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08/19/2008: "Fall Down Go Boom"
Had my first Fall-Down-Go-Boom in literally decades today. (I don't count forgetting to take the foot out of the toe clip and falling while stopped....)

LA is not only a city of potholes, but a city of bad drainage, as well as a drought-stricken desert city of water wasters (especially in the tony neighborhood I was riding through).

Had to swerve around a nasty sinkhole, which sent me through a deep puddle at the apex of the turn. Said puddle had been so persistent (in August, in LA) that it was full of extremely slippery algae.

I almost saved it, but almost ain't good enough. I flung up my downhill arm to protect my head and put some linkages between ground and collarbone (just like the fixie punx do when they crash while freestyling), and escaped with two abrasions and a variety of sore muscles, some of them quite sore. Tore my brand-new handlebar tape too, but anyone who knows my bike knows that the torn spot will fade into the general shabbiness in a few short weeks.

Most irritating!

The irony is that I ride through a puddle that I know to be slick with algae every day without incident. But of course, first, I know it to be slick with algae, and second, I ride through it in a straight line. This was a curve, and I didn't bother to think that perhaps this puddle might be slick, where most other puddles I right through are not.

In fact, the puddle was so slick that when I tested it with my foot (in an Adidas sport shoe with a grippy sole), it was impossible to walk across. In fact it was literally slicker than ice.

Well, it's a lesson against complacency, I suppose.

Los Angeles' Bureau of Street Services has a website where you can turn in potholes and other road hazards, and they do respond and fix them promptly, though most often rather badly. Still, it's better than leaving such problems unaddressed.

If you live in LA, and want to report a pothole or one of its kin, go to the Bureau of Street Service's Service Request page.

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