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05/04/2010: "Downtown Digestive"
So this is what I saw, while I was sitting in Sultan's eating a felafel downtown.... My Bottecchia fixie leaned against the counter just inside the door, and the endless panoply of garment & jewelry district fauna staggering, lurching, and occasionally just plain walking by the big front windows while Arabic-language music videos played on a widescreen near the ceiling.

Bicycles are the universal food delivery system in that crowded sector south of Pershing Square, mostly ridden by immigrants in the diner-employee uniform of heavy shoes, baggy slacks, and button shirt open over a T...but one fellow, a delivery rider for a major purveyor of low-rent pizza, stood out, not only because he wore a helmet, but because said helmet itself wore a neoprene cover emblazoned with his corporate master's logo!

In other words, bicycle delivery has become integrated enough into this company's culture that somewhere in the depths of its bureaucracy someone proposed, argued for, designed, and placed an order for customized helmet covers for their delivery dudes!

I'm not even sure whether I'm pleased or dismayed, but it does mean that commercial utility cycling has moved beyond the fringe, even if in only a smallish way.

I finished my felafel, saddled up, and rode off into the swirl of filthy trucks, shiny cars, stodgy buses, sleek courier fixies, and plodding bebasketed mountain bikes, as well as pedestrians representing every possible shape, color, accent, and degree of wealth and sartorial refinement possible among human beings, and sadly took my leave of LA's ever-lively downtown for a day or two.

I'll be back Thursday, and looking forward to it!

You may be too: I'll be loading my little folding dolly (taken on the bus; haven't sprung for a bike trailer yet) with a fresh load of Classic Wool Knickers to replenish our inventory--some of which are in a sweet new olive brown; watch for them!

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