Underneath the 101.

Two weeks of zig-zagging through the city and I’ve finally found an acceptable commuter route—at least for my AM bike ride in. Not too many hills. Not a lot of scary traffic. There are even designated lanes for two wheelers most of the way.

There’s just one catch. Not far from our front door, a couple of major roads and ramps intersect. As city stereotypes might lead you to expect, there’s a fairly large homeless community living underneath the overpass. This essentially amounts to bad smells, broken glass and mean stares. And as I discovered the other day, some friendly advice.

This past Tuesday, as I was making my way through shantytown, I watched as a dude on a bike blasted through an intersection right out in front of a speeding car. Distracted by the horn honking and cussing, I was surprised when a guy with a shopping cart appeared next to me. I did what most middle-class citizens do when they’re among the destitute—I tightened up a bit, glanced his direction briefly, nodded and then pretended to focus on the road ahead.

“Hey mister,” he said. I braced myself for a plea for spare change. “Mister, be careful out here on that bike—these people in their cars are nuts…I mean crazy. Even crazier than me,” he said with a wild cackle.

The crossing signal flashed green and he headed across the road still laughing slightly, shopping cart rattling on the cracked pavement below.

Happy Friday, friends and neighbors (under the overpass). No matter what you’re driving—four wheels, two wheels or shopping cart—be careful out there.

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