Monday, March 5, 2012

Nowhere Places I Keep Riding Back To


One nowhere place of return: ACDC canal path, next to the freeway frontage, across from the amusement park

There are some nowhere places I keep riding back to, and I'm not sure why exactly. I ride along the canal, up and back? Back and up? Out and down? Down and out? Along and along, really, from nowhere, to nowhere, from X1 to X2, turn around and go back, on a bicycle that feels right, on a warm (almost hot, 81°F) spring day. 


The bougainvillea do their level best to make it somewhere

Is it some kind of sneaky effort on my part to find a nowhere place, and make it into a secret somewhere, a small place of my own? If so, couldn't I chose a better place than this, perhaps one with shade, benches, water, away from the freeway and mall? I have those kind of places, too, but they already feel more like well-trodden somewheres, while this is still a random nowhere place. It's sort of an even number of miles from my house, but that ends up being beside the point, because there are an infinite number of nowhere points around the circular radius of that same even number of miles from my house, so why not one of those? Why this one? I don't really know. But if I count up the number of times I have paused in this spot, to take a drink of water, stretch my legs, ponder the ducks and the open sky for a moment, this spot starts to feel like more than nowhere to me. But it's a mystery why this one instead of the others. 

On analysis, I'm fairly confident in suggesting that it has more to do with the ride to get there, than the arrival. Which may not make a lot of sense unless you are a frequent practitioner of the Ride to Nowhere: some of my best rides have been precisely that.


I tidy up some nowhere places, merely because other people ride there, and I can't leave it alone

Some upstanding citizen left this shattered 40 of malt liquor all across the path with no real way around, so I paused to do the best I could without a broom to scoot and kick its sticky shards off the path. Now that I'm using the roomy Carradice saddle bag for more and more rides, it may be time to carry the little whisk broom/dustpan combo I picked up a while back, since bike shoes make very poor sticky glass shard path sweepers. But it was a job that needed to be done, such that my conscience would not permit me to ride on past it without taking care of that glass. While sweeping, I saw no less than five other riders go by in the space of a few minutes, so I must have saved a few tires at least. I wouldn't want to see such a fine day for nowhere riding sullied by the hissssssss [flopflopflop] of glass piercing rubber. The path to nowhere places should be free of such worries, so that one can maintain a state of mind appropriate for riding to them. Thank you for reading.


OSG mobile shattered 40oz malt liquor bottle path clean-up system (OSGMS40OZMLBPCUS)


   

11 comments:

  1. Good job cleaning up. I should start doing that on my ride.

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    1. If each does a little bit, the results will he huge!

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  2. Good post....Most of my riding is to nowhere places, thing is, after a few visits they then actually become somewhere..!!

    -Trevor

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    1. All those cyclists out there, turning nowhere places into somewheres...are we facing imminent shortages of nowhere?

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  3. Ha,

    One of these days I'm going to walk from my house the two blocks to this intersection where they ran something heavy over the build up of paint at the stop line, fracturing it into a scree of gravelly paint pieces. It isn't a puncture risk, but I'm worried I'm going to slip in it because it's right where I start from.

    Have you heard about the guy in Portland who rides around with a pair of loppers, clearing low hanging and protruding vegetation from MUPs?

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    1. When I was a kid, I was led to believe that by this time, there would be fleets of automated robots that went out at night to do stuff like sweep up all the dirt and broken glass and fractured paint pieces off the roads. Where is this great robotic future we were promised? Attention, robot boffins: the future is here.

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  4. Replies
    1. Ceramic dustpan. That's something I've never seen.

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  5. The good thing about glass, compared to many other tire puncturing bits, is at least they tend to glitter in a headlight...

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    1. Provided of course the headlight is of sufficient brightness, beam pattern, and properly aimed. While I was parking my bike preparing to sweep up, two cyclists rode straight thru the sparkling shards without slowing or turning. Is that a thing? I'm so confident that I ride thru glass?

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  6. There's plenty of nowheres in this city that can easily become somewheres. Any ledge, wall, or other object that can offer a moment's respite can become an observatory for the small world around us. Your little spot has a place to lean your bike or sit, some flowers for decoration, and plenty of fast-paced people watching. One of my favorite nowheres is where 3rd Ave intersects the Central Canal. I feel out of public view and can rest for minute with no other traffic besides an occasional canal passerby.

    Kudos for cleaning up someone else's mess. I should do that along my daily work commute.

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