Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

20 February 2016

Riding To Ride, Again

A month has passed since I came home from visiting my parents in Florida.  Today I did something I hadn't done since returning: I took a bike ride that wasn't a commute or errand, or wasn't in some other way utilitarian.

I got on the bike with no specific plan other than to pedal toward Rockaway Beach and do whatever came next.  Rockaway is about fifteen miles (25 km) from my apartment.  So, I reasoned, even if I pedaled there and back, it was a reasonable ride--especially if I rode it in a fixed gear.

So out Tosca, my Mercian fixie, came.  I had another reason for riding her today:  I had just cleaned up Arielle, my Mercian Audax, and Vera, my green Mercian mixte.   Part of the clean-up included installing new chains and cassettes. I hadn't yet done the same for Tosca, though I plan to do so.  (I probably won't change the chain, though:  1/8" chains don't wear nearly as quickly as 3/32" chains  used with derailleurs.)  I figured that there was still some slop on the streets, so if I got some in Tosca's drivetrain, it will give me incentive to clean her up.  

Oh, I had one other reason to ride Tosca:  the course would be flat.

Riding her felt great.  So great, in fact, that I didn't turn around at Rockaway Beach.  Instead, I decided to ride along the ocean from Rockaway to Riis Park and across the bridge to Brooklyn, where I'd continue pedaling along the ocean to Coney Island.  

It was a lovely ride in the late-afternoon sun (I woke up late today!) even though for most of it, I was pedaling into 25-35 KPH wind, which blew out of the west.  Of course, there was something else in the west:

I would ride alongside that sunset from Coney Island all the way up to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.  When I reached the end of the promenade, the sky was darkening and I reached into my seat bag for my lights.  I figured I would ride to Greenwood Cemetery (about 3 km) or Barclays Center (another 3 km) and decide whether to dodge the drunk trust fund kids who, I figured, would be tumbling out of bars and onto the streets and bike lanes of Williamsburg.

At Barclays, I decided to continue, as I was feeling good and traffic had been lighter than I expected.  Best of all, I didn't see any of the drunk trust fund kids tumbling ouot of bars.  Maybe it was too early for that (though, I must say, I've seen them not long after noon on weekends!).  There weren't even many cyclists on the Kent Avenue bike lane, especially given how mild the weather was for this time of year.

So...I did 85 kilometers today.  Yes, they were flat.  But I did them on a fixed.  And I rode into the wind for about 25 of those kilometers.  Oh, why am I counting anything?  I had a really nice ride. I'm happy.

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