UC Santa Barbara’s campus is home to quite a few bikes. And by a few, I mean around 30,000 bikes. That being said, you can imagine how many of those bikes are impounded every year due to students leaving them in restricted areas, not locking them in a proper bike rack, leaving them in a bike rack for too long, etc. Of course once winter break sets in and the campus becomes empty and quiet, the students leftover naturally are up to no good when boredom ensues. My friend researched and found the location of the University bike impound lot. It is at Devereux, and last night we ventured over there. Mischievous, excited, and nervous, we had quite the adventure.
Devereux is a rehabilitation center providing services for adults and elders with developmental and intellectual disabilities, emotional disorders, neurological impairments, and autism. The bike impound lot is located at the children’s care facilites, which has been closed and abandoned since 2006. Walking onto the abandoned lot is quite eerie; boards cover the building windows, red lettering reads “CAUTION DO NOT ENTER,” a small basketball court and the remnants of what looks like a chicken coop are now deserted. But right in the middle, surrounded by an 8-foot chain link fence, are rows of thousands of bikes – from beach cruisers to road bikes – impounded and left to rot.
The rest of the night is questionably illegal so I’m going to keep the story short and sweet:
- Jumped over the fence.
- Heard a dog barking.
- Heard the dog’s barking getting closer.
- Launched ourselves back over the fence.
- Ran like hell.
Though we had no bad intentions, the thought of a guard dog was enough to make our blood boil. For a girl standing 5 feet and 1/2 an inch like myself (yes, I’m including the 1/2 an inch), I’m sure the only reason I was able to climb and jump over a fence and run a block in 4 minutes was because of my adrenaline fueled flight-or-fight response. And last night really reminded me how intense that rush is.
An adrenaline rush is the fight-or-flight response of the adrenal gland, which releases the catecholamine hormone adrenaline, known formally as epinephrine. Another hormone called dopamine is released which acts as a natural pain killer, which is probably the reason behind the soreness I’m feeling today from yesterday’s panicked movements. During an adrenaline rush, there is an increase in muscle respiration, heart and lung action, inhibition of stomach action and digestion, inhibition of tear production, and tunnel vision – you are focused on your destination and nothing else. The effects of adrenaline-binding to adrenergic receptors causes increased blood glucose and fatty acids, providing the means for energy production within cells throughout the body. Your body puts priority on all the functions to help you get the hell out of wherever you are. And get the hell out we did. Guess I can’t blame adrenaline junkies because that feeling is pretty incredible, though I don’t have the guts to chase after adrenaline more often than once every few years.
Tonight, I’m going to make a great last dinner with my roommate and friends, probably along the lines of lobster mac ‘n cheese, sides of bruschetta and spinach artichoke dip, and the catch of the day from the local fish market at the Santa Barbara harbor. Seeing as how I just realized there is only one week before Christmas and I have yet to do any shopping, I’m sure I’ll have quite the hectic day tomorrow. So, I’m taking it easy tonight and I can’t wait.