Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

19 March 2018

Say Hello To Dee-Lilah

I suppose Bill still falls into the category of "new friend" and "new riding buddy".  After all, I've known him only since October.

Yesterday he met my latest friend.  Now you are going to meet her, too.

Here is Dee-Lilah:

Yes, she is the Mercian Vincitore Special I ordered back in May.  Actually, she arrived a week ago and Hal, at Bicycle Habitat, assembled her for me.  I rode her home that evening. But work, other commitments and lousy weather kept me from riding her again until yesterday.

Before meeting up with Bill, I took her for a spin of about 17 kilometers.  That whetted my appetite for more time with her.

Our ride took us through a variety of vistas: spires and windows that justify Brooklyn's nickname "The Borough of Churches", neat row houses in western Queens, the nearly suburban abodes to the east, opulent estates that look out onto the bay and ocean from the Five Towns and the more ramshackle places on the way to the boardwalk at Far Rockaway.

My ride with Bill spanned about 115 kilometers.  So, in all, Dee-Lilah's second ride took me for 130 kilometers, or about 75 miles, of pleasure.

Even with such varied visuals around me, I could hardly keep myself from looking at her.  I mean, I still can't help but to marvel at this bottom bracket:

or these lugs:

All right, I know it's a bit presumptuous to say how beautiful one's own bike is.  But, on my way to meet up with Bill, a couple of guys were wheeling two pricey mountain bikes with all the latest gadgets off a curb.  They stopped themselves, and asked me to stop so they could marvel at my bike.

And, I was about four blocks from my apartment when another guy was getting out of his car and stopped to express his admiration.

It was a bit difficult to stand the bike anywhere, as the day was windy. (It's March, after all!)  But I think Bill got some nice shots of the head tube and other features of the bike.

I'll devote another post to more technical details for the bike.  For now, I'll just say the bike is very aerodynamic.  It must be:  I felt like I was flying. 

Welcome, Dee-Lilah!

18 March 2018

A Tale Of The Tape

I forget who said, "The best lock is the human eye."  That person obviously had no stock in Citadel, Kryptonite, Abus or any other company that makes the things we use to fasten our bikes to lamp posts, parking meters, fences and other immobile objects.  That person would have known better:  Any security device created by humans can be foiled by humans.

(Now, about that wall...)

So..what are we to do if we have to leave our bikes on the street and want to find it when we return? 

Also:  How do we protect our beloved machines from the elements?

Well, it seems that someone has created a solution from that all-purpose material--duct tape

17 March 2018

The Ghost Of St. Patrick Bike

In New York and other cities around the world, one can find "ghost bikes".  They usually look something like this

and are dedicated to cyclists who were struck by motor vehicles at or near the spot where the "ghost" stands.

They are indeed solemn reminders of the dangers we face.  But why can't we have more monuments to show the joys of riding--or at least the spirit of cyclists

From Chrispins

especially Irish ones.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

16 March 2018

My Shimona

I'll never forget the guy who just couldn't wait to show me the "deal" he got--on Canal Street.  For ten dollars, he got himself the watch he always wanted--in gold, no less.  

That timepiece of his dreams was a "Roxel".

Was that name the fruit of a counterfeiter's creativity--or dyslexia?  I asked myself the same question when I saw this:

"Shimona" bike parts have been showing up on bikes purchased online--mainly under the "Aspen" brand.  The typeface on the disc in the photo is all but indistinguishable from that of Shimano.  I wonder how many people didn't catch the "typo."

Is the same person responsible for "Roxel" and "Shimona"?  Or was the person who came up with the latter name listening to song from a late-70s one-hit wonder.  I'm talking, of course, about "My Shimona":

15 March 2018

Stephen Hawking Gets A Bum's Rush From Limbaugh Mind (Such As It Is)

Here is another reason to Beware the Ides of March.

All right, so this happened yesterday.  What am I talking about?

More to the point, what was he talking about?

Rush Limbaugh commemorated the death of Stephen Hawking as only he could have:  by casting doubt on one of the great physicist's main contributions to science.

To wit, the radio loudmouth asks whether we can really know that the Big Bang happened if nobody was there to see it:

I'll admit I'm just a college dropout radio guy, okay?  I'm not a professional physicist.  I'm not a professional scientist.  I do not own a lab coat, white or light blue.  So they tell me that the Big Bang is where everything began.  Hawking says it's the Big Bang and we're still expanding.

