Now that the Errandonnee is over & I got off my tuchus to fill out my Control Card to be official, I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience. I’ve been in LA for just over a year now & went from riding almost every day…to almost never. Sure, part of that is I live Downtown (DTLA for the hip & happening) and most places I go are within a mile or two of home, so I just walk.
But the much larger part is that BOY AM I NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE, TOTO! Portland is such a bubble of bikeyness, it’s easy to forget that other cities don’t have the infrastructure to support biking everywhere. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition & nobody expects you to show up on a bike in LA. The bike maps SUCK! They are incomplete & each agency that produces one uses different color coding to denote bike lanes, bike routes, etc. For example, LADOT Orange is a Bike Path & Blue is a Bike Lane, but for Metro it’s the opposite. And times I’ve given up on the map altogether & looked for lower traffic streets, I’ve found sharrows on streets that aren’t designated on the map.
The Errandonnee made me think about how I’d given up something I really enjoyed. And it’s something my dog, Mochi, loves too. He’s good for about 4-5 hours in his basket (with water/pee breaks, of course) before he gets restless. He loves the wind in his fur & his ears flying in the breeze. So instead of focusing on what I don’t have: bike lanes, bike racks, drivers who are familiar with bikes on the road…I’m focusing on the positives: SUNSHINE!, no more rain gear, fenders – who needs ’em?!, and best of all DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH FUN IT IS TO SEE SOMEONE’S FACE WHEN A DRAG NUN GOES BY ON A BICYCLE?!
I’ve ordered a San Francisco coronet for bike riding (every city or “House” has a different headpiece) since the Hoobie-Doobie is hell in a headwind or going faster than 15MPH. The Flying Nun takes on a whole new meaning. In the meantime, Sister Donna Vanewday in Portland sent me some loaner Ear Boobs that arrived just in time for CicLAvia. HURRAY!
I managed to get Sister Gaia Love (a recent transfer from San Diego, my new bikey partner-in-crime & AIDS/LifeCycle teammate) and Sister Barbie-Q (my fellow LA Sister & AIDS/LifeCycle teammate) to join in. Barbie had never ridden as a Nun before & we had a blast. Lots of photos, lots of “SISTER!” exclamations from people who know who we are & opportunities to explain it to others. MORE BIKING IN THE FUTURE! Adventure is out there!
For our last errand, Mochi and I went to West Hollywood to record a Joybomb podcast with Sister Indica. This was my FIFTH time as a guest on Joybomb, and the final time in LA, since Indica is moving back to San Diego. *SOB*
Still following the LA Metro Bike Map, I took Fountain Ave most of the way there. Sharrows are not the magical protection that someone seems to believe them to be. Fountain is heavily travelled by cars and with 35MPH posted speed limits. For the ride home, I decided to just take random streets – and was much happier for it. I found a few streets with sharrows that weren’t shown on the map, but that were lower traffic and lower speeds, much more comfortable. Mochi is happy just to have the wind whistling through his fur & his ears flying in the breeze.
The Sisters have formed a team for AIDS/LifeCycle, a 545 mile ride from San Francisco to LA that benefits an AIDS charity in both cities. Sunday was the LA party for “Ticket to Ride”, since each rider needs to raise at least $3,000 to participate. I was there more as a Sister than as a rider, since I haven’t raised enough money yet to earn my “ticket.” With only 10 weeks to go I don’t think I’ll be able to make that goal. Fundraising may be a part of what we do, but it’s not my strong suit. Selling raffle tickets or Jell-O shots is one thing, straight up asking for money is another. (But if you were moved to donate: Sister Leigh)
The party was in Hollywood, just off Hollywood Boulevard with the Walk of Fame & all the wild people it attracts. If you’re in to people watching – this is your place. 2,000 tourists, 10 Darth Vaders, 12 Spidermen, 2 Michael Jacksons & a partridge in a pear tree. So a drag nun biking by wearing petticoats & a Sister Bertrille hat…not a big deal.
I gave them a bit of a hard time at the event, since there was no bike parking. My cyclist rep’s response, “We didn’t expect anyone to ride their bikes here.” And that’s LA for you. Nobody expects you to ride your bike as a mode of transportation, even when it’s a party promoting a bike ride & you’ve invited 100+ cyclists. Fortunately, I’m prepared for this and have an extra long u-lock for securing my Nunmobile (7-speed step-thru) to street signs.
