Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

02 October 2019

Starting The New Year And Saving The World

I'm not Jewish.  Well, all right, according to my DNA test, I am 8 percent.  Somehow I had always suspected I had Semitic blood because I have always, in some weird way, identified with Jewish people, if not their religion. (I don't identify with any religion, though I was raised Catholic.)  But yesterday I was, in a way, Jewish. Or I could have been.

Rosh Hashannah, a.k.a. "Jewish New Year," began Sunday evening and ended last night. As a result, I had two days off from school for a religion I don't observe. (Hmm...How do Muslims feel on Christmas or Easter?)  On Monday, I did a couple of things and didn't do a few more things I could've/should've done.  Yesterday, though, I decided to channel 8 percent of my heritage and observe a new year.

No, I didn't go to schul any more than I went to school.  Instead, I decided that one way to honor my mother--and preserve whatever exists of my sanity--was to make a new beginning with a new year.

Now, since you're reading a bike blog,  you probably have guessed that my new year began with a bike ride.   It's one I've taken a number of times this year:  over the RFK Memorial Bridge to Randall's Island, and from there through the Bronx and Westchester County to Greenwich, Connecticut.  Not surprisingly, I saw a number of people--mainly in groups I assumed to be families--on their way to or from schul, or perhaps to someone's house.  

The weather was more like early summer than early fall:  the temperature rose to about 27C (82F) along with the humidity.  Still, the ride was quite pleasant:  The sun shone enough to cheer me up but was veiled by enough clouds to not drain me.  

After riding home, I made myself a meatless concoction of vegetables:  fresh spinach, scallions, sweet peppers, corn and mushrooms, sauteed in olive oil and garlic and garnished with some cheddar cheese and red pepper flakes. It was tasty, if I do say so myself. I chased it with a small Macoun apple, Anjou pear, some blueberries and a chocolate-glazed French crueller.

Then I checked my e-mail and came across this:

With all of the things going on in the world, it was nice to begin the new year with some good news.  The cyclists are in Spain, but in rescuing that deer, they did a service to the world, as far as I am concerned.  Whoever saves a life saves the world.  Even if you haven't read the Talmud, you probably have heard that line, perhaps in Schindler's List.

19 September 2019

Their Side Of The Tracks

Most days, my commute takes me along an industrial stretch of East 141st Street that dead-ends at Park Avenue.

It is not, however, the Park Avenue that comes to most people's minds:  the one lined by canopied buildings to which well-dressed residents are escorted from taxis or limousines by white-gloved concierges.  Rather, it is the Park Avenue bound by the Metro North commuter railroad tracks after it crosses the Harlem River from Manhattan into the Bronx.

As I pedaled down 141st Street, I saw, those bicycles parked by the railroad tracks.

That, in itself, was unusual, as the few bikes one sees in the area are locked to light poles or sign posts.  But, in a move so cinematic it couldn't have been scripted, I turned to my right and saw this:

Those young men are living in that tent, by the tracks, and use the bikes to get around--just three blocks from the college.  At the end of a street where construction materials and chicken tenders are made.  Next to the tracks where trains, at that very moment, were ferrying commuters from Greenwich and Rye and Mount Kisco to Grand Central Station, where they would board subways and hail taxis to the places where they work and get paid.

Most likely, none of the passengers saw the bikes, the tent--or the men who ride those bikes in search of food and bottles, cans and other castoffs to sell.

10 September 2019

A Morning After

First of all, I want to thank all of you who sent your condolences and other thoughts over my mother's passing.

While pedaling to school this morning, I couldn't help but to think of her.  She was an early riser and often ambled by the canal behind her house.

The Bronx Kill, which ebbs and swells under the Randall's Island Connector, is not nearly as bucolic as the waterway in her backyard.  I guess it was the calm, and the softness of the early morning light, that made me think of her, again.

Or perhaps it was another early riser: