Rain…It’s Only Water

I heard this somewhere in the great mass of information, misinformation, disinformation, and just plain deformation that comprises the once-mighty Internet: a cyclist complaining that he was badly treated at the Original Farmers Market, an LA treasure that has kept the corner of Third and Fairfax supplied with gentle retail anarchy for eighty years now. What was my co-velocipedalist’s complaint?

Why, that the security guards wouldn’t let him bring his bike into the aisles of the market itself.

This is an outdoor market, a sort of American souk. Mostly open-air, with food, clothing, and doodad vendors crowded round a careless labyrinth of very narrow passages often crowded with tables and chairs, opening here and there into little plazas also crowded with tables and chairs. It is a justly popular place to go, a true Third Place where folks of all sorts mingle, nosh, shop, and talk, with some pretty good music put on two or three evenings a week. It is usually crowded—very crowded. There really isn’t any room to drag your bicycle through.

Nor is there need to: the market provides three old-school bike racks on the north side, and an extensive bike corral on the south. So, why did the complainant feel so indignant that he’d been asked to park his bike at one of the bike parking facilities?

Well, because it was…raining.

This is odd, because, in order to get his bike to the Farmers Market that day, he would have had to ride it in the rain!

Now, I park my own bike in the bike corral there all the time, and it has suffered no harm so far. (The photo above is of my beloved Bottecchia.) So, I offer two bits of advice to anyone else in a similar situation in the future, advice gleaned from My Years of Parking Bikes Outside in the Rain at the Farmers Market:

1. Showercaps are your friend.

2. Repeat after me: it’s not a soufflé; it’s a bicycle.

‘Nuff said.

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