Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Night Rider

Yes, the Militant is up to his adventures again. No, there's no picture this time. Yes, he forgot to bring the Militant Cam. Yes, he couldn't think of a better headline. No, this isn't about the Entertainment-industry-is-out-of-ideas rumor that there's gonna be a new Knight Rider TV series and a Ford Mustang will be casted as the new KITT (Okay, we're supposed to be supporting these striking TV writers just so they can re-hash old ideas?).

The Militant digresses. Yes, he took a bike ride on Tuesday night, but this was one he was especially proud of. He visits an unspecified place in the Mid City area twice a week as part of his extramilitant activities, but he has always taken the car there - despite the fact that it is a little less than his 10-mile no-drive limit. D'oh! Okay, so now the Militant comes clean.

But after adding an unspecified amount of pounds these past few days after consuming mass quantities of rations on his Thanksgiving table (turkey, stuffing, lasagna, fried wontons, pumpkin bread, you name it), the Militant felt compelled to shed these pounds somehow. So he biked it there.

Leaving at 6:50 p.m., He headed south on an unspecified residential street, which was problematic especially when trying to cross Beverly Blvd, where evening rush hour traffic was heading both directions, and although the nearest red lights slowed down traffic, there was still no opportune moment to cross, so he relented and used a stoplight at the next block.

Finding his way down to the urban cyclist's crosstown jewel, the 4th Street Bike Boulevard, the Militant lived the dream and coasted through its numerous 4-way stop signed intersections.

He continued on to Rossmore where he headed due south but was stopped by a long-ass red light at Wilshire. As he was joined by several automobiles also waiting for the light to change, the Militant felt a little proactive and taking advantage of his position as a cyclist, he pedaled to the nearby crosswalk button to expedite the green light. See? Cyclists can be of use to motorists too.

But lacking the right amount of route planning, the Militant had to back-track it east for a few blocks in order to hit Crenshaw, which ends at Wilshire. Had he used Irving Blvd to get to Wilshire and Crenshaw, he would have shaved a few minutes off of his trip.

Crenshaw was a breeze and its width and well-lit nature made it an ideal route towards the Militant's destination, rapidly passing by the less-dense middle class neighborhoods of Koreatown. The downhill natures of this route made it an even more pleasurable corridor to use.

Once he crossed the 10 Freeway, it was the home stretch, heading right on Adams Blvd and enjoying the flat terrain to his destination, which he reached in roughly 50 minutes.

There, many were predictably flabbergasted that this person rode the 7-8 miles to that place on a bicycle. He had a conversation with someone else there and talked to someone who limits his bike travel to the South Bay Beach Path about the city's growing bike culture. The Militant explained, too that he limited his bike rides to that very path, but things changed when he decided to travel from his compound to Venice Beach - a 14-mile journey that took him an hour and a half one summer day in 2002.

When he left, choruses of "Be careful out there" and offers to give the Militant a ride in their car or van hounded the Militant, who politely refused the rides, trying to shed the notion that not traveling by car represents a form of vulnerability.

On the way back, the Militant decided to take a much more simpler route and ride Adams, which was also a corridor that didn't have very many speeding vehicles to worry about, eastbound to Western, then Western north for a few miles and then on to his nearby compound (You thought you could figure out where it was, huh?).

Western was well-lit and didn't feel threatened by the cars. There was also no curbside parking for most of the way, which gave the Militant one less thing to worry about, and by the time he reached Wilshire and Western, he'd reached the home stretch, as he's biked from the compound to that intersection many times before.

After a quick 15-minute stop at Koreatown's California Market (a favorite of the Militant's) to buy some inexpensive prepackaged Korean goodies from the deli section, he continued up north on Western.

Not more than a mile later, he saw something -- the sight of red blinking fireflies in the night several blocks up. Could it be?

As he raced closer, clutching his double-bagged groceries in one hand, he saw a multiethnic pack of eight bicyclists making their way up Western.

"Hey, what ride is this?" asked the Militant.

One of the cyclists replied, "The LA Burrito Project. We're going to Hollywood."

"Oh!" the Militant replied, having first heard about the altruistic cyclists who dole out homemade burritos to the homeless at this past Summer's Bicycle Film Festival, where a short documentary about the LABP was shown.

One of the LABP cyclists offered the Militant to join them on their ride, which a nice gesture, though the Militant told them he was just on his way back to the compound, so he wasn't able to ride with them for very long. The pack split up about a mile up Western, with some of them waiting for others to meet up with them at a certain location.

A bit exhausted, yet still energized, the Militant, having burned an unspecified amount of calories (actually, he doesn't know really), was proud of his 15 mile roundtrip achievement, which took him precisely 45 minutes on the return journey (not including the supermarket stop). Another location he thought was un-bikeable has been conquered yet again on two wheels.

Oh yeah, belated Militant birthday shout-outs to two of the Militant's trusted operatives, Valleypinoy and Stingray, who each blew out their own set of candles within the past few days. The Militant may or may not be observing his own cumpleaƱos around this time of year as well.


Valleypinoy said...

Happy belated birthday to an unspecified Angeleno.

LA Bus Girl said...

Aww, happy birthday.

And no speeding cars on Adams?

Obviously you were nowhere between Vermont and Fig...

Chris said...

Crenshaw's really tight between wilshire and washington, and western is poorly paved. You might try wilton/arlington next time.

Ride safely!

chicanaskies said...

We Sags are pretty awesome.

Militant Angeleno said...

Chris: The Militant is sort of reluctant to use Wilton/Arlington as he has seen many a fast car speed through there...He should know; he is usually one of them. The Militant didn't have a problem with Crenshaw between Wilshire and Washington; it certainly had more room than Wilton/Arlington. Yes, Western is poorly paved, but that's where the shocks come in handy.

LA Bus Girl: The Militant meant to say the traffic was light enough on Adams that the fast cars stayed in the inner lane and well out of the Militant's way.

Chicanaskies: Totally, huh?

Will Campbell... said...

Of late I've beeng diggin Hoover and even Vermont, but overall Crenshaw's my second fave north/south route with my first being Redondo Blvd... though having to pick it up off of La Brea just south of Olympic it may have been too far west for where you were going on Adams. Odds are you've already been on it, but if not you should definitely check it out.

Will Campbell... said...

Agh... sorry for the missing Redondo Boulevard link above. I'll try again here.

Militant Angeleno said...

Thanks, Will. The Militant remembered you using Redondo but isn't very familiar with it north of Pico. In fact, he didn't even know the street went north of Pico until you showed the gmap link. The Militant has passed by the La Brea/Olympic intersection many times (mostly on car though) but never knew Redondo stretched that far. True, Redondo is west of his Mid-City destination, but not by that much.