This morning, the weather forecasters said it would be a “perfect” beach day. And it was: The temperature reached 31C (88F) and there was scarcely a cloud in the sky. The latter meant that humidity was low.
So, of course, I decided I didn’t want to ride to the beach. I figured at least half of the world would be doing that, which meant that traffic along streets that lead to Coney Island, Rockaway or Jones Beaches, or just about any along the Jersey shore, would resemble downtown Manhattan on a business day. I actually don’t mind riding in traffic—most of the time. Today didn’t fit “most”.
I decided, therefore, to head north—to Westchester County and Connecticut. That turned out to be a good decision: the ride was delightful, even though—or, perhaps, because—I decided to try new routes in northeastern Bronx and in the part of Westchester County between Rye and the state line. In each of those areas, I managed to ride in a complete circle (or square or oval—I’m not sure of which) that added distance to my ride. That also wasn’t a bad thing: I didn’t have a deadline and, because it’s early summer, lots of daylight to work with.
Not that I was worried about getting back before dark: I could have ridden even more than I did and made it home in time to light shabbos candles (not that I would have done such a thing). I also could have spent even more time than I did at my “turnaround” point. The only reason I didn’t is that, ironically, I encountered as much traffic as I’d anticipated in the beach areas as I crossed from the Empire State into the Nutmeg State.
The reason soon became clear: Greenwich was having street fairs on, it seemed, all of its commercial thoroughfares. What that meant is that people drove into the town—in particular, the strip with designer boutiques—to shop. I actually had to walk my bike for a couple of blocks, as cycling even the sidewalks (which is probably illegal), let alone the streets, was all but impossible. To their credit, many people actually stepped aside as I approached, even though I was ready to maneuver around them.
(I guess they still teach good manners in Swiss boarding schools!)
Anyway, having to walk those couple of blocks didn’t take any pleasure out of the ride. I don’t think anything could have, really. The weather was great, I was feeling good and Arielle, my Mercian Audax, performed flawlessly.
One thing I did notice, though, is that I drank quite a bit more than I normally do. Other people with whom I ride have called me a “camel”, as I can pedal a good while before I reach for my water bottle. But on today’s ride, I managed to consume two water bottles. In addition, I stopped for an iced tea (at a service-station vending machine about halfway home) and a small Dunkin’ Donuts Coolata (mango-passion fruit)in Connecticut. I think my consumption had to do with the low humidity and constant sun. Plus, I added cheese—something I don’t normally consume before or during a ride—to the eggless Eggs Benedict I made myself for breakfast. It was good cheese, but I think dairy products of any kind before and during a ride make me thirsty.
Even my thirst, though, didn’t detract from my ride. I don’t think anything could have.