I Love Riding in the City
NAME: Big Jonny
LOCATION: Flagstaff, AZ
OCCUPATION: Pro Loser (Writer? Webmaster? Slacker? Injured reserve?)
Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Flagstaff, Arizona. We’re a small touristy little college town up in the mountains of Arizona a mere 75 miles from the Grand Canyon. Since our population is a hair under 60,000, we don’t quite have the “urban” experience of folks in bigger metropolitan areas like Phoenix, Denver or Las Vegas. But we have roads and cars and daily commuters trying to get from point A to point B without getting hit. You know, that famed urban cycling experience.
What’s your favorite (or the most exotic) city you’ve ridden in, and what was special or memorable?
After two minutes of hard deliberation, I’ll call this one a tie between riding in Amsterdam and Las Vegas. Both have plenty of visual distraction and highly impaired cyclists and motorists crowding the roadway. I’ve avoided danger in both cities to date, but the very real possibility of things going pear shaped exists in both places.
My most memorable moment was when I turned to my friend Jimbo, who’s upcoming wedding we were celebrating in Amsterdam, and told him, “I’m bonked, we need to slow down.” He had dragged his drunken friends way out of town, in the rain, on rented three speeds to some god forsaken tourist trap with a windmill. I guess the engineer in him really, really wanted to see one up close and personnel. Or course, the tourist trap was closed when we got there, so we turned around and rode back an hour and half into the wind and rain with no food.
I bonked super hard. And within two blocks after I told Jimbo I was toast, he rode away from me and I lost the group in traffic. And by “traffic” I mean thousands of commuting cyclists. Here in the States, a group of cyclists is such an oddity; you can see your friends literally for blocks. In Amsterdam, my compatriots disappeared into the crowd almost immediately. Think of a crowded New York sidewalk, but everyone is on bikes. So, there I was, dropped and alone, in a foreign country, with a hangover, no map and nothing but a pair of wooden clogs in my messenger bag.
I could have killed him. But I was too busy dying.
Buildings pass me by,
Like sands through the hourglass,
I need a beer.
Check out www.drunkcyclist.com