There are two kinds of bicycle riders in L.A.: those who ride on the sidewalk and those who stay in the street. On the boulevards I have to keep a constant eye out for buses, cars and those false friends, motorcycles. Meanwhile, on the sidewalk there are disembarking bus riders, shopping-cart bums and other sidewalk bike riders. Even so, its far better to negotiate around a blabbering crackhead on the pavement than one behind the wheel of a car. Admittedly, sidewalk bike riding will make the journey take longer but the variety of alternative stimuli is vast. Ive discovered places that are invisible to the boulevard biker along with those bizarre hand-printed rants you see on light poles. Theres also the camaraderie of other bikers, people on rollerblades and sidewalk-surfing skateboarders who collectively give the finger to those in the street. Nothing is quite like waving day after day to the same bums camped out under the freeway overpass or squatting in abandoned buildings. Slow-moving pedestrians lugging bundles are simply swerved around, while I can just as easily slow down and follow a shapely ass. Fast-food drive-thrus are particularly dangerous, though, as people are paying far more attention to their burgers than whats up on the sidewalk. A bell or horn is a must for any sidewalk biker if those fail, a good loud scream will get anyones attention. And dont worry about the legality of taking the sidewalk, Ive had plenty of rolling conversations with bicycle cops and meter maids. And if you happen to encounter Mr. or Miss Right, you can bet theyve never once heard the opening line, Im lost, can you direct me to the Tour de France?
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