Now, I won't make any snarky comments about Rush Limbaugh using the word "expand."  But I will say that the man accomplished something few, if any, of us could have.  For one thing, he made Ken Ham seem like a rigorous thinker, if not an out-and-out intellectual.  And he managed to show us what it's like when The Smartest Person In The World has shade thrown on him by the Damndest Ass In America.

Oh, dear Stephen Hawking, you deserve so much better.  Rest In Peace.  

An Ides Of March Vehicle

Even though it's been the background commercial for countless car ads, I still love it.

Even though I now consider myself a feminist I can forgive lyrics like these:

   I'm a friendly stranger in a black sedan 

   Won't you hop inside my car 
   I got pictures, got candy
   I'm a lovable man 
   And I can take you to the nearest star

even if I would tell my kids (if I'd had any) not to go near any man who said anything like that--if for no other reason than their sheer cheesiness.

Then again, I never actually heard the lyrics until long after I first heard the song on the radio, when I was about 11 years old.  I mean, why would I, when they're accompanied by some of the best horn riffs in a popular song on this side of "Hold On, I'm Coming."

I'm talking about a song called "Vehicle", which made it all the way to #2 on the Billboard charts in May 1970.  

So why am I mentioning it today?  Well, the group who recorded it was known as The Ides of March.  One of its members, Jim Peterik, would later write "Eye of the Tiger" for the Rocky movies.

And his songs are published by Bicycle Music.  Pretty ironic, isn't it, for a song about a guy trying to use his car to pick up girls?


14 March 2018

A Tide? Or A Trail?

In another life, my daily commute will take me along a seacoast and the tides will roll in, leaving their garland of foam on a neck of sand, as I pedal by.

Or I might pass by pates of snow perched on bald shoulders of rock as vapor trails stream above me--or behind me! ;-)

Then again, in another life I might not commute:  All of my rides will be for the sake of riding.  Dream on!

This morning I contented myself with seeing white streaks drifting and dissipating in Hell Gate.  It's not a bad way to start the morning. Hey, at least I get to ride my bike to work.  Not everybody here in the US can do that!

13 March 2018

He Rode Into Town--And Liberated It

How was your ride today?

Oh, it was fine.  I liberated a town.

I've never had a conversation quite like that.  The fellow who did had every right to any honors and accolades he may have received--even if they made him blush.

Somehow, though, I don't think Angus Mitchell would have been one of the parties. At least, he probably wouldn't have uttered "I liberated a town", even though it was true.

The Scotsman took command of his squadron after its leader was killed in a scout car just 50 yards from where he stood.   Then he was shot at himself, but the bullet glanced off a bronze periscope, sending bits of metal toward his face and injuring him.

After a brief recovery, he returned to his unit and was ordered to advance to a railway line near the Maas River, just outside the Dutch town of Boxmeer.  There, he decided to ditch the squadron's armored vehicles in favor of bicycles so the Royal Air Force wouldn't mistakenly bomb him and his fellow soldiers.  

He entered the town on his bicycle--alone--and found the enemy had retreated to a small village just outside the town.  Then he called down an attack and defeated the remaining German soldiers, thus liberating the town and its surrounding area.

For his exploits, he would be decorated by three different countries:  the United Kingdom would reward him with its Military Cross, the Netherlands would make him a Ridder (Knight) in the Dutch Order of Oranje-Nassau and France would bestow its Legion d'Honneur medal upon him.

He says he played a "small part" in the war, but the citizens of Boxmeer were grateful for it--enough so that he was invited back some 50 years later.

Angus Mitchell outlived most of them:  A little more than two weeks ago, on 26 February, he passed away, at the age of 93.  To say that his life was a journey would be an understatement and a cliche at the same time:  He took one bike ride that no doubt saved lives and changed others--including, I'm sure, his own.

12 March 2018

I Am Such A Menace!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised to read another article that vilifies cyclists.

Most such drivel blames cyclists for traffic jams and all matter of quality-of-life issues in a city because, if they are to be believed, we all run red lights and run over someone's grandma who's carrying a puppy or a kitten she just took in from the shelter.

Well, there's a new twist on this theme today, in the Washington Post blog.  It starts like this:

  Scenes of Washington life include pedestrians on the streets with headphones, or cell phones or perhaps a purse.  The city's streets are also home to bicycles and bike riders.  And every now and then the pedestrians and the bicyclists do not mix well.

