Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

10 June 2010

Dreaming of A Bridge To The Next Journey

It's a little odd to write in a cycling blog when you haven't ridden in a couple of days.  We've had some rain, and I feel like I have a chest cold.  I think it may have developed when I fell asleep the other night in front of my open window with neither a blanket nor very much clothing on me.  And the temperature dropped steeply.

Anyway, the parts I ordered from Velo Orange came today:  handlebars, brake levers, fenders and a bell.  They're all going on the Schwinn I bought over the weekend.  I guess it's appropriate that I ordered Velo Orange parts to go on the orange bike.  But I also have Velo Orange stuff on my Mercians, and my Miss Mercian will also have some of their parts and accessories.  Sometimes I think a velo orange is a state of mind--even if the bike is "flip-flop purple/green," a.k.a. Number 57 on Mercian's colour chart.

Now that I haven't ridden in a couple of days, I've found myself thinking about someplace where I'd like to ride again, but can't.  Actually, one can ride there only once a year:  during the Five Boro Bike Tour.  I've done that ride a number of times, including a few of the early editions.  Those were the best because it wasn't quite as big as it is now.  Although I'm happy to see more people cycling, I get wistful sometimes about the days when we were the fringe.

But I digress.  There's one part of the ride that can be done only on the day of the ride, for it is off-limits to bicycles at any other time.  Here it is:

I took this photo from the deck of the Staten Island Ferry, on my way home from my ride in Jersey.  Even though I have seen this image--or some reflection of it--thousands of times, I still get woozy with deja vu, as Kurt Vonnegut said in Breakfast of Champions.  

I saw an image very much like the one you see here from the window of my room on Dahill Road in Brooklyn when I was a child.  It was like a neon sign in a window of my dreams.  And, of course, when I woke from the dream, I saw the bridge and wanted to cross it, wherever it went.

The bridge in the photo is the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.  There is a promenade that winds under it as curls around the rocks and flotsam on the Brooklyn shore, from Coney Island to near the old Brooklyn Army Terminal. If you're ever down that way, take the ride:  The bridge, the rocky shores and the wide expanse of the bay could make you think, if only for a moment, that you're in San Francisco.  

Even though I know exactly where the bridge goes, it still is the symbol for every crossing, if you will, I encounter.

And I think of it when I get on a bike, wherever I am and wherever I'm going--especially if I still haven't decided on my destination when I start to pedal.


  1. Oooo! I love that photo of the bridge and the fog. Makes me want to ride right through it!

  2. Amy: I didn't cycle through the fog in the photo. (Remember, you can cycle across the bridge only during the Five Boro Bike Tour.) However, I've cycled through even thicker fog (mainly in seacoast areas), and through clouds. Yes, clouds: When I was ascending and descending mountains in France (the Alps and Pyrenees) and Vermont, I rode through clouds that freqently wrap themselves around mountains.