The Locals

8a9d7240d82168b2_3315915121_ffc65058acHelmet? Check. Gloves? Check. Spandex shorts with the padded butt? Check!

Well, I never thought I’d see this day.
It’s not that I ever disliked cyclists… it’s just that… yeah, I didn’t like them.

They freak me out when I’m driving. They’re unpredictable, they hog the road and go 15 mph in a 50, waving their overly-developed gluts side to side in front of your car, practically taunting you, but then when you go and hit them suddenly now you’re the bad guy!

(Not to mention that sport once contributed to me losing an intense game of Balderdash. The card was Tour de France… I drew a tennis racket. Game over.)

Maybe the locals in your new town are mostly surfers, or hipsters, beach bums, yuppies, emo musicians, or maybe they’re gang members. Me… I’m surrounded by cyclists.

Since my boyfriend was actually already one of them (a near deal breaker in the relationship when I first saw the shorts), it would be an easy transition for him to live among the spandex people. But the next thing I know he’s trying to sell me on the idea that it would be great if I got into it too.

I think he also thought if I also had a bike I’d stop complaining about his being in the hallway blocking the front door (it’s a safety hazard!).

Decision: I could either isolate myself from the Santa Monicans and forever be rejected by their society, OR I could get over my fear of colorful, knee-length leotards and get on a bicycle.

I figured what the hell. I kick ass in a Spin class so sure, why not, how hard could this be?

We went to the local bike shop, had the man pull down a few bikes and went to the parking lot to try them out.

Turns out road bikes and the stationary ones at the gym… not so similar.

Who ever decided the seat should be higher than the handle bars is a nut and who ever coined the term “It’s like riding a bike” was a smug jerk.

Two falls and all my dignity later… not to mention the memory of my boyfriend holding me up while running along side the bike like a dad teaching a 5-year-old… we walked out with a shiny new bicycle and a big box of Bandaids!

I was happy to stand there in front of our building, looking the part and wave at our neighbors with that “Hi, yes, I am one of you” smile but the BF had other plans… like a 26 miles crash course to Manhattan Beach and back.

Right off the bat, I hated how close together bikers are supposed to ride, but my boyfriend was wearing a riding outfit from an old Olive Oil sponsor, that didn’t think things through, so his butt said “EXTRA VIRGIN” which I got a kick out of.

However, when he asked if I wanted to try to make the green light, I said yes and sped up then he changed his mind, causing me to slam into his extra virgin butt … it wasn’t as funny. It’s too close.

He turned around, looked at me laying on the ground under my bike and innocently asked “what happened?!”

We realized in a hurry I wasn’t quite ready for the streets yet so we mostly stuck to the boardwalk.
Turns out drivers, side view mirrors, and swiftly opened car doors aren’t the only enemies of a biker….  3-year-olds on pink plastic tricycles are too.

They think it’s just sooo cute to weave all over the road and ring their bell. Grow up. I’m trying to ride a real bicycle here.

So it’ll take some time. I won’t be the best cyclist Santa Monica has ever seen, it’s cool. It’s fun, great exercise and I feel like an official resident now.

Try on the local persona. Buy a guitar and black hair dye, or a polo shirt and loafers, board shorts and some marijuana, or decide whether you want to be a Crip or a Blood, it’ll be a good time!

If it doesn’t work out you can always pick up and move in 12 short months when your lease is up! (Unless you actually did join a gang, that’s probably more complicated)

……and if you’re ever in the Santa Monica area and happen to hit a blonde amateur cyclist on the road, please inform my parents and publicly blame my boyfriend.