Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

03 May 2015

Not The Five Boro Bike Tour

Everyone who knows I’m a cyclist, but isn’t one him- or herself, is going to ask whether I did the Five Boro Bike Tour.  The answer is “no”.

I am happy for those who did.  I simply don’t want to ride in such a mass of people, some of whom have no idea of how to ride in groups.  Also, I don’t want to be stuck on Staten Island for three hours, waiting to get on the Ferry. That happened the last time I rode the 5BBT.

Plus, I’m cheap.  I don’t want to spend $25 on a one-day ride, even if there’s a T-shirt at the end of it. 

Finally, I did fourteen of the first twenty 5BBTs, twelve as a rider and two as a  marshal.  There just isn’t any sense of discovery for me when I do the ride, which takes basically the same route every year.

I did, however, go on a ride.  As I did yesterday, I decided on a bike before I decided on a ride.  In this case, I took Vera—my green Miss Mercian mixte—out on another gorgeous day.  The weather was much like yesterday, but a bit warmer.  So I wore one less layer and used more sunscreen.

Vera, like Arielle, didn’t seem to mind that I didn’t have a planned itinerary.  She took me through on a journey through a place that showed no sign of the changing season, and another that couldn’t help but to remind one of the fact that today was one of the first warm days of the year.

Passing Forest Park and rolling down Woodhaven Boulevard as it turned onto Beach Channel Drive, I could have been on my way to the Rockaways again.  Much as I enjoy riding there, Vera wasn’t about to take me there, and I was happy for that.  

We detoured through the western side of Howard Beach,where tidal marshes stand between Jamaica Bay and 78th Street.  The reeds look the way they did during the winter, the fall and the previous summer and spring.  They don’t even seem to have been affected by Superstorm Sandy—or a fire that raged a few months later.  

From there, I picked up the bike trail along Shore Parkway to the Canarsie Pier, where it seemed every male from the surrounding neighborhoods was fishing.

Then I continued along the Shore Parkway path.  Traffic along the highway was, by that time, at a near-standstill in both directions.  Some of the vehicles had bikes attached to them, but I suspect some were on the way to the piers, the beaches or any number of outdoor spaces.

Next stop:  Coney Island.  It simply wasn’t possible to ride the boardwalk because it was so crowded.  It was like the Fourth of July, except that nobody was swimming.  Although the ocean is warming, it’s still only about 10 degrees C (50F):  too cold for most people.  Lots of folks were walking, playing volleyball, building sandcastles or simply hanging out in the sand. Even Hasidic Jewish girls were taking off their shoes and treading the sand in their heavily-stockinged feet.

Up to that time, the wind had been blowing at or beside me.  That meant, of course, I’d have the wind at my back for a  good part of the ride home.  Even with all of its cracks and potholes, the ride up the Ocean Parkway bridle path  and past Prospect Park and the Williamsburg waterfront went quickly.  

So…I had two great days and two great rides on two great bikes.  I could hardly ask for more.

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