Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

16 October 2016

Get Well, Ely!

I was going to write another post about another Lovely Fall Ride.  Today's trek was different from yesterday's LFR in that I didn't leave the confines of the Five Boroughs. In fact, I traversed only two of those boroughs:  the one in which I live--Queens--and neighboring Brooklyn.  All of my ride covered streets that are entirely familiar to me but were accented by the clear mid-October afternoon accented by hints of the impending sunset and the crisp air.




Yes, I could write about today's ride which, while shorter and less varied than yesterday's ride to Connecticut, was still soul-satisfying.  Funny that I should choose such a term given that I wended along the side streets of the Hasidic enclave in the southern end of Williamsburgh.  Wooden booths enclosed balconies and building entrances; tents were erected in lots and alleyways:  I then realized that today is the beginning of Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles.  People gathered inside those booths and tents to commemorate the Exodus; those structures are meant to invoke the gathering of people who, so often, have been dispersed.

But I am not going to talk more about a Jewish observnce, of which I have very limited knowledge and experience.  I also won't talk about my ride because, well, I can do that whenever I want to.  Instead, I want to tell you about someone who's been part of my cycling life over the past three years, even though I've never met him.

We've talked on the phone, exchanged e-mails and responded to each other's post on Facebook.  I made a promise, sort of. to come out his way and ride with him.  And, if he's ever out this way and he has time, we're going to take at least one of the rides I've described in this blog. 

(Once, about a year or so ago, he was here in NYC, but only for two days, and had a commitment with a relative.)

So, aside from his good cheer and inspiration, how else has he affected my cycling life?  Well, he's made some things that are on all of my bikes.  They have become some of my favorite accessories, ever.  And now that they're on my bikes, I can't imagine my bikes without them:  They work so  well for me and the way I ride, and they highlight the beauty of my Mercians.




I am talking, of course, about my Ruth Works bags:  The Brevet bags on the handlebars of Arielle and Tosca, my Mercian Audax and fixed-gear bikes respectively.  The Randonneur bag on Vera, my twin-tube Mercian mixte.  The clutch on the handlebar of Helene, my modern Miss Mercian.  The seat wedges on all of those bikes, and the shopping panniers I use on my commuter.  And a large seat bag I sometimes use, and the panniers he made but which I haven't used yet.




Ely Ruth Rodriguez made all of those bags for me.  After he made those first bags--the Brevets and seat wedges--I fell in love with his work. And those bags just seemed to belong on my Mercians.




Today I found out that he suffered a heart attack while out on a ride.  I don't have a lot of details, but we exchanged e-mails and he says he's resting now.   

I hope he recovers quickly and well.  After all, I want to ride with him and, well, I might ask him to make another bag for me when he's up to it. But most important, he's a nice, engaging person with a family who loves him.  

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