The ability to be outdoors every single day year round is quite a wonderful adjustment for me. I arrived in LA about 4 months ago and since then have almost forgotten how to drive a car. To be honest I don't understand why anyone in this state owns a car at all! Traffic is horrific, but with the bike it is almost irrelevant. It is a simple game of "don't get hit", that you play every time you ride. Now, don't get me wrong, I feel like anywhere you go drivers are unlikely to see you in most circumstances, but this place takes the cake for oblivious drivers. It doesn't really make sense, I feel most cities breed better drivers (due to the more challenging conditions they operate in), but here it is the opposite. So much texting. So little shit given. Several good things have came out of this for me. One is that I am becoming quite slick on my bikes. Not that I wasn't before, but nothing beats practice, practice, practice. My head is on a constant swivel, poised to swerve or scoot away from any possible threat. The art of assessing the oncoming threats and prioritizing them, and possible responses, happen a thousand times a ride. Learning to expect the dumbest possible thing to happen, and your escape route if it does. This is the ultimate riders safety course.
The second great thing is that my bikes are being ridden harder then ever. For a guy who prides himself on making a good product, this is fantastic R and D. Anything that isn't designed correctly will come to light if you ride long enough. I wonder how many "custom bikes" can be treated no differently than a daily driven car, and still continue to function? Baking heat, potholed streets, buzzing vibration, hole shots, skid outs, and non stop shifting and braking really separate the men from the boys when it comes to solid design and reliable component choices. Based on what I have seen on my own bikes since moving here, I feel most of my recent build decisions have been sound ones.
Thats is not to say that I am, by any means, stuck in a city. Escaping is easy, in about 20 minutes I can be deep in the Angeles Forest. There are a few roads through it that are almost deserted on weekdays, and serve as a nice break from the relentless traffic. Here is a video of the last ride, taken by my friend John Sender. Thanks to Dale, John and Kully for a great day!
The shop space is still not finished due to a rat and insect infestation we recently discovered. The good news? who cares, its 85 and sunny every dam day!