The No. 439 bus is like the Katamari Damacy of MTA lines, rolling all over the place and picking up anything and everything in its path. The northbound version starts at the Greenline Station at Aviation Boulevard and Imperial Highway and works its way up through Westchester on to Sepulveda where it passes through the Howard Hughes Center before making a figure-eight around the Westside Transit Center and the Fox Hills Mall before continuing on Centinela over to La Cienega on up to Washington where it gets on the 10 Freeway east to downtown and wends its way through to terminate at Union Station. On bad days with a lot of customers and bad traffic it can take two hours to complete that route — about 90 minutes from where I board at the Howard Hughes Center.

Yesterday, thanks to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday neither the bus nor the streets were crowded and the trip only took an hour for me and The Phoenix, as seen below stationed on the bus’ bike rack.

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She doesn’t look at all done-in. But she is:

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Another 20 minutes spent waiting on and riding the No. 704 to Sunset and Parkman, and we were home, and in preparation for tomorrow’s ride I immediately dove in to transfering lights and gear from her to my Giant OCR-3 roadbike (a valiant steed in her own right having carried me more than 5,000 mostly Lycra-clad miles — including giant-copy.jpgthe 17 each way between Death Valley’s Furnace Creek and Badwater, pictured at right in July 2002).

Making the exchanges between bikes was a somber part of a somber day and night made all the more when Susan got home from work and choked up walking up the steps to the porch. Afterward I wound up turning in early just because I was so quietly bummed out.

And speaking of bummed out, as I write this at 4:30 a.m., it’s raining — not hard, but enough to know it won’t be today that I continue with my new old friend toward my goal of 3,000 miles for the year (having yesterday with The Phoenix already crossed the threshold of my first 10% of that). I don’t yet know if I’ll get there on my Giant or if I’ll cave and plunk down a chunk on a new bike, or if I’ll find an old frame to return to a former glory. I just know that when I do get there, I couldn’t have done it without The Phoenix.