13 October 2016

No Clear Skies Ahead--Or For The Ride Home

Maybe, even after all of these years, I'm not a real New Yorker after all:  I still enjoy the views when I'm crossing some of this city's bridges.  This morning, as I wheeled across the Queens span of the RFK Memorial/Triborough Bridge, a woman who I thought was out for her morning run stopped mid-span to take photos of the skyline.  I didn't mutter "tourist" or any of the other epithets a jaded resident of the Big Apple might hurl at such a person.  

In fact, I stopped to snap a picture.  But I didn't take one of those photos that includes silhouettes of the UN Towers and the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings.  Instead, I turned my camera (my cell phone, actually--the woman was using a real camera) in the opposite direction:

The Hell Gate Bridge, which carries Amtrak trains to and from New Haven, Providence and Boston, winds through the Bronx and upper Manhattan.  They are to the west (and north) of Astoria, where I live and begin my commute. 

You can see the skies turning gray to the west.  That meant, of course, that the clear skies I was enjoying as I crossed the bridge would, more than likely, move across the river.  And, depending on what time of day I went home, I could contend with rain while crossing the bridge or on the other side.  

Most of the commutes I've done to jobs I've had in the past have taken me along streets in residential, commercial or industrial areas.  I get to sample all three during my current commute.  However, riding to my current job also involves riding over the Queens span of the RFK/Triborough Bridge which, at mid-point, is separated from the East River by about 90 meters (145 feet).  It's a bit like riding in a helicopter:  It allows me views I never had on previous commutes.  It also allows me to see incoming weather in ways I never could before.

I still listen to the weather report before I leave and prepare myself accordingly.  As useful as that is, there's still nothing like seeing a real-time video of the day's conditions unfolding.  The raingear is in my pannier, but literally seeing what's on the horizon prepares me in a unique way for a ride home that could be very different from my ride to work.

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