page 32-35, Issue #4
– Jimmy Lizama
Photos Courtesy of the Bicycle Kitchen
I. BICYCLE BICEP
Heroes are all around us. They are normal, they talk to us, they eat with us, they spin with us, they love with us. Heroes are extraordinarily ordinary and they are the dopest folks I’ve come to know.
I hear it so often from the Europeans, the Scandinavians, “T’is so funny here in Los Angeles it is such a statement ov radicalism to rite your cycle. Tit’s just perfectly noarmal to rite it for everysing back home. What’s the big deal?”
Indeed, it is a statement of radicalism, of anti-corporatism, of anti-establishment, to ride a bike here in sunny L.A. But it is also an exercise in the most ordinary form of heroism. Every time an Angelino mounts a bicycle to go to work, to school, to eat, even for recreation (minus the Hummer of course) we come one pedal stroke closer to better health, to a better life, to better times—and every time, that person saves the day a little more and becomes an ordinary hero.
This goes out to all the heroes out there, battling the flow in L.A.
Shit! It’s late. Gotta check the mail, gotta check the email, gotta walk the dogs, gotta send out the bills, take out the trash, organize my paperwork, call my aunt, take a shit, down less coffee, do more sit ups, become more of the me that I need to be before I’m somebody else’s me AND I gotta a RIDE MY BICYCLE while doing it all.
What’s the best route, hmmm. What’s the least filled with potholes and assholes? What’s the one that was made for urban bicyclists or was that just urban legend?
Fuggit, I AM it. I am the “Bike Path.”
“You see it?! You see it motherfuckers! That’s right: ONE WAY. The sign reads “ONE WAY!” That’s right: MY WAY!!!”, says the word of Psycho John, mythical figure numero uno in the Book of Revolutions. For it was, one glorious 72 degree day, when Psycho did face the multi-headed creature they called Traffic and charged against it, alone with his bicycle. And only the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. Inmate Transfer Bus was able to stand against his fury on that day.
Take heed, for there is only one safe place to ride, one easy way to go and only one fast route to wherever you’re going in L.A. and that’s to just BIKE IT! Everything else is a waste of precious time, resources, and energy.
You wanna live on the fast lane? Try getting to work, making a call, drinking your poison, saving the earth, going to the gym, increasing your savings account, saying “Yo was’up” to your community, improving general air quality, not having anyone killed for your transportation, lowering your city’s expenses and getting a fucking tan all in 45 minutes in a car!!! Ha! And all for a measly $200! Yeah, whatever dude, this fast lane may go slower right now, but by the time you’re done with all your shit the ice age will have come and gone and all so that you can go faster?
Oh what?! Please.
There’s a place that’s a breeding ground for ordinary heroes, they call it the Bicycle Chicken or some shit like that. I was chilling at this speak easy in K-Town and I overheard this homegirl describing the place, “Yeah, the Bicycle Kitchen. Yeah, it’s like a bike shop … and a bar.” So yeah, while the blurry days have whirled on by like the Madisons on lap 119, the Cooks’ aprons still blow in the wind valiantly, atop the steepest Echo Park hills, to the farthest and most perilous reaches of L.A. County’s 400 square miles of desert, in the densest of blinding commuter’s smog, down the unforgiving gallows of metropolitan vanity, through the thickest of bureaucratic mire… these ordinary heroes wrench. They wrench selflessly battling non-mountain-bike full suspension Huffies, callously French-threaded creatures from the pit of eternal damnation, 26×1 3/8 tired double headed, cement filled leviathans from the 13th dimension and of course, the ubiquitous, the unashamed, the fixie conversion beast from 1983.
Yes, yes… armed with mismatched 2.0 straight gauge spokes, jalapeno-chocolate gelato ice cream, PBR soaked bottom bracket spanners, love-inspired road rash, machine gun karaoke comradery and enough language to make your track lock ring spin off, these neo-enthusiast bicycling fools swoop down the glitzy runways of Hollywood consciousness to usher in the old and new: the bicycle in L.A. yo!
Yeah, that’s a u-lock in our pocket AND we’re happy to see you.
II. SYNCHRONICITY CON POCO CHILE
Mmm, mmm … goddamn this burrito is good
And to think this is just what I wanted
Broiled onions, laying, glistening, sizzling
Pensively next to a voluptuous habanero, charred just so
just so that the pastor collides with it like
a Black lowered Landrover and a Golden raised Expedition
When I tried to explain to Ms. Stazer
To explain why art was what,
The words didn’t spill out like gesso unto freshly stretched canvas
No, just a meager,”It’s like this band,” and I point above me,
“this band of energy that flows constantly.
For some reason, I think I can be part of it; I can reach it.”
And that was That, that That that had
Perhaps amongst the swaying palmtrees
Banshees lulling the swarm of motor-locusts to gentle sleep
Among the Angeleno Archbishop’s trunk of implored hope
Perhaps I finally surf-it-dude like I knew I wanted
There I am, finding myself again, as I keep on doing
I’ve realized the power of the band
I’ve toiled, inspired and championed under its tide
And goddamn! Mmm, mmm this day is so good
Mmm, mmm …
And I see another surfer
He’s on Virgil, catching a yellow rip-curling pipe unto the next sidewalk
Whirls past me in a cyclone of stone-washed jean mayhem
From out of nowhere, a shark of a 70-pound pedestrian school girl!
He stops, politely miffed
My red, goes blue,
goes green, goes green, goes green
I take that moment to say to me-self, “he’d do better on one of My single …”
Snap! Chain breaks, that is, his chain breaks as I say this
“Ha! I saw that!” I yell across the walkway.
He’s looking like, “fuck off asshole.
I’m looking like, fuck it must be alarming having a strange 6-foot plus smiling messenger dork bicycling at you with unwarranted enthusiasm
I repeat, calmly, “I saw that.”
He Peaky No Engli, so I stay quiet, cause I’m too excited to really say anything valuable
Swing left, snap center, poop, yeah poop and out comes my Federico Tool bag
He’s incredulous till the chain-breaker says, “Yeah, this is your lucky day biatch!”
1, 2, 4, 10… dirty fingers and then some
Do not bother to tell him the whole story, at all
It was a private moment in the pipe, just call 976-…
“Cuanto?” me pregunta
“No. Nada, hombre. Asi esta bueno,” le digo.
And with a perfect “gracias” se va.
I’m late! But that was dope. Fuck, that was perfect.
I clean my hands, put the tools away, adjust my L.A. County Coroner cap and “Toma. Funciona mejor que antes. Muchas gracias,” as he returned astonished and pleased.
And he shoves a fiver into my hand.
Me pongo a rumiar.
Cool, Studio Fund!
I tell him the abbreviated whole story and
Chinganda, este pinche burrito esta buenisimo!
words by, El Jimmy.
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