Tooling about while at the beach

Did I mention that on my recent excursion to the left coast, I took one day to do a 10-mile bicycle ride?

Well technically, it was a 10-mile ride on 2 different bikes…but both required moving my legs in a circulation motion, if that counts. (and you know it does)

I have long wondered whether a recumbent bicycle (the bike where it feels like you’re dragging a#$ on the pavement) is a ride enjoyed. Those particular bicycles have always been a source of curiousity for me.

I’ve never taken a “test drive” with one.

That is, until last Friday….

I don’t like recumbent bicycles.

OK…technically, I didn’t like the clunker, heavy metal, squeeking, tire rubbing my hip, single gear, crooked handlebar, rusted piece of junk I rented at the bike rental shop at Santa Monica Beach on October 21, 2011.

OMG! After 1/2 mile I thought “no way”. I had small children on bikes with training wheels passing me…and I was peddling fast and hard, dammit!

But I gave it a good ol’ effort and did about 5 1/2 more miles on that piece of bald-tired transportation. As I rolled back into the bike rental shop, they heard me distinctly say, “I’m not done riding, but I am done riding this junker”.

Tyler, the bike-chain grease monkey guy, smiled at me and simply said “OK”.

Come to find out, technically, the bike rental shop was not supposed to switch out bicycles with the renters in mid-rental (that policy logic escapes my feeble mind entirely).

However, in my reasoning conversation with Tyler, he understood that if an exception wasn’t made in my case, I was prepared to sit on the recumbent (mostly because I couldn’t get up but I didn’t want him to know that) another 30 minutes, in front of their shop, until my hour rental was up.

And lord only knows what kind of scathing conversation I would have entered into with new renters during that 30 minutes of waiting.

I liked Tyler!

So he then put me on a more conventional bicycle (with actual gears and decent brakes), tapped my helmet, and told me to go have fun. Once I got on the bike – standing next to the bike, the seat hit me about at the armpit, or maybe it was the chin – it was a grand ride!

Quite honestly, I was a bit apprehensive about stopping. You should know the bicycle frame was taller than my pant inseam length, so it was quickly, and obviously, understood that coming to a stop the traditional way – that being slipping off the front of the seat and saddling the frame – was not an option if I wanted to keep my honey-sweet baritone singing voice intact.

Therefore, how ever I was going to get stopped, it would most likely be with a whole lot of lack-in-grace getting off the bike (envision a California Giant Sequoia toppling over – it’s gonna take a whole lot of other stuff with it when it does happen).

I was hoping that as I approached the bike rental shop, maybe Tyler would start running along side me (like Dad did when I was kid learning to ride) while I slowed to a vertical stop – my “Tyler Kickstand”, so to speak.

Tyler didn’t help, that didn’t happen, nor did the tree-felling/falling scenario come into play. It all somehow worked out OK without incident however. Maybe it was those hound dogs guarding the shop…I remember thinking if I hit the deck, they would pounce on me as if someone tossed raw meat on the floor for their enjoyment (they were actually very well mannered dogs).

Remember now, I’m on the west coast – LA, Malibu, Santa Monica, among other beachin’ places – where bike riding, in-line skating, skateboarding, rickshaws, and Segways are the wheeled things to do along the beach. For the rest of the trip, I found myself noticing bicycles…whether I was “technically” atop one or not.

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