Its author, Martin Weil uses this opener as a Jaws-style setup:  Just as some unwitting swimmer has a cut or barely-concealed body part (a breast, perhaps) that causes the shark to smack its lips and think "LUNCH!", those poor, innocent pedestrians' head phones, cell phones and purses are bait for bad, bad people on bikes.

A real menace 2 society!

Yes, Mr. Weil writes about a string of purse- (and head- and cell-phone) snatchings committed by...a guy on a bike.  Specifically, a young guy or adolescent male on a bike.

Well, I guess I'll have to watch for that when I'm off my bike and crossing a street.  But at least it's good to know that, as a middle-aged woman, I don't fit the profile of the perps Mr. Weil describes.

Now I'm going to tell you a secret:  That's the reason I changed my gender.  I didn't want to seem like the sort of menacing young urban male who preys upon unsuspecting pedestrians at busy intersections! :-)  Heck, I don't even fit the profile of scofflaw cyclists who run red lights and run over old ladies with puppies and kittens.  After all, I really can't bring myself to harm someone when I look at someone and that person is a mirror.

11 March 2018

And What Are You Going To Do With That "Extra" Hour?

Daylight Savings Time starts today.  So, if you haven't moved your timepieces ahead one hour, I am nagging  reminding you to do it now.

This means that at the end of this day, you get an extra hour of daylight--to ride, perhaps.

It seems this shop in Florida has other ideas:

10 March 2018

Bamboo Or Carbon Fiber: Are Those The Choices?

Bicycles are made either from carbon fiber or bamboo.

At least, if I didn't know any better, that's what I would think after reading an article on The Huffington Post website.

It's one thing for a journalist to be ignorant about a subject before writing about it.  But Tom Levitt, the author of the article in question, seems to have committed a cardinal sin (Well, at least I've always thought it was a cardinal sin!) for a journalist:  not doing his research.

Also, he seems not to know what he is trying to tell his readers.  It would have been fine if he'd stuck to writing a feature piece about the London club whose workshop teaches people how to build frames from bamboo.  That part of the article is interesting enough, at least to me.  I wouldn't even have minded if he'd written about the environmental damage caused by the manufacture or disposal of carbon fiber, or of bicycles generally.  

A class in the Bamboo Bicycle Club's workshop.

But the premise of his article seems to be that teaching people how to make their own bamboo bicycles is a way to mitigate the environmental damage caused by disposing of bicycles.  That, itself, would have been all right if he hadn't conflated the making or recycling of carbon fiber bikes with the making or recycling of bikes generally. 

What's all the more perplexing is that the article includes this photo of share bikes dumped in Shanghai, China.  Again, exposing the environmental damage and sheer waste of such a practice would have been valid.  With my knowledge of bicycles, however, I would say that few, if any, of those bikes are carbon fiber.  Most, I would reckon, are mild to mid-grade steel.  

Why is that important?  Well, steel can be recycled many times without losing strength or other qualities that make it a good structural material.  That is one reason why it's the most-recycled metal.  Not far behind steel in that category is--you guessed it--aluminum.  If any of the bikes in that photo aren't made of steel, they're probably aluminum, which loses little when it's re-used.

On the other hand, carbon fiber is recycled by chopping it to bits and burning off the plastic resin that holds the fibers--which lose significant amounts of their strength in the process--together.  Of course the loss of strength is a concern to bike-makers, but it's even more of a problem in the aerospace industry, where use of carbon fiber has expanded even more than in it has in the bicycle industry.

Carbon fiber use is also expanding more rapidly in the automotive industry, which also might not want to use materials weakened by recycling.  And, for all of the carbon fiber bicycles, boats, gliders, tennis rackets and such available to consumers, the military is still, by far, the biggest user of carbon fiber composites.   Let's just say that the armed forces aren't noted for their concern about the environment, much less recycling.  Moreover, armed forces are willing and able to spend whatever is necessary to obtain the most advanced composites, so they wouldn't be interested in recycled materials.

So...If Tom Levitt had stuck to one topic--bike-building classes, bamboo bikes or the environmental hazards of carbon fiber--he might have written a lucid and enlightening article.  Instead, he has revealed his ignorance or laziness. 

09 March 2018

No Escape In The Windy City

One of the great things about cycling, at least for me, is that it offers a way of escaping, if only temporarily, the stresses of daily life and the ills that afflict this world.

Perhaps I can say such a thing because I am white.  Nothing, it seems, can free Blacks and Hispanics--especially those who are young and male--from the yoke of lasso of racism, especially its noose of racial profiling.

