Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ma'am. Ma'am. You Can't Do That!

So on the bus today....

visual: me at the bus stop with my over-sized blue beach cruiser with an iron basket, brand new gray legwarmers with purple stripes, a glittered headband, face swallowing pink plaid sunglasses, two huge bags - one a pink purse and the other a lululemon bag full of clothing, and a $1.25 in change in hand...ready to go!

For those of you that do not know about the public transportation system, as I am unwillingly becoming the 'pro', you can actually put your bike on the bus. Of course, I want to just wheel it up and on sit the thing beside me, but that won't work. So friends, there is a rack on the front of the bus that you, the green LA bus-riding citizen, can pull down to place your bike upon. I know, it sounds crazy. Well, it is crazy.

So here I am, waiting at my bus stop in the 90210 today. For some insane reason, it was 90 degrees in LA yesterday, and about 60-something today with winds out of the movie Twister, starring Helen Hunt. You know the one. I had been riding along Beverly Hills shopping district and quickly realized my life was in danger due to the wind daring to knock me off this bike if I were to pedal one more pedal. I pull over to my trusted bus stop and wait with my green friends. I twitch around a bit, as I am nervous about this bike-on-bus phenomenon.

I politely ask this blond woman, that is just rocking out to her headphones with full on head moves and hip gyrations, where does this number 720 stop? I figure since I have my bike, I can get to a close vicinity of my desired destination and spin the wheels a bit. She informs me this one will work out. GREAT!

You all, the bike-on-bus thing is a skill I have yet to master. Here is the deal, you have to go to the front of the bus. K wait, first you have to park your bike - yes I mean just kickstand it. Then, remove any lofty items that might slow this process or get in the way, thus my over-sized purse and clothing hit the concrete. Then, you have to go to the front of the bus, "push in to release the rack, then lift & pull" to get the bike rack located on the front of the bus down and available. Then, you literally have to pick up your bike and get it on this holder. Beach Cruisers are HEAVY! These aren't your lightweight typical road bike. I have a lot going on with this bike. So here I am, glasses, headband, socks falling down - lifting my bike to the rack. People, I feel ridiculous ...and EVERYONE inside the bus is staring at me...wondering what is taking so long, watching me struggle.... Alas, I finally get the bike on there. Almost done, you have to lift this hook mechanism over the front tire that is meant to keep the bike in place for the duration of your bus-riding experience.

I don't feel good about this. At all. The bus has yet to fail me though.

I jump on as quick as possible and say hello to my NON-friendly bus driver. Insert my five quarters. Look at me, on the bus and my bike on the front. VICTORY! I scan the area, no seats. I guess, I'll stand.

Now, here we are riding past Beverly Hills. I am in an ALL OUT panic. My bike is wobbling from side to side. A bump in the sidewalk, thus a bounce of my bike. I try not to watch, but I have to keep making sure it is still there. It is so very stressful. What if it falls off? What if it just falls over while still on the rack and causes a wreck? Oh dear God, what if it hits that BMW that just cut off the bus - causing my bus driver to lay on his horn and cuss just enough to not be under his breathe and causing me more anxiety?

Damn traffic.

I pull the cable near my neighborhood. STOP REQUESTED.

I scurry off the bus and to the front to promptly lift my precious bike to sturdy ground. So happy he is still seated in his upright and hooked-on position, I release the bike and lift. Yep, still heavy. I take him over to the sidewalk while some vagabond comments on my brute strength. Cool. I give him a thumbs up.

I proceed to pack my bike basket with the pink purse. Situate my clothing bag and check my cell phone. Giving the ponytail and headband some situating, the usual pre-bike riding stuff....

But, why is the bus still sitting there? I keep my head down, I'm scared to look. Is this one of those rest stops for the bus driver? Do they allow more time at this bus stop in case of stragglers who are getting off work?

The doors re-open....

"Ma'am. Ma'am!"

I look up to my NON-friendly, cussing, anxiety-causing bus driver.

"You can't leave THAT down!" as he points to that bike rack on the front of his massive transportation system.

I think or I know I went bright red, yelling I am sorry about 18 times. I avoid eye contact with any of my fellow bus riders and the driver. I "push in and lift" to align the bike rack against the bus front and rush back to my bike and blackberry. How was I to know?

I pedal like you have never seen against those raging winds!

In conclusion, if you want to ride the bus with your beach cruiser, please do not leave the bike rack down once you have reached your stop and your bike is removed. Just a friendly note I learned today.

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