3.14.15 Ultimate Pi Day. I rode to the Arts District for pie to celebrate the “holiday”. I decided on the Earl Grey, since it was a flavor I’d never heard of before & sounded interesting. I’d looked up The Pie Hole, so I knew they opened at 8. 9:00 seemed like a reasonable time for pie & coffee. I’m glad I didn’t wait until later! It was already fairly busy & by the time I left the line was out the door. I saw pictures on Instagram later in the day & the line was down the block. A friend used to host a Pie Ride on Pi Day to hit up multiple stops. I didn’t know if it would be as popular here. Yes. Pie is always popular. Any excuse for pie is welcomed. Pie Spot has bike parking! Two staples out front is like a bonanza in LA.
Working half-day on Friday meant I had time to head over to the Fashion District for some veil shopping. Shop after shop of fabrics, trims and sequins at wholesale prices. It’s hard to resist going there more often, especially since the selections are ever-changing. The Errandonnee has made me look at how much I’ve backed off riding my bike. In Portland I would take my bike everywhere. In LA I’ve gotten used to walking or taking transit, just because it’s not as bike friendly. BUT I LOVE RIDING MY BIKE! So I wanted to find some fabrics similar to the veils I wear regularly as a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence, but shorter lengths. I was also looking for Dritz reflective piping. I had some at home, so in a flash of inspiration, I added it to the hem of one of my petticoats. There’s more hem than I had piping for though, so I needed another packet. (I ended up ordering it online because nobody carried it or they were sold out.)
I also went to Moskatel’s, the craft store, which meant biking through Skid Row on the way home. The first time I wound up there, after taking a wrong turn on a walk, I was a little freaked out. I had never seen anything like it. Now I know where the boundaries of Skid Row are, so it doesn’t take me by surprise. And through a childhood connection between Sister Mendusa Love Forbid and the founder of The Burrito Project, I’ve started going once a month to hand out food, water & necessities.
First I went to the bank to deposit my paycheck. For the past year, I’d looked up at these cylinders and wondered. They finally repaired the neon tubing and I found out it’s an art installation that lights up depending on the pedestrians underneath.
Next up, since it was so damn hot (my sympathies to everyone doing the Errandonnee in snow), I thought I’d make a big loop and go to Peddler’s Creamery on Main Street. Especially convenient since Main is the street with a bike lane headed North.
When I got there, I found a note “Back in 15 min. Thanks.” (Side note to businesses: if you’re going to do this, time stamp it.) My heart set on some small batch ice cream, churned by bicycle power, I decided to wait. Depositing my paycheck had really just been an excuse to reward myself. And I waited. And waited. At least 8 other people stopped by & were turned away. The timing couldn’t have been worse to close up on a hot, sunny day. Too hot for me to stand there anymore, I gave up.
On to Walgreens! Now I was really hot & thought I’d pick up an It’s It before heading home. The It’s It was the snack of choice on our Bike Tour from Portland to San Francisco a few years ago. FOILED AGAIN! They were out. Fine, I decided to get a paleta instead. Limon, Pacana…meh, Fresa…okay, not my favorite, what no Mango or Coco?! Why does the universe hate me?! Then I saw them. Two Cocos hidden behind some Pacana. #sorrynotsorry to the person who hid them there, but I just ran errands by bike – MINE NOW!
For Errand 4 I went to 515 S. Flower Street to meet with my employer’s financial adviser. I was pleasantly surprised to discover there’s Bike Share in the lobby for building employees. Given that everyone I saw was wearing a suit, I’m curious if they get much use. There are supposedly several Bike Shares in the works around LA and I’m all for anything that gets more bikes on the road. I didn’t realize it was 1.76 miles round trip to Flower. I’ve gotten so used to walking around DTLA, I guess I walk further than I think. Like with biking, distance is all relative and the point at which you finally think, “that’s a LONG trip” is flexible.
Errand #5 was a stop at the Redbox to pick up a movie. I hadn’t seen Mockingjay yet, so I decided to pick it up. THERE’S A BIKE RACK AT RALPH’S! There are few & far between bike racks in DTLA. Once again, I was spoiled by all the staples and racks available in Portland. I think I’d weep for joy and then faint if I saw an on-street corral here. It’s 2.34 miles to the store & back – I need to bike there more often!