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03/22/2008: "Spring Picnic"

We took a little break from our labors yesterday and rode down to the bike bridge between Playa del Rey and the Marina del Rey to meet up with a couple of friends...Bill Mendell, who has been riding up and down the beach path for thirty years or so, and Rook Campbell, former bike messenger and ex-pro-racer turned PhD candidate at USC, whom we met at one of the many coffeehouses we infest all over LA. Gina saddled up Vivian, and I took the not-quite-finished Green Gopher out for a spin, and we rolled along quiet side streets till we came to the Ballona Creek bike path that would take us down to the beach.

Gina, Rook, and Rick stuffing their faces (photo by Bill)
It was a delightful day, some of the best weather Southern California has to offer, and with the rains (such as they were) only a couple of weeks in the past, filled with the colors and scents of sage, lavender, and daisies all along the route. Birds sang in the oaks and fragrant eucalyptus, while ducks quacked and coots shrieked in the brackish water of the concrete-hemmed creek. Pelicans were plenty as we neared the beach, and we saw a young egret barely an arms-reach from the bike path.

Bill had brought a bag of tortilla chips and some salsa to the bridge, so we planted our butts on the curb and had us a good old picnic right there in the middle of all that sky and sea, while dozens upon dozens of cyclists rolled cheerily by.

In fact, as often happens at The Bridge, a friend of mine rolled by, Steve K., serial knicker buyer and daily cyclist, riding his titanium Litespeed set up as a beach cruiser!

Later on, my friend Mort came by (in his van, poor fellow), bringing his video camera, as we'd promised to help him out with a small project he had. So Gina and I got to stand in front of his camera and try to look angry and concerned while a blue sky rang overhead, the sea rippled, and brightly-clad bicyclists whirred by. It required more skill than we may have had, but I hope Mort got his shots.

After eating way too many chips, we said our goodbyes and rolled for home.

There are few better ways to welcome spring back to the world than on a bike.

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