Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pride Before the Fall

This evening while riding home from work, I fell off my bike. This happened while riding a section of the Southbay Bike Path that runs along Dockweiler State Beach. I was traveling at speed, quite close the right edge of the path when a lack of concentration on what I was doing… namely riding a bicycle, caused me to veer a bit to much to the right. Once off the pavement 23mm tires are not very good. At this point I found myself unable to maintain forward momentum in the beach sand, and I keeled over. The only thing injured: my pride.

It is this section of bike path that abuts the Dockweiler State Beach Camp Ground; an RV park tucked between the Scattergood wastewater treatment Facility and Santa Monica Bay, and under the flight-path of LAX.

People actually camp with the smell of poop, and the roar of jets taking off to the far flung corners of the earth. A couple of campers watched me go down from the comfort of their beach chairs. I got up with both arms in the air giving a victory salute. They laughed long and hard.

Growing up, one of my heros was Tintin. We had a stack of hard covered adventures that took us around the globe fighting drug runners, despotic regimes, solving mysteries, and saving loyal friends from sure death. "The Black Island", "King Otokar's Scepter", "Flight 714", "Red Sea Sharks", and my favorite "Tintin in Tibet".

One book I never had as a kid is one of the earliest of Herge's efforts, "The Blue Lotus". This takes place in 1930s Japanese occupied Shanghi. In it,Tinitin comes up against a gang of drug running imperialists and first meets his dear friend Chang who figures into the story of "Tintin in Tibet". My wife got a copy of The Blue Lotus a few years ago and I was reading it recently and was delighted with the depiction of Tintin making a daring getaway on cool looking bike.

Just today, I was thinking of this image and went back to examine it. I noticed right away that my hero was riding what looks like a brakeless fixed gear.

I am a big fan of single speed riding and while I have "gone fixed" for a few thousand miles, I can not however recommend brakeless riding. It's cool and hip and all, and if that is how you like to ride, then cool, but I can assure you that a freewheel and good brakes make for way more fun fast urban riding. Tintin has just grabbed this bike off the street and and making a daring getaway on this dope looking track bike. Looking over his shoulder to check for his pressures, he is totally unready to preform a skid stop when he reaches the intersection and here is the result.

I am glad that he was wearing what looks to be a helmet of some sort.

Previous to my "fall" I had been making great time. Dropping a young guy on his new Fuji carbon road bike. Zipping past a young lady on a Felt. Rather than letup and enjoy the sunny evening I pushed harder checking my cadence by counting against the clock. 85 rpm ok but I can do better… Like my hero, thinking about who I had left in the dust left me in the sand.

What a dork!

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