Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just Like Riding A Bike!

I made this executive decision to throw away my “fat pants”. Because I am riding my bicycle, now, instead of driving a block to the corner Starbucks I have lost some weight and had to buy new jeans. When I was a kid, we were poor, so I got into the habit of keeping everything - hey, I might put all of that weight back on and those jeans will fit again! Hey, maybe this broken vacuum cleaner can be fixed? These are the first steps to being the subject of one of those TV shows about hoarders. So the fat pants - some of which were almost new - went to Goodwill.

When I arrived at my parent’s house, my mom had dinner for me... which is what mom’s do. And she will cook my favorite meals while I am home and make cookies and... well, that’s what mom’s do. And when I am not eating my mom’s cooking, I am out at some restaurant with old friends eating too much and drinking too many beers and then getting little to no exercise. There is an all-you-can-eat Chinese place here called China Wall that my friend John and I always go to - and I try to see how much I can eat before exploding like Mr. Creosote. So I usually put on weight when I go home. As you know from reading the blog, I eat crap - biking instead of driving a block or two is the only thing keeping me from reverting back to blimp-sized.

When I was a kid, my brother and I would ride our bikes everywhere, and even as an adult I would ride my bike (battling weight) rather than drive whenever possible. When I worked for Safeway Grocery, I lived on North Main Street in Walnut Creek and worked way out on Clayton Road... had to drive it. When Wendy and I were house hunting, we found a great house closer to the Clayton Road store... and as soon as we moved in I was transferred to Safeway 928 - about ten blocks from my old apartment, and a couple blocks from where I went to high school. Once again, instead of biking I ended up driving. Except store 928 was filled with lunatics (I have a treatment about those folks called NIGHT STOCKERS I’m going to script some day), and a couple of the guys lived near my new house, and there was a bike path that cut through part of the city... so we decided to give bike riding to work a shot. I would start out on the path, and then Jon Beeman would show up and then a couple of other guys... and for a while a group of us biked to work. Those were great days in my life - which is why there’s a script in there somewhere. And why it would be fun to relive them.

A year ago I decided to buy a bike to keep at my parent’s house, my dad said there was no reason to buy one, he had one that he’s only ridden a couple of times. Except it had been out in the rain and was rusty. Over the holidays I tried to clean it up, but it’s 90% rust now. Even though it is still in the side yard, I am *not* working on it now... instead I decided to buy a cheap bike, and the first day I was here went down to that section of Contra Costa Blvd where K-mart is next door to Toys R Us is next door to Target. Found a Huffy on sale at Toys R Us, and bought it - and will ride it anyplace fairly close while I am here. Though I planned to drive to the reunion dinner, I will ride the bike to the reunion picnic the next day, which is at my old high school’s upper field, just for nostalgia: I will be riding the same route I did as a kid for three years until I bought my ex-Concord Police car at the auction... slight body damage ended up being a bullet hole in the door! Chick magnet? No... but much easier to date with than a bicycle.

So that was the plan - bike to the picnic on Sunday taking the old route I used to ride when I was a kid. One possible problem - there was a shortcut pedestrian bridge over a creek that I always used as a kid - it connected my neighborhood to the elementary school where I went... and cut several blocks off the ride to the high school (which was much farther away). Does that shortcut bridge still exist?

On Saturday afternoon (before the reunion dinner) I went to pick up the new bike and ride it to my parent’s house. This should be no problem at all - I ride my bike almost every day in Los Angeles, and my parent's house is not that far. When I pick up the bike, the seat is low, and I’m 6'4", so I pulled it up, but didn’t have any tools with me to adjust the slope of the seat or raise the handlebars - but my dad has tools once I got it home. It would be a little uncomfortable to ride until I get to my parent’s house, but big deal.

You know that old saying that if you haven’t been on a bike fir a while, it all comes back to you? That knife cuts two ways. My bike in Los Angeles is broken in and I am used to riding it. The brakes are a little loose, but I’m used to squeezing ‘em hard to stop. So I get on this new bike, and even though the seat is a little off and the handlebars are a little low, I have it zooming along in no time. Just like my bike back home. Then I come to a red light, and squeeze the brakes hard...

And I am launched over the handlebars when the bike stops on a dime.

For a moment, I was flying! It was great - I was just like Superman! Soaring over the street...

Then - I hit the street.

Land on my right knee, right elbow, left wrist.

Giant bruise on right knee. Giant road-rash on right elbow. Left wrist - well, swollen and I hope not broken, in one of those Ace wrist splint things right now.

Went to the reunion dinner in pain...

And Sunday I am *driving* to the reunion picnic. Probably end up driving everywhere while I am here because my wrist is messed up. New bike will go unused... I just hope to keep it out of the rain so that it doesn’t rust.


Indulge me - there’s an entry about the reunions coming up that has nothing to do with screenwriting.

- Bill


The Motorcycle Boy said...


Give us the YouTube link to ur crash.

The girlfriend's got me on Kelp pills to help burn the fat.

Trying to get in shape for hockey season (I'm a goalie and my knees are in terrible shape, but I blew a grand on gearing up over the summer, so I've got that motivation going for me).

Best of luck, always good to trade-down in size.

Richard J. McKenzie said...

Condolences on your unfortunate accident.
I went over handlebars once and rear-ended a Honda with my face.

As my old construction boss used to say, when someone got hurt on the job:
1. It's a long way from your heart.
2. It could have been worse, it could have been me.

These words of comfort never did me much good.
But, he was the boss, so we mopped up the blood, shrugged away the pain and got back to laborious toil (cue some chain gang song).

Emily Blake said...

Did you fall on your open hand? If so, you could have a torn ligament. The swelling is your ligament healing, so try to let it go down on its own and don't take any Asprin, as that can stop the healing process.

I learned the hard way on that one.

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