My other wheels.

In New York, I had become quite used to the Citibike program, to having a fresh bicycle waiting in a rack outside my front door to drive wherever I chose. I had always assumed that in LA, I would be forced to drive everywhere — I remember from past visits that if you walk on foot down the sidewalk (where there is a sidewalk) , people look at you like you were covered with blood and dragging an axe. And the thought of toodling along on a bike where people are driving Ferraris at top speed while simultaneously talking to their agents on their bluetooth, sniffing cocaine off the dashboard and eating a double-double In’n’Out burger, well, that seemed pure fantasy.
As it turns out, Venice is something of a fantasy land. You see these bulbous beach cruiser bikes all over the place, and their riders are quite brazen. I’ve often had to yank my truck to the curb to avoid some blithe hipster, high on prescription marijuana, talking on his iphone while driving the wrong way up the middle of the road. People never wear helmets or pay attention to stop signs and generally make New Yorker cyclists look like uptight, law-abiding novices.
A friend lent us a cruiser of our own. So far, I have ridden it once and drawn it twice. It’s just not my thing. It would seem too ironic to get run over here in L.A. on a big girl’s bike. To hell with that, I’d much rather go out in a spectacular car crash like James Dean or Jackson Pollock.

11 thoughts on “My other wheels.”

  1. LOVE this! Enjoy Venice, it is one of my favorite LA places. And the boardwalk offers lots of room for bike riding, roller blading, skateboarding and walking. Be sure to check out the skateboarding swami guy who cruises the boardwalk. He is hilarious! Lots of free entertainment there as well.


  2. Too funny! I moved to the Jersey Shore three years ago and purchased my first bike EVER… at the tender age of somewhere between ‘older than dirt’ and ‘finally an empty nester’. I enjoy the freedom, and the breeze on my face as I peddle a mile to sit on the boardwalk.
    Enjoy the people watching in Venice!


  3. Your description of LA is hilarious! I’ve lived in California all my life, but have only been to LA twice. Once at age ten with my parents, when we went to the Rose Ball parade, saw movie stars at the Brown Derby (got autographs from Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Gezelle MacKinzie) it was a long time ago. And when my dad had his first heart attack! And then when I took my pre-teen daughter to Disneyland. I was too young the first time to see the debauchery you see, nor was it noticeable at Disneyland! I like your images much better! Especially the bloody ax carrier!

    Your cool bike drawing also brings back childhood memories!


  4. Ha! My mother rode her bike (an old-fashioned no-speed with coaster brakes) from Santa Ana to Newport Beach when she was a teenager, back in the 1930’s. There has always been a bicycle subculture in LA. You just have to find a bike that you like to ride. I don’t like cruisers, I would rather have something with better gearing options so I can peddle up hills. I recommend looking for a bike map of the area, so you can find the streets with bike lanes, makes it a lot safer to ride. And I do recommend wearing a helmet and having red rear lights and a white front light for any time of day riding. Wearing neon colored clothing is also recommended, at least a vest.


  5. “As it turns out, Venice is something of a fantasy land” – isn’t that wonderful, Danny?
    Enjoy… (I only can enjoy Venice on YouTube 😦 ).

    “people look at you like you were covered with blood and dragging an axe.”
    hahahahaha… that would be good theme for sketching, isn’t it ???? 🙂


  6. Love this. I lived most of my life in So Cal and know of what you speak. unfortunately I don’t think its much better here in quiet Oregon. Here its driving and texting and bicyclist beware. :O A great sketch non the less. 🙂 I have actually seen bicycles with trailers pulling surf boards to the beach.


  7. I would love to live in that area. I doubt I could on 40K per year though. I would have to rent a box to live int. Is it wicked expensive there? Is it feasible to get a place that is safe for a low middle class person like me?


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