Last Thursday was Bike to Work Day here in LA, which doesn’t mean much for us freelancers who have 20-foot commutes to our desks. So in order to participate in such an important day, I dutifully rode from my home office to the place where the real work gets done: a brewery. Not just any brewery, a brewery in a building with a JR piece on its exterior. And not just any building, either. See the lettering mid-shot, “John A. Roebling’s Sons Co.”? Yep, this is the wire works once owned by the sons of John A. Roebling, the engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Using Roebling’s revolutionary wire rope technique—which you may remember reading about in my City Walks Architecture: New York book—cables were spun for many bridges here. What better place to drink beer?
The event was one of several Bike From Work happy hours orchestrated by the awesome folks at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. From the moment I got there, I knew this was the right event for me: The Ben & Jerry’s Truck, which had visited us at GOOD on its very first day out, was there dispensing free ice cream! It was as if they knew I’d be coming. Follow them this summer to see where else they’ll be.
The second incredible surprise was meeting my bike twin, owned by the awesome Jessica! The bike valets parked our bikes together all by themselves so they could talk about special Public bike things, while we were inside having a beer and talking about what it’s like riding around on such sweet wheels (we both agreed we’d made lots of friends). Such a huge thank you to LACBC for organizing the evening (lots more photos here), as well as an entire week of events. And thanks to Angel City in advance for being the place I’m going to go every weekend afternoon this summer.
While biking home from Bike From Work, the weather was absolutely perfect, the last of the sun was hitting the buildings of downtown, and I was feeling so good about spending time with other bike-nerds. (For more on these topics, check out this little interview with me about my first month of biking by Sarah Mirk at the Portland Mercury. Thanks, Sarah!)
I sailed through the 2nd Street tunnel, one of my favorite places to ride because I almost feel like I’m entering a wormhole that transports me to a different city at a different time—I leave behind the slick glass and steel towers of downtown and roll quietly into the charming disrepair of Historic Filipinotown, its paint-peeling siding and crumbly stucco glowing in the sunset.
And that’s where I got yelled at for riding too slow. At least, I think that’s what she was mad about. I believe the actual phrase was “What are you doing, you moron?”
One thing I’ve realized as I’ve been riding around this past month-and-a-half is that bikes actually have multiple speeds. Not like gears, silly (thank goodness I already figured that one out). I realized that I don’t always have to be in some kind of drag race with cars. I can really slow down and take in my surroundings. And I do.
I can go slow enough that I can even stop to experience little moments like this. I mean, would you take a look at this? There is so much greatness in this one photo. Plus: Free dirt!
For my final stop of the night, and because ice cream and beer were not enough, I went by a Pie Salon—yes, there is such a thing—baked up by the lovely Sarah Williams of Fruit + Flour. (Pie shown not actual size.)
It was held in the backyard of my neighbor Maren, who has a legitimate barn for hosting photo shoots, throwing parties, and watching a few dozen of her friends stuff themselves silly with pie. The evening was a fundraiser for 826LA (who I seem to write a lot about these days) and featured a student reading an incredible story from the book From the Couch to the Kitchen about cooking jambalaya with his family.
Maybe it was the beer, maybe it was the ice cream, maybe it was the joy of cruising slowly through my city on two wheels, but after that, I was somehow talked into participating in a pie-eating contest. My strategy—to slurp the chocolate cream down like a milkshake before chomping the crust—failed miserably, and I spent most of the competition trying not to inadvertently snort a line of whipped cream. Maren, to the left of me, won. Which is fine, because it’s her house and all.
As you can probably guess, I didn’t get close to finishing my pie. Luckily, I had the perfect way to take the rest of it to-go.