I have taken up bike riding. There are many reasons for this including ten pounds that I want gone and a cool bike trail along Ballona Creek.
When I say creek, do not imagine a tranquil trail along side a babbling creek under a canopy of trees. Ballona Creek is a wide cement canyon that runs from Culver City to the ocean. It's way for water to run off from Los Angeles into the Pacific Ocean. It's not very pretty except near the ocean where you can ride past some wetlands and then the channel leading into Marina del Rey. You get to see pretty boats too.
On a bike, I am most definitely not Lance Armstrong. I am not Jens Ullrich neither. I haven't done this much bike riding since I was fourteen. Fortunately, the cliché holds true. Riding a bicycle is like riding a bicycle. Once you know how, you don't forget.
I'm riding a 21 speed mountain bike, so I can ride in state parks if I ever get ambitious. I can't go as fast as the tour de France riders on the bike trail. They just wiz past. Woosh. Woosh. However, I am getting a good workout especially when the wind picks up.
I'm still a bit of a klutz with the bike. I have fallen on the bike. I was walking the bike, got distracted, and fell onto the bike. A bike is not a comfortable thing to fall onto. Also, one time, on the bike trail on the beach, I misjudged a curve and hurtled into the sand where the tires promptly sank. I didn't crash. I just stopped. Ooops. For the record, I have not taken out any rollerbladers, children, or tourists.
During my first ride along the beach, I noticed a mast-less sailboat aground on a sand dune just south of the entrance to Marina del Rey. It was a 25-30 foot sailboat with a big hole torn out of the bow. The boat had probably been moored in the bay, then a big swell tore it from the anchor and sent it up onto the beach where it sat with yellow caution tape around it.
On the stern of the boat was the name ‘Sandman' along with a leprechaun-like figure. Why would someone name their boat, Sandman? Sure, there's the song---Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream, make him the cutest that I've ever seen. But still, sand is the last thing you want to associate with your sailboat. Why jinx it? Might as well name the boat, Titanic, if you want to tempt fate.
The Sandman became part of my biking scenery. Go over the bridge, onto the beach, along the shoreline, past the Sandman, under the planes from LAX, dee-dah, dee-dah, dee-dah.
Then one day, the Sandman was gone. Poof! No longer on the beach. I slowed my bike down. Where could it have gone? I know these are modern times, and a trailer could easily get it out of there. Still, I had gotten use to the Sandman. The impermanent boat had become permanent in my mind.
I looked around and spotted the boat up by the road at the edge of the beach. Ah-hah! It had been moved.
For the next week of so, I got use to the Sandman being off in the distance just beyond the volleyball nets. I spotted it every time I rode past.
Then it was back on the sand dune.
Whaaaa???? I hit the brakes to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. Yep, the Sandman was back on the beach where I had first seen it. Why? How? I decided that it was either the work of fairies or drunken sailors and continued on my ride to Manhattan Beach.
Several days later, the Sandman was gone again. This time I think it's gone for good because I haven't seen it since, and there's no trace of it on the beach anywhere.
So before the Sandman became just another dream in my head, I decided to write all this down. Just to have a record of it. The Sandman was real.