens when you don’t ride your bike for a while).
I took out my little hand pump and tried to pump up my tires. It was taking forever and I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to meet up with my friends. I called my California sister in a panic and she came over with her pro tire pump. Once the tires were properly inflated (and she teased me about my helmet and bike), I was off. This was my first real expedition on my Schwinn Legacy Cruiser that I received as a Christmas present from my parents. Actually, this was the first time I was riding a bike on the streets of Los Angeles and taking the Gold Line train to Downtown. It was a little scary. There was a bike lane but often times there were cars parked in the bike lane and I had to merge into traffic, terrified I would be hit. But the drivers were courteous and I managed to make it to the Metro Gold Line train in one piece.
I took the Metro Gold Line for the first time using my new Metro TAP pass. A few months ago, I received a letter in the mail from Metro, asking me to try their new TAP pass. I would get 5 free days on the Metro. I agreed and received my TAP pass, a pass that has spent several months in a drawer until today. My TAP pass was definitely put to use today. I tapped in at the Gold Line, making my journey to Union Station. Then I tapped into the Metro Red Line (warning: the elevators reek of urine) with MacArthur Park as my destination and meeting place.
When I first got off the train, I entered a land of bikers. Every bike that you could imagine, including some that would be seen in places like Burning Man, streaked past. I eventually found my friends at MacArthur Park, enjoying the food trucks. There was entertainment, food trucks galore, and free food samples awaiting the CicLAvia participants. Once I arrived, my earlier frustration with my bike became a faint memory. I was so glad that I didn’t give up and let the flat tires ruin my day. Just getting to the event had been an adventure and it was about to get better.
We started out on 7th Street, making our way to Grand Park, the next entertainment and food hub for the event. It was cool how the streets were closed off to cars, except in cross streets. We did have to stop at some intersections to allow cars through the area. And at times, some of the fellow participants were dangerous in their lack of bike etiquette. So many times, people would just stop right in front of us and block a large section of the street so they could talk with their friends. Other times, you had people riding their bikes on the wrong side of the street, usually kids. But my favorite had to be a woman on a pink cruiser bike riding with her cigarette sticking out, ready to burn anyone who brushed past her. We were the unfortunate ones behind her having to breath in the smoke but we were too afraid of getting burned to pass her. Thankfully she was distracted and went off to the right and we were able to ride quickly past her. You definitely had to be a defensive biker, constantly keeping an eye on everything going on around you so you didn’t wind up kissing the pavement (which I did see happen a few times).
After Grand Park, we made our way to Chinatown. At this point, it was after 3pm and the event was coming to a close. We were all exhausted and decided after a quick visit to the Chinatown hub, we would hop onto the Gold Line. We decided we would go out for a drink before heading off into our separate directions. We took the Gold Line to Old Town Pasadena. We chose The Green Tavern as our drink destination. I had never been there before and to be honest, it is a little too . . . upscale for my taste. I did finally get my imported German beer and a salad but it was too expensive for my taste. But at least I can say I have been there.
Once we were done chatting and enjoying our drinks, we rode our bikes make to the Metro Gold Line station where we had to part ways. I was three stops away from my destination. When I arrived and made my way down to the street, I used what energy I had left to ride my bike back up a street I drive on a daily basis. But when you are in a car, you don’t notice the street’s steep incline. I didn’t get very far on the bike before I decided to just walk the last few miles home.
I don’t think I have ever been so happy before to see my back door. I made my way into my kitchen and decided to look at my Bodymedia Fit results for the day. I had burned 3,000 calories, took over 11,000 steps and had over 4 hours of activity. My legs were sore, I got a little too much sun, and I was way too sweaty but I had a blast and I would definitely do this again.