No, not even cycling can free young people of color from those things.  If anything, riding a bike  might make them targets for cops on the hunt for tickets to meet their quotas.

At least, that's how things seem to work in Chicago.  Recently, the Tribune reported that 56 percent of all 2017  bike citations were issued in Black-majority neighborhoods, 24 percent in Latino/a-majority communities and only 18 percent in areas populated mainly by Whites.  That, in a city where the proportion of non-Hispanic Black and White people is almost exactly the same, at just over 32 percent for each race.  Hispanics make up 28 percent of the Windy City's population, but they are more dispersed than Blacks throughout the city, so it's fair to say that those who live in Latino/a-majority neighborhoods are bearing disproportionately ticketed.

This caricature of Major Taylor appeared in the 26 April 1894 issue of Cycling Life.

North Lawndale, where 89 percent of the residents are Black and relatively few cycle, got more bike tickets than any other Chicago neighborhood.  Lincoln Park--a neighborhood that is either "bike friendly" or the home of "Trixies" and "Chads", depending on your persepctive--got only five.  Yes, you read that right:  5, as many fingers as you have on your hand!  Oh, and Lincoln Park is  81 percent white.

08 March 2018

Freedom Riders

Today is International Women's Day.

In previous posts, I've talked about the role bicycles played in women's rights.  And, although I've posted it before, I'll repeat a remark of Susan B. Anthony:

  Let me tell you what I think of bicycling.  I think it has done more to emanicpate women than anything else in the world.  It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.

"Free, untrammeled womanhood." Funny she should say that.  When I started my transition from life as Nick to being Justine, I wondered whether I would continue cycling.  I lost some of my strength when I started taking hormones, though some of that loss may have been due to aging.  (I was in my mid-40's when I started.)  I also wondered whether cycling would fit into the image of femininity and womanhood I was trying to project at the time.

Happily, I didn't have to trade cycling for my identity because, well, cycling is as much a part of my identity as anything is.  Though I am not as strong or daring as I once was, I don't have to be when I'm on the bicycle.  Perhaps this knowledge is also what has allowed me to feel comfortable in riding what I like rather than following this week's trends.

And, here is something else I believe Ms. Anthony would approve:  I see cycling as much a part of my identity, not only as a woman named Justine, but as a feminist.  When you come right down to it, feminism is the freedom to do as we see fit, or as we please. Cycling fits that definition as much as anything--including reading and writing--for me.

So, I am hoping that some of the ice I encountered in the aftermath of yesterday's late-day storm clears out by the time I leave work.  That way, I can celebrate this day with--what else?--a bike ride!

07 March 2018

It's An Improvement, But...

I've come across an interesting The Atlantic blog article about bike lanes.

Its author, Steven Higashide, reports that when he first started working in New York City, in 2007, "bicycling seemed like an activity best left to the pros" like one of the city's "stock characters", a bike messenger with "a heavy chain lock around the waist" could be seen "whipping through traffic with supreme confidence."

Now, he says, he regularly uses Citi Bike for "short trips to and from the subway, after-work rides to friends' apartments and fun rides on sunny days."  He attributes his willingness to pedal to the 98 miles of protected bike lanes the city has constructed during the past decade.

He briefly describes the developments that made bike lane construction happen in New York, and other US cities.  Chief among them is something the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), a forum started in 1996 for big-city transportation planners to swap ideas, did around the time Mr. Higashide started cycling in the Big Apple.  Its members researched the standards set out in design guides traffic engineers and urban planners were consulting.  Not surprisingly, there was little mention of how to integrate bicycles into urban traffic and transportation systems, and what little was mentioned had mainly to do with painted on-street bike lanes and pleasant, if impractical, off-street paths along waterfronts and in parks. 

A "protected" bike lane in Washington, DC.

Then NACTO researched the protected bike lanes that had already been part of Northern European cities for three decades. NACTO adopted their designs--well, somewhat.  NACTO's recommendations fall into the "something is better than nothing" category:  The standards in the Netherlands, and other countries, were still more bike-friendly:  their lanes are wider (on narrower streets) and the Dutch lanes offer even more protection from traffic, especially at intersections, where for Americans it is still minimal to non-existent.  

