um, yeah, so I haven't been blogging lately. What can I say? I've been busy. But today, OMG, today was Black Friday. I vow to either stay home or get the hell out of town for the next Black Friday. I mean, I don't go out and shop, I've never been that type of manic shopper, I value my life too much. But I did go to work. So, I'll tell you a little about my day. I got wine, I got pumpkin pie and some music is playing so I'm set. :)
So, seeing as how it's the day after Thanksgiving, nearly everyone at work decides they want to come in early to leave early to continue their holiday weekend asap. So I leave at 6 AM. While I was getting ready, was listening to and warned by KPCC that the San Fernando Valley was enveloped in some wicked fog. So I bundle up good and leave.
(Gratuitous bike porn)
I figure a little fog wont hurt really, while it's quite freaky driving in it, I'm of the opinion that bicycling in it could be no worse. And it wasn't really, it was just a big colder and wet. Really WET. Like so wet that about a half hour into my ride my glasses were so soaked and foggy that visibility was better after taking my glasses off. (embarrasing fact, when I stop at a red light, my glasses fog up pretty bad, it's like my tear ducts exhale sometimes) And I rarely do anything without my glasses.
Visibility was about 30-40 feet at times.
Yeah, so next time I do this, I'm wearing wool. I still need to get a rain cape though. It's on my list. I'm dropping subtle hints with loved ones that all I want for Christmas is proper rain gear and wooly/warm mufflers and gloves.
(more gratuitous bike porn)
So, the morning was overall uneventful, if not very wet. Until I realize that it's taken me a lot longer than usual to get to work. It usually only takes me 90 minutes to ride the 15 miles to work (yeah, I'm slow). But I've noticed that it's been taking me an extra 15 minutes to ride the 15 miles lately. I've recently had to have Josef from Los Angeles Flying Pigeon work on my bike. Actually, the real story is my cardigan got caught in my rear wheel cog and fucked up my bike chain and Josef, being the Knight in Bike Grease that he is, came all the way to my apartment in Van Nuys to work on my bike, when he found that he forgot one vital tool, he took my bike to his shop and fixed it. Really saved my ass, I cannot thank Los Angeles Flying Pigeon enough.
But ever since I got my bike back, I've felt that it was just a bit more harder to ride. Maybe it's the weather? Maybe I'm lazy? I don't know. But today's trip was 24 minutes longer that it should have been. I couldn't even ride up the hill to work, it was pretty sick. My bike didn't feel different, my tires didn't look different, but something was different. I spoke to Josef in the afternoon and told him what I was sensing (maybe the chain was too tight, I don't freakin' know, that's why I called the experts). He gave me a number of reasons why I would be having this problem. I vowed to bring the bike in on the weekend.
I get out of work and get my bike ready to roll and I realize my rear tire is flat. I'm thankful that I have all my tools needed to fix the flat and I work on it. Thanking the gods that the sun hasn't set yet as I find the itty bitty hole in my tube and patch it right up. As easy as it was getting the tube out from under the tire, it's as hard to get the freakin' tire back into the frame. grrr
But someone believed in me <3
I got that sucker on and pumped and was ready to go.
I realized that there was so much traffic. Black Friday is no joke to these people and they will straight run your ass right out of the road if you dare try to take the lane. Which is what happened to me soon after making my normal Friday night stop at Trader Joes. I decided that tonight was not the night to battle it out with these people so I rode on the sidewalk and looked at all the pretty/tacky Christmas displays in peoples' yards. There are some homeowners who will persist in watering their yards even though it's been so wet lately that they would be just wasting their water and I made sure I yelled my thanks loud enough as I cycled past. I will never understand why these people feel the need to not only water their lawns after a rain but water their sidewalks as well.
Also saw a man in a wheelchair start crossing the street in oncoming traffic because they modified the street lights to work differently. I motioned for him to turn around so he didn't get hit by all the drivers making left turns (in our brand spanking new left turn signal light). He saw me and paid attention, in the knick of time. He ignored me when I caught up and tried to talk to him. (did I smell?)
There were so many people out that I had to be so very cautious, you'd be surprised how many drivers outside the malls don't give a damn about paying attention to the traffic cop directing the lines of traffic. That was the scariest part of the first 5 miles of my ride.
Then I got to the Orange Line Bike Path and it was smooth sailing until the next tangle of traffic. Which was about a mile from home. I ride the bike lane up Woodley (because I don't have the balls to ride on Sepulveda) and there was a three car accident on Woodley and Sherman Way. Now I usually take a little detour behind/between the 7/11 and Toys-R-Us but there was no way in hell I was going go near Toy-R-Us so I decided to cut through the drive way in front of 7/11. As I do this I see this huge freaking black SUV coming towards me, the driver is looking at the snarl of the 3 vehicle accident on the corner, she comes right at me, I make a sharp left to get out of the way and nearly fall off my bike, she makes a right and parks in front of 7/11. I'm freaking irate with drivers at this point and I go up to scream bloody murder at whomever it is and I discover it's my coworker Christina, the one I carpool with when I'm too achy (lazy) to bike to work (rarely). She gets out of the car and I explained what happened and she's just so shocked and scared because she knew she was too preoccupied with looking at the three car accident just feet from us. She's constantly apologizing as she's terrified of hitting cyclists (she's had bad experiences in her past). We talk for a bit, I rant about some of the other stuff I dealt with tonight and we vow to talk more about it at work on Monday.
I ride the last mile and arrive home a bit frazzled but in one piece. Watch some Family Guy and give The Gritty Kitty some lovin' (she knows when I need some extra attention).