Almost like Europe

OMG – the biking adventure was magical and tiring at the same time. I feel such hope! So I hopped on my bike and set off from Calabasas to Canoga Park. 10 miles! For most of the bike, I was the only biker. People smiled at me as I passed. I could hear the voice in their heads saying, “How cute!”. I was loving it, the feeling of the air rushing through my hair, the breeze! Damn, maybe the Valley is good. After about five miles, I was exhausted. I began to laugh to myself. How was I going to do 10 more miles after this?

I pushed through, slower and slower- then I ran into Max and Rigo on Variel and Roscoe. Just in time! We made it to 818 Brewing. There were about 10 people there, all ages! A husband and wife on a tandem bike. Rigo’s (Igor’s) Bianchi bike was making waves. We took off! I was keeping up for a bit. We headed onto Nordhoff to the bike path on Canoga. Just go at your own pace, go at your own pace. Ah, it was almost gorgeous. The mountains off in the distance where Granada Hills and Simi Valley meet, the sun setting and the sky like a peach. I tried to ignore the pieces of trash everywhere and the smell of petrol and rubber. Trying to not think about how clean the air smelled in Lake Bled in Slovenia – like pine and roses. Maybe I should move to a mountain village instead of this polluted suburbia? No, no! We can do this! We can transform the Valley into a sustainable neighborhood with love!

Then, I looked around and realized I was all alone. The group was fast, and I was a solo biker. I stopped at the light. I looked left, nope. No yellow jackets! Right, nope. Maybe the bike path over their. I continued onto this dirt path, which bumped right near a huge storm drain. Ugh! Trash was everywhere. I looked around for an unhoused person thinking they might be sleeping near the waste, but there was none. I was all alone. I continued along for a bit, slower and slower. There was the strangest park with a few benches scattered, but mostly trash and metal fencing to keep us out of that concrete crack that carted our wastes away.

No one! I was all alone, and my body ached. “I’m lost,” I texted Max. “I’ll see you at 818.” I turned back and laughed and laughed. So nice to be lost in the place I thought I knew so well. So nice to be bewildered and confused. I laughed and laughed inhaling the fumes of our car-dependent city.

Finally, I got back. Ordered a beer and a burrito. They arrived quickly. A guy with glasses and curly black hair smiled at me. He was sitting alone. “Be shameless,” I thought, thinking of Allie and Alex and Saturday night. “Hi, wanna join us?” And he did. His friend joined – and soon we were laughing and sharing stories and dreaming up midnight rave-trash-pickup-bike-rides-with-Tarot-on-the-full-moon, and I thought, I can do this!