But perhaps the worst aspects of NACTO's guidelines is that they still incorporate most of the principles (or mistakes, as I've come to think of them) espoused by American traffic engineers and planners over the past century:  the speed and flow of automobile traffic are valued over walkability (On roads with medians, traffic signals are timed so that pedestrians have only enough seconds to get to the median rather than to cross the entire road.), cyclability or livability.

And, worst of all, too many of those lanes--as I've pointed out in other posts--are poorly-designed, -constructed or -maintained.  Or they are simply impractical:  They start and end abruptly.  Even for a recreational cyclist, this is a disincentive to use them:  For transportation cyclists, it makes them simply useless.  Moreover, even the protected lanes are too often blocked by pedestrians, food vendors--and, at times, even the motor vehicles that supposedly aren't allowed on them.

What NACTO's guidelines do, mainly, is to provide legal and political cover.  When then-Mayor Ed Koch had bike lanes built along 5th, 6th and 7th Avenues, and Broadway in mid-town Manhattan, he was guided only by his memory of "a million cyclists in Beijing", not any guidelines or principles of transportation planning.  That is why taxi and trucking interests, among others, didn't need to do very much to pressure the Mayor to remove those lanes only a few months later.  A quarter-century later, when New York and other cities started to build bike lanes, they could at least say that they were following guidelines set forth by professionals in the field, however misguided they may be. NACTO guidelines were further legitimized in 2013, when the Federal Highway Administration endorsed them in a memo.  

To be fair, NACTO's guidelines were an improvement on previous standards for bicycle infrastructure in American cities, such as they existed.   And NACTO is furthering its research and issuing new, and in many cases improved, guidelines.  But the way planners see cyclists, pedestrians and vehicular traffic--and motorists' awareness of cyclists and pedestrians--still needs to evolve.  Otherwise, the construction of more bike lanes, however pretty or "protected", will not result in safer cycling or entice more people to get out of their cars and into the saddle.

06 March 2018

To Hell And Dawn

Yesterday I wrote about a ride that included a fallen tree and the sunset.  The latter, not surprisingly, made the ride glorious, while the tree made it more interesting.

Somehow it fits that I was riding at sunrise this morning.  Actually, I was making my commuter a little earlier than usual so I could get a bit of work done before my classes.  I am noticing, however, that day is dawning earlier and ending later.  Sunday, we move the clocks ahead an hour for "Daylight Savings Time," which means more daylight at the end of the day.  It also means that I might be making a pre-dawn commute or two before the end of the month.

Anyway, from the RFK Memorial Bridge I got to see the morning arise at Hell's Gate--actually, the Hell Gate Bridge:

"Dawn" and "hell":  They almost seem contradictory, don't they?

05 March 2018

From A Fallen Tree To Burning Towers And The Sunset

Friday's weather was practically the definition of "dreary":  at any given moment, we had any given combination of snow, rain and sleet combined with winds that gusted, at time, to 90 KPH.

While the stuff stopped falling out of the sky Saturday morning, a ceiling of thick clouds obscured the sun--at least, for most of the day.  And it was still pretty windy.  No matter:  Bill and I went for  a ride.

We were exulting in our good fortune when we encountered a "souvenir" of the previous day's weather:

I'd heard that trees fell and power lines snapped.  Still, it's a surprise when you find them right in the middle of your route.

It wasn't really a surprise that the tree fell:  We could see the decay near its base.  Also, it was pretty easy to see that the tree needed more room for its roots to spread and deepen.  I guess that when that tree was planted--100 years ago?--no one expected it to grow so tall--or for concrete to be poured over its base.

One car looked totaled.  The others struck by the trees looked repairable.  Fortunately, neither Bill nor I had bikes in the path of its fall!

I rode my Trek because I expected to encounter more debris, mud and other detritus of the storm than I did.  Bill rode the rattiest of the three (!) early '70's Schwinn Sports Tourers he owns.

We stared riding just after noon and made a longer-than-expected lunch stop.  So, by the time we got to the bridge from Far Rockaway to Atlantic Beach, on the south shore of Nassau County, it was already late in the day.

The South Shore of Long Island is one of the few places on the East Coast where you can look west and see the sun set on the ocean, the way you would in, say, Laguna Beach.  And we spent much of the rest of our ride headed into the sunset, from Atlantic Beach to Sheepshead Bay on Brooklyn's South Shore.

From the path between Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden, we saw the Manhattan skyline--about 30 kilometers away, as the crow flies--ablaze.  Of course, in New York it's hard not to associate blazing buildings with 9/11--especially since a number of firefighters who died that day lived in Rockaway Beach and Belle Harbor, two South Shore communities we traversed on our ride.  But I had to remind myself that those skyscrapers were glowing in the reflection of the sunset, not burning in the aftermath of a disaster.

