21 November 2012

When A Favorite Bike Ride Is A Disaster Zone

I think I just figured out the reason (or, at least, a reason) why I've been tired and have had bouts of crankiness and melancholy.  I haven't been on a ride of more than 20 miles in more than a month.  

In Point Lookout, NY.

On the 21st of October, I rode to Point Lookout; the following day, I did a ramble with Lakythia through parts of Brooklyn and down to the Rockaway Peninsula, including Breezy Point. That was the weekend before Sandy struck, and the weekend after the Tour de Bronx.

The destination of many of my rides.

Also, part of the reason for my sadness is having helped, in small ways, the storm's victims in those areas.  Before I went, I had a hard time imagining those places I associate with cycling pleasure as scenes of devastation.  Now, having been to the Rockaway peninsula--one of the most ravaged areas--I'm having a hard time seeing it as the route of a pleasurable bike ride.  That is not the same thing as having memories of riding there:  Of course I will recall many moments and days of serenity and joy.  Perhaps I will have such times there again.  But, for now, I almost feel guilty when I think about riding those seaside streets and lanes again.

From The Daily Beast

I have no doubt that, in time, roads will be cleared and repaired and, perhaps, boardwalks rebuilt.  If homes can be fixed, their owners will; if not, perhaps new ones will be built.  People who live in places like Breezy Point and Rockaway Beach don't give up on them, at least not easily.  I'm sure many will be there if and when I ride there again.   Even though many of them simply would not live anywhere else, I can only wonder how they'll see their native land, if you will, in light of Sandy.  And--perhaps selfishly on my part--I wonder how it will feel to pedal one of my Mercians there again.