02 July 2010

on riding a bike in rural california

the bike lane doubles as the emergency lane, which isn't even wide enough for a car to pull over in. for the first time in twelve months i am coasting kilometer after kilometer downhill, not even having to pedal as i hurtle into the wind, towards the ocean. it takes me a second to remember my handbrakes when i begin to pedal backwards without any mechanics to stop my forward motion.

the road is tumultuous and the cars that pass me glide between the double-yellow and my white line without regard for the speed limit. it is a summer afternoon and apparently i am the only one who's not in a hurry.

i'm wearing a leather jacket and a hot pink helmet - it matches my schwinn - when i leave the house. my cousin remarks that it is a brave way to head into town and i tell him i will see him later. it feels strange to be wearing closed-toed shoes on the coast but i don't want thistles to get between my toes as i hug the hillsides. it's the middle of the day and the sun is high overhead so i don't have to think about deer or mountain lions. what i hear besides the wind playing on my ears is the conversation of swallows and the occasional cry of a hawk. a stationary black cow stares at me pumping the pedals as she chews.

i signal a right turn, vaguely wondering if people do that here.

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