05 September 2015

Climbing Away From My Fear Of White Plains

Today I took another ride into Connecticut.  I figured--correctly--that I wouldn't encounter heavy traffic even along Boston Post Road, as Route 1 is known in Westchester County.  Most likely, folks from the Nutmeg State already took off for the weekend yesterday, or even the day before.  Also, riding to Connecticut means riding away from most of the beaches in this area, which is where most travelers are going or have gone this weekend, which includes the Monday holiday of Labor Day.

I thought about taking off for some place or another this weekend.  Now I'm glad I didn't:  The ride I took today is more emotionally relaxing and satisfying than just about any trip I could have taken on a crowded train, plane or bus.  Also, Greenwich, Mianus and Byram aren't full of tourists, and the people who stayed in town are relaxed and friendly.

This weekend, I also plan to ride again and meet a friend or two here in the city, which is strangely idyllic.  Perhaps we'll go to a museum or show, or just "do lunch."

But I digress.  I took slightly different routes through the Bronx and lower Westchester County than I had on previous rides.  I also wandered through an area of Greenwich--up a hill--I hadn't seen before.  There are houses built on stretches of land that could serve as game preserves.  ("Deer crossing" signs were everywhere.)  I stopped in a park where I was reminded that this is indeed the unofficial last weekend of summer, and the fall--the actual season as well as the autumn that includes the march of time across people's lives:

All right, I'm making more of this photo than is really there.  The park itself is a well-kept spread of lawn with a single picnic table.  I didn't want or need anything else.

Behind me, this tree stood authoritatively.  It seemed such an indignity for it to share the same ground, from which it's grown for decades (if not centuries) with a fence and a garbage can.

That tree seems like a New England tree:  It belongs where it is. Trees I see in the city, as lovely as they are, so often seem like they are where they are only at the pleasure of some land owner or agency that can evict or "retire" (I've heard the word used in that way) it to make way for something more profitable or convenient.

The ride back took me up and down more hills, past more palatial estates.  Nowhere did I find a sign one normally finds when leaving or entering a state.  I knew I had crossed back into New York State only because of a sign from the local police department--in Rye Brook--asking people to report drivers who text. 

A few miles up the road, I passed through a city I had always avoided: White Plains.  Somehow the name terrified me:  I always imagined folks even paler than I am chasing away....someone like me?  OK, maybe not me, but certainly most of the students I've had.

(For years, New Hampshire was one of two states that didn't observe Martin Luther King Day.  I actually wondered whether it had something to do with having the White Mountains.  Then I realized Arizona, the other state that didn't recognize MLK Day, had no such excuse!)

White Plains was a bit bland, though not terrible.  It has a road--Mamaroneck Road--that actually becomes rather quaint, in spite of the chain stores on it, after it passes under the highway and continues toward the town for which it's named.

The rest of the ride was as pleasant as the warm afternoon with few clouds and little humidity. Even though I pedaled about 140 kilometers, I barely broke a sweat.  But the relatively pleasant surprise of White Plains was balanced by a signal of The End of the World As We Know It:

The South Bronx is becoming SoBro?  Oh, no! 


  1. "Also, Greenwich, Meriden and Byram aren't full of tourists and the people who stayed in town are relaxed and friendly."

    As a native Nutmegger, I think you mean Greenwich, Mianus, and Byram. While there is indeed a Meriden in Connecticut, it is about half-way between New Haven and Hartford on I-91/US 5. (There is a train station there, though!) While you could have ridden up to Meriden on this ride, it would have been a really long ride!

  2. Urban--I meant Mianus. I was thinking of Meriden because, in a couple of weeks, I'm headed up that way (though not on a bike trip). I've corrected the post,