An L.A. Story From A Local In The South Bay
Take the other day, when I went to pick up a new bicycle that had so generously been given to me by Kona Brewing Company.
She’s a sleek blue wonder, complete with Kona logos, a basket, a bell and a style that turns heads as she glides down The Stand, the bike path that runs along the beach from Palos Verdes to Santa Monica in Southern California.
Now as proof that I can turn anything positive such as being given a sleek new bicycle into a challenge, I offer the following story as evidence.
A friend had kindly dropped me off in at the offices of Craft Beer Alliance (which distributes Kona brews) in Playa del Rey, CA, and the plan was to take a leisurely cruise back PubClub.com’s World Headquarters in Hermosa Beach, a distance of about seven miles.
The bike path is right on the sand and the Pacific Ocean is just off the right shoulder.
Riding a bike here is like being in the ultimate convertible along the coast, and the Kona Brewing Company bike was the perfect ride on which to do it on this bright and sunny afternoon.
But after just two pedals, I said “uh oh.”
The tires needed air. They were not flat, but sank when I sat on the seat (the bike had been sitting idle in the office, obviously used more for decoration rather than riding).
I then knew it would be a long, tough and slow ride to Hermosa.
And so it proved to be; I was able to go only about 1 mile an hour and landmarks took forever to reach. I was grinding and grinding, thighs burning, and seemingly going nowhere. When I finally arrived in the El Porto section of Manhattan Beach at about the halfway point, I was panting and sweating.
Eventually, after about an hour and 15 minutes – a trip that normally would take about 45 minutes – the bike and I limped into Hermosa Cyclery for air.
After filling up the front tire – is now the time to mention I’m not very mechanical? – I had difficulty with the back tire. The tube was lodged against a spoke.
One of the kindly workers came out to help, saying my riding had resulted in the tube being relocated against the rim. As he was tugging it, he suddenly looked up let out a big scream that could be heard for a whole block.
“A hundred and twenty pounds!!!,” he shouted.
Apparently, I had failed to notice that someone had turned up the pump station to 120 psi when I filled up the front tire, and it was about to blow.
“It’s going to explode!,” he shouted, and people inside the bike shop started ducking for cover.
Quickly, he handed me a tool to deflate the tire, turned down the pressure to a more appropriate 45 psi, and as the air hissed out of the tire, let out a big gasp of relief.
As people inside the shop started to emerge from their hiding places, he said “some guy did the same thing recently. He got about a block away and the tire exploded with such a loud boom the police came because they thought a bomb had exploded!”
So the blue Kona Brewing Company bike is off to an adventurous beginning but thankfully, did not start off with a bang.