Combining Passions

Man did I just have an idea that might or might not suck. Well, in actuality it wasn’t my idea, nor did it just happen. It’s actually been sauteeing in my brain pan for a few months now. I think it originated from one of my fellow biking buds — Steve or Spencer perhaps — during one of the IAAL/MAF rides I’d routed. Maybe it was one of our small Thursday night rides or it could’ve been one of our larger invitationals. The Hello Dahlia ride comes to mind in which I led a score or so riders from downtown to the location where Elizabeth Short’s remains were discovered. Narrating at occasional points and landmarks along the way someone said that I should totally start up a company specializing in touring L.A. by bike. I laughed and shrugged because while it’s a great and appealing idea that combines my loves of biking and this city, that kind of endeavor would require little stuff like capital and a business model and promotion, not to mention a stable of bikes and a way to transport them. Then after all that it would be something with appeal that people would not only want to pay to do, but also feel comfortable doing.

Because let’s face it, being a veteran of many years and thousands of miles rolled around this town have left me somewhat fearless (not reckless) when it comes to swimming with the sheetmetal sharks. The guys and gals I roll with regularly are equally streetwise and tough, but it would be a whole different consideration with say for example me having to play tour guide to a couple nuclear families from the midwest out here for their first time to see the sights of Hollywood or downtown or Beverly Hills who’ve never seen these streets before much less from the saddle of a cycle. Hell, they might not even have been on a bike in years.

As I am so inclined toward all my aspirations I have little trouble finding the hitches and speedbumps and caution signs that allow me to talk myself down from such a flight of fancy. And yet, since it was first expressed in passing to me some months ago, all my internally naysaying hasn’t kept it from percolating, albeit on a waybackburner like a simmering dream that I reach out to stir on occasion.

And the reason it’s bubbled up again is simple: last weekend’s ride to the Watts Towers of Simon Rodia — not just because it was a really cool and unique ride, but moreso because I was profoundly moved by Rodia’s perseverence, dedication, vision, eccentricity and longevity in crafting his soaring creation which speaks to something very deep in me. And his quote “I had in mind to do something big and I did,” is something that I find myself repeating, half in awe and half in envy of what he accomplished.

What I love most of all is that he didn’t begin the endeavor until he was 42 and continued at it for more than three decades. While I remain perturbed at not seeing it for so long, there is something fitting in my seeing his masterwork at the same age he was when he commenced building it. 

I think we all have in mind to do something big, but most of us don’t. I certainly haven’t. And while I’m not sure if a bike tour company is my big thing, it certainly would be something that fulfills me. So it’ll keep percolating, and I’ll keep you posted.