23 October 2016

The Ride I Missed, And The One I Did

I should know better than to make plans to go on a big organized ride.

I kinda sorta promised someone else I would go on the Tour de Bronx.  We hadn't made plans to meet up, but I told this person I was going on the ride.  

A few years ago, I did TdB and enjoyed it.  Other riders remarked about some of the places the Tour visited:  the Maritime Academy, the waterfall, parks full of cliffs, the Riverdale streets that look more like they belong in Princeton than in the Bronx--or the Bronx that many people envision, anyway.  And the hills.  More than one rider expressed surprise that there were so many--and that there was so much of interest to see in the borough.

Today, though, I woke up later than I planned.  And a semi-emergency came up.  As a result, I got on the road about three hours later than I'd planned.  Worst of all, I rode to the starting point of previous Tours de Bronx, near Yankee Stadium--forgetting that this year's starting point was near the Botanical Gardens, about five kilometers away.

Now you know why I never pre-register--or, most important, pay the registration fee in advance--for such rides!

So, instead, I took my own ride into the upper reaches of the Bronx and Westchester County.  How could I not?  The wind, which blew steadily at about 30 KPH and gusted to 60, was somewhat softened, for me anyway, by the clear skies, sunshine and foliage:

I took Vera, for no particular reason.  Actually, I think I knew, deep down, that this day's colors would become her:

Everything seemed to be dressed in such colors today, even the park benches:

Those were found in Fordham Park, next to the namesake university.  The foliage graced a park in Scarsdale, though such colors were everywhere.  

Interestingly, the most traffic-free part of my ride came after I crossed the Randall's Island Connector to the southern tip of the Bronx. There, the factories were idle and warehouses closed, so there were no trucks plying Walnut and Oak Avenues, or the numbered streets in the 130s and 140s.  There wasn't even much traffic entering or exiting the Bruckner Expressway.  

On the other hand, I encountered surprising numbers of cars and SUVs along some of the tree- and mansion-lined streets of Scarsdale, Tuckahoe and the western section of New Rochelle.  I guess a lot of people decided today was a perfect day for a Sunday ride.  Thankfully, I didn't encounter any hostile drivers.

Perhaps this man talked to them:

Until a year or so ago, the sign for this street--in the South Bronx--didn't have a tilde (squiggle) over the "n" or an accent on the "e".  So, people who don't speak Spanish referred to the street as "Louie 9".  It reminds me of the Montreal Metro station and Boulevard named Pie (with an accent grave on the "e") IX, for the longest-reigning Pope in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Anglophones in the city often call it, with amusement, "Pie Nine".  

For the record, Louis Nine served 13 years in the New York State Assembly and is remembered for his battles--sometimes victorious, sometimes not--to obtain housing for low-and middle-income families and families with handicapped children, as well as employment opportunities for young people and members of minority groups.  

I saw Louie 9 near the beginning and end of my ride--and the fall colors in between.  Maybe next year I'll do the Tour de Bronx again.

Note:  Once again, I apologize for the quality of these images. I took them with my cell phone, and could not prevent the glare you see in some of them.  

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