Early on in this week’s “Real Best L.A.” issue of CityBeat, Michael Collins doesn’t have to work too hard to rub my cycling righteousness way wrong by telling everyone how so bitchin’ it is to batten down their inlines and go rolling on a “4.7-mile secret skate” along the “nearly deserted” L.A. River Bikeway. The paper even packages the item with a cute little photo of a cute little couple of inliners in full and infuriating bipedal entitlement mode hogging the whole bike path like it’s theirs and only theirs and there’s no reason to care or worry about obstructing 74″, 200-pounders such as myself chugging along and enjoying all the river gnats I can eat at 20-25 mph.
Most of the time I’m not an absolute jackass and I’ll just ding my bell way behind them repeatedly and then watch as the noise eventually registers and they do the frantic arm-wheeling dance of the teeter/tilts off to the side and out of my way. But there are also those instances when either they don’t hear the umpteenth ringy-dingy or I just don’t give a good goddam and instead go barreling up on ’em from behind all silent like and boom any of a variety of excalmatories at the very last moment prior to bisection. Shit like “HOWDY!” or “COMING THROUGH!” or “DARWIN WAS RIGHT!” or “THREAD THE NEEDLE!” or “SPLIT THE UPRIGHTS!” Boy do they freak as I explode by from outta nowhere.
What I don’t do is try to reason with them. Attempting to explain to such interloping trespassive types that the thoroughfare is a “Class I offroad paved bike path that is a completely separated bi-directional right-of-way designated for bicycles” is neither effective nor productive (Didja get that last part Collins? Here I’ll type it slanted, slower and bigger: DESIGNATED FOR BICYCLES).
Since there’s so damn few miles I can ride unfettered and unfrustrated by things on four wheels or two feet I’m not ashamed at how proprietary I feel about these. Nor do I give a shit about dispensing with any shred of formality and decorum and straight-up advising Collins, the cute couple above and all the skaters they rep to stay the hell off my path.