29 May 2016

Riding To Trees And Light Ahead Of The Storm

Tomorrow we're supposed to have torrential rains, courtesy Tropical Storm Bonnie, ready to slam into the Carolinas any second now. To me, it's one thing to start a ride with the possiblity of rain, or even in a shower.  But riding in a hurricane or monsoon is beyod the limits of even my insanity!

So, I am happy I embarked on today's ride.  For the first time this year, I pedaled to Connecticut and back.  True to other predictions I heard, I saw very little traffic, even along Boston Road in the Bronx or in downtown New Rochelle or by the state line.  Almost anybody who planned to travel this weekend is already at his or her destination and will probably return tomorrow afternoon and evening.

Aside from the light traffic, today's ride was a delight in other ways.  For one thing, I rode Arielle, my Mercian Audax, again.  (The flat just before the state line on my return trip wasn't her fault!)  And while the temperature reached 33.3C (92F) in downtown Greenwich, the heat didn't feel oppressive until the last few kilometers (out of 125) in the Bronx and Randall's Island.  That may have had as much to do with my relative fatigue (I wasn't drop-dead tired!) as with the weather.

But what I found most enjoyable was the light of this day: the kind one might see, depending on where one is, on the cusp between late spring and early summer.  Thin wisps of clouds dissipated the sun's refulgence to make it reflect the former, but that light was bright and warm enough to signal the arrival of the latter.  I especially noticed that light around the trees by the war memorial in Greenwich.

Those trees reminded me of one of the loveliest coins ever produced in this country.  In the late 1990s, the US Mint inagurated a series of quarters, or twenty-five cent pieces to the rest of the world, commemorating each of the fifty states.  The Connecticut quarter is my favorite:

US Mint Image

Anyway, I noticed something else rather interesting during today's ride.  Quite a few people were riding bikes.  Some were families; others were on social or training rides.  Most of the riders in the latter category were men; most were on road bikes and the rest on mountain bikes.  Fixed-gear bikes were conspicuously absent. 

On the other hand, I saw a few riders on fixies yesterday after I crossed the city/county line into Nassau County on my way to Point Lookout. Not as many as I might see in Williamsburg or even my neighborhood of Astoria, but enough to be noticeable.  One reason might be that the terrain on the South Shore of Queens and Nassau County is completely flat, while there are some hills in Westchester County on the way to Connecticut. Also, the riders seem to be a bit older in Westchester than on Long Island and, at least from my observations, fixie riders are younger than other riders.

Whatever...I had another great ride today.  What else can I ask?


  1. Good to see the venerable fixed gear is still in evidence around your area. I took the kids to a show at Chicago theater Friday night. Since I didn't want to see their nerdy little show I took a long walk down State street. There were many bikes out and I was surprised to see that about every fourth one was fixed. So despite reports to the contrary fixed is alive and well in Chicago. I'm glad the hipster douche phase has passed though. It's tough watching people grind up classic lugged frames for a fad.

  2. Phillip--"I'm glad the hipster douche phase has passed though." Yes, well said. I think it's passing here in New York, even in places like Williamsburg. Yes, there are still a lot around, but it doesn't seem to be as de riguer for hipsters and wannabes.

    I think, though, the fixie fad never really took hold in Westchester County. Some reasons are, as I mentioned, is that it has some hills. Also, it's suburban, which means it never became a haven for hipsters. After all, people don't usually ride fixies when they're riding with their kids or on club rides.

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