Today I am home sick with a cold and so after drinking a bunch of cups of tea I end up here with a yearning to update the bicycling world with an experience that while tiny, still made me very happy.
Two days back I had the same cold but was not sick enough to stay out of work. The end of the day comes and I get my bicycle from where it is propped up outside of an area cubicle farm, I head down three floors via the elevator, and I go through two locked doors and into the California evening. It's windy but pretty out. I get on my bicycle and start pedaling.
Biking when you have a cold may sound dumb (and I dunno, maybe it is dumb) but for me if I am congested in some way, the act of bicycling seems to clear my lungs and at least for an hour or so I get a well deserved reprieve from the sniffling and stuffiness.
Still, I'm a little low energy and the wind slows me further. I cross the 101 and pass the big box stores and head towards one of the nastier parts of my ride, the segment where I attempt to take the middle lane to go straight but people force themselves past me on the right and the left anyways. The under the weather feeling I have makes me sag even more as I head towards this piece of road that smells so much like ass.
Ahead of me, two bicyclists pull out of a side street and turn right onto the road I am travelling on. If I were a dog my ears would have pricked forward but as a human with inadequate ears I just study them carefully. It's a long red and the two bicyclists slip into place behind several waiting cars. I come up behind them and hesitate and look at the red light and then instead of waiting behind the car in front of me I slither up between two rows of waiting cars and thunk solidly into place behind the two bicyclists.
One, a guy, is riding a big cargo bike. He turns and smiles. The other is a woman, she seems to know the guy, and she is on an upright. She does not turn around and smile. Something about her seems nervous. The guy looks at me. I look back and attempt a friendly smile which means I probably leer like a sociopath. He says something I don't catch to his friend. Then he turns back to me and says, "do you want to get in front of us?" The horror! He thinks I'm a shoaler! I shake my head and mutter "I just don't like this part of the road."
Light dawns and the guy bicyclist laughs and agrees and says "I know! This part is awful! With the people on the right and the" at this point the light finally turns green and the three of us draw together to face the coming battle together. We start up and fall into a line with the guy in front and his friend behind him and me behind her. A minivan starts to muscle it's way forward on the left and I hunch over unhappily but cargo bicycle guy moves to the left to block minivan's progression and he gestures (not rudely) with his arm that the minivan needs to wait before it can pass. The minivan hesitates, almost surprised, and then seems to come to a decision and it backs off and falls back into its place behind me.
We make it to the next intersection where we can peel off into the bicycle lane (what is it with bicycle lanes that start and stop? what exactly do the civil engineers think we're going to do for those three blocks where we have nothing to ride in?) and the minivan passes us and cargo-bicycle guy waves good-bye to it in a nice way, not all rude and snarky like I would have been. At the next road cargo-bike and friend turn off and we all wish each other a nice evening and I continue on and I think again that it is so much better to be three of a kind than one of a kind.
The roads are not entirely rife with metal box enemies. You can make a few friends out there.