Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Long Beach – the Armpit of CA or a Hidden SoCal Jewel?

Growing up I was under the impression Long Beach was the armpit of California. Probably had something to do with Richard Pryor, who said in one of his routines, “Going to jail in Long Beach is a M* F*.? ‘Where you at?’ ‘I’m in Long Beach!’ ‘Well $#*! we ain’t comin’ down there to get your a** out’ ”

But I love the ocean, so when I was offered an hour on a ‘hydrobike’ at half price, I snatched it up, even though I would be launching from the Long Beach marina.

Gimenotis' Panoramio pic
It was amazing. I pedaled out into the open marina and across the bay to the island of Naples. There I entered a small canal that reminded me of Venice. Beautiful houses lined each side of the canal, and each house had a dock housing anything from kayaks to small versions of those tour boats they have at Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise up to larger ski and even cabin boats. “Treasure Island,” just outside of Naples, had larger slips housing yachts of all sizes. An hour was about the right amount of time to cruise around the marina and see most of the interesting sights, and I will definitely be returning.

Especially since, upon returning to the dock, I was given a coupon for $5 off my next ride. I was also informed that in the month of December they would be outfitting the bikes with lights festive lighting for evening cruising and parades. The weather, of course, will be cooler on a winter night as opposed to a summer day, but the bike is completely out of the water, and I didn’t get wet at all, so I would have no problem wearing appropriate clothing to stay warm.

Photo from lbhydrobikes site
Nothing is ever perfect, and I should mention the following: The “bike” was nothing fancy – just a bicycle seat on a frame attached to a pair of plastic pontoons. The handle bars were attached to a rudder in front, and the pedals to a propeller in back. The dock, as expected, is a bit dirty (hey, a marina is basically a parking lot for a bunch of boats that leak icky stuff into a small, enclosed area). But the owners/operators are very friendly and run as clean a place as can be expected in a busy marina.

All in all, I highly recommend visiting Long Beach Hydrobikes (lbhydrobikes.com).

Unsafe Lane Changes

Just because you want to change from your lane into my lane doesn’t me you get to change into my lane. Not because it’s mine and I won’t let you (that’s a$$h0li$h), but because you have to make sure you have enough space to make that move. If I have to slam on my brakes to let you in, you’re doing it wrong. My James Bond solution: hit the missile launcher and blow you into a million pieces that rain harmlessly onto my car as I pass through where you used to be.

Change lanes safely. Make sure you are moving into the middle of that 3 second cushion between the cars next to you, not 2.875 seconds behind the car in front, putting you a scant .125 seconds in front of the car you just cut off (who now has to slam on his brakes – look out for that missile – 0.125 seconds is not enough time to see it going into your tail pipe!).

I’m trying to be funny here, but 0.125 seconds is an exaggeration in the opposite direction you would think! I have had people cut me of with literally less than a yard between me and their car. I have had people so close behind me that I cannot see their headlights! At 70 MPH, 3 feet is 0.03125, or 31 milliseconds! I don’t think brake lights have time to light up that fast; there is no way a person could see and react to brake lights, let alone actually slow a 3,000 pound car down that fast.