The sun, hidden most of the day, ended the day by playing peek-a-boo with the clouds before disappearing into the sea.

As our ride ended, it had one thing in common with The French Connection:  a ride under the New Utrecht Avenue elevated subway.  Well, all right, our time under it wasn't nearly as long or dramatic.  

I certainly hope the household is "stationary."  I wouldn't want to live in something that didn't stay in place, at least while I'm inside it.  And I certainly wouldn't allow whoever painted that awning the use of my stationery until he or she learned how to spell.

Or maybe I wouldn't be so picky.  After all, I was still basking in the glow of that sunset we prolonged by riding into it.

N.B.:  Bill took all of the photos in this post.

04 March 2018

Prepositional Delivery

When teaching English to non-native speakers, it's the little words that are the most difficult.  In particular, prepositions can be really pesky:  They don't translate exactly, if at all, from one language to another.  I still don't know how to explain why someone lives in Queens but on Long Island.

Likewise, why do postal carriers deliver on bicycles, but whatever they bring arrives by bicycle?

Well...at least we know they're not delivering in a bicycle--though the letters, cards, bills and such might be in a bike when they arrive.  At least, in a bike like this:

03 March 2018

My Coffee Runs Are Nothing Compared To His!

When I was a NYC bicycle messenger, relatives, friends and others urged me to get another job.  "It's so dangerous!" they exhorted.

I hear that same admonition, sometimes, when people learn that I continue to ride in the Big Apple.  A few people I know have told me they used to pedal the pavement of the big city or spin their wheels somewhere else, but they stopped because it was "too dangerous".

Now, I know I have to be vigilant when riding in traffic.  And there are other hazards.  To me, though, riding in my hometown is no more--and probably much less--perilous than pedaling in other places.  

I know.  I have ridden in some of those other places.  None of them, however, is nearly as hazardous as what these folks traverse every day:

The border area between Sudan and South Sudan is one of the most dangerous places on Earth.  The climate, terrain and political situation make for a truly hazardous coffee run, to say the least.

I do not make that last statement lightly.  The bicycle traders in the video make two-day trips to get coffee, juice and other items that might not be available in their home villages.  

And I used to feel proud of going a few miles along sometimes-potholed roads for bagels!

02 March 2018

Welcome To Port Morris

When you enter a neighborhood, town, city, state or nation, you might see a sign that says "Welcome To..." or "Entering..."  Or the sign might consist only of the name of the place.  

Most people don't realize that there isn't a neighborhood called "South Bronx."  Rather, it's a section of the borough that consists of a number of different neighborhoods.  Depending on whose definition you believe, they all lie south of the Cross Bronx Expressway, Tremont Avenue or Fordham Road.

By any definition, I work in what's now being called "SoBro".  (Uh-oh.  There goes the neighborhood!)  I also enter it--and, specifically one of its neighborhoods--when I ride off the Randalls Island Connector:

They really let you know where you are, don't they?  To be specific, that mural graces Willow Avenue between 134th and 135th Streets in the heart of Port Morris, a mostly industrial area at the very southern tip of the Bronx.

But that's only half of the mural.  Here's the right-hand side of it, with a detail:

I first saw this mural a couple of weeks ago, when I decided to vary my commuting route a bit.  Actually, I decided to take Willow Avenue when I saw a sign for a bike lane that recently opened along its side.

I know I've been critical of bike lanes.  The one on Willow Avenue is, like others in the city, separated from the street by a couple of lines of paint and a few poles.  But there actually isn't much traffic on Willow:  Most of the motorized vehicles are on the nearby Bruckner Expressway.  But you do have to watch for trucks pulling in and out of the driveways that cross the lane into factories and lofts.  I must say, though, that truck drivers are generally (at least in my experience) more careful and courteous than others.  They often honk and wave to me!

And I get to see some street art.  Those, I think, are good reasons to change up my commuting route.  At least I know exactly where I am!

01 March 2018

Which Is A Shadow Of Which?

Last night, I stayed late at work.  And I had an early morning class.

So, on my way home, I followed one "shadow":

across the RFK Memorial Bridge

to my home in Queens.

This morning I followed another

on Randalls Island, to the Bronx

and the early risers (or all-night workers) I teach.