Letter E- Everyone Knows It’s Benji!



This year, I will be doing “something new.” I have chosen a “theme.” I will be blogging about biking adventures. This will include riding tales, travel, stories, absurdity, insanity, adventure, and hopefully a little humor and nonsense mixed in; my favorite topics.

By Zulu Delta

Boom! There we were, riding in the streets; literally, of urban Los Angeles. We had come out at night to participate in Critical Mass. A large group of people who meet up and then ride out a predetermined route. It’s a social gathering, a protest ride for bike rights, a get together of family and friends, and one of the greatest ways to spend a summer evening; again.

I was riding with one of my all-time favorite bike partners; my nephew Matthew. We had come to visit Los Angeles for a week, and we decided to tour as much as we could by bicycle. We were not disappointed. We went EVERYWHERE by bike. Day and Night. 

A few miles in, the large group was filling up the whole street and moving very well. Surfing the ebb and flood of the pack, we soon found ourselves grouped together with 3 women, 4 young guys, and Benji.

 We know this because there was one young guy who was riding erratically and running his mouth. Not terrible stuff, but ridiculous stuff; “I did this, I said that, look at me, look at me” kind of stuff. We got the idea that this was Benji’s M.O (modus operandi) because, after each wave of nonsense out of his mouth, his riding mates would shout things like “shut up Benji,” “Benji, you’re an idiot,” and don’t be a moron Benji!” Poor Benji…..or not. 

At this point, Benji needed some “new material,” so he whips out his phone and starts riding with no hands as he begins to type away on the small keyboard, all the while screaming commentary to his “friends” who have opened up the gap between them.

The pack is moving at a pretty good pace, and it is still crowded in our immediate vicinity. Now, everyone around us has grown weary of Benji, who is still typing, not paying attention, and beginning to weave. Years later, I can still see in my head exactly what happened.

In a millisecond, with no hands to control his bike, Benji’s front tire spins to starboard 90 degrees, and just like a Rhode Island driver with no turn signal, he flys perpendicular to the bike traffic; cuts off 4 people, caused 5 more to slam on the brakes and opens up the floodgates of insults, profanity, and anger. I’ll allow you to fill in the blanks here. One of the many amusing and shocking tidbits of this episode is, none of the afore-mentioned young guys even thought to slow down or turn around to see what happened, or what all the screaming was about.

Everyone knows it’s Benji.

Not to wish harm on anyone, but a casual fall and maybe a few simple cuts or bruises would have taught Benji a lesson about bike responsibility or endangering others. That didn’t happen.

What did happen was Benji and the front wheel of his bike slammed straight on into the curb.

The front of the bike stood still, while the back wheel of the bike shot straight up 45 degrees and hovered there.  In simple physics, Benji should have been launched over the handlebars, arms forward like Superman until his face acquainted itself with the chain link fence on the sidewalk; but again, that’s not what happened. In either a fantastic show of athleticism, or Pure Divine Intervention, Benji managed to somehow leap up, extract his legs from around the handlebars, and propel himself forward, landing on two feet, and then running down the sidewalk until casually bouncing off the chain-link fence with his shoulder. Unabashed, unashamed, unscared, unsilent, and still holding his phone.

To be honest; it was kind of impressive. When the insults, profanity, and comments settled out, my nephew and I looked at each other and just shook our heads.

“Don’t be Beji!”

Now; “Everyone knows WHO’s Benji!”

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