Here in the US, the Memorial Day weekend is often seen as the “unofficial beginning of summer.” The weather, and my rides, certainly lived up to that billing.
First, as an aside, I’ll tell you how the holiday came to be the “unofficial beginning of summer. One interesting fact about Memorial Day is that the date on which it’s observed has nothing to do with any battle, the birth of any historic figure or any other historical or mythical event. When the holiday was first designated, it was called Decoration Day (when I was a child, some people still referred to it that way) because people—some of them newly-freed slaves—decorated the graves of Union soldiers who died fighting the Civil War. In those days, there wasn’t a flowers.com or even very many florists. So, people had to pick flowers from their gardens or the woods. And, as the holiday was commemorated only in the northern US, late May was chosen because that’s when flowers are in full bloom in this part of the world.
Anyway, about my rides: They are both trips I've taken many times before. On Saturday, I pedaled up to Greenwich, Connecticut via the Pelham Bay Park trail and back roads and streets in Mamaroneck, Rye and Greenwich. The weather was all but perfect: warm, but not too, with a breeze that seemed to ripple the wisps of clouds in the blue, sunny sky. Yesterday, I rode to Point Lookout on a warmer day, though the temperature dropped a good bit after I crossed the Veterans' Memorial Bridge (how appropriate!) to the Rockaways.
I felt great after both rides. That, to me, is another sign that summer is, if not here, at least close: I am in better shape. But, apart from the roads and views, the rides offered one interesting contrast. My ride to Connecticut reminded me of the ones I took in the early days of the pandemic: I saw hardly a car or SUV, let alone a truck, along the way. I glanced out to the main roads and didn't see much more traffic, and when I passed over the highways (the Cross Bronx Expressway, Hutchinson River Parkway and New York State Thruway), I saw even less traffic than I normally see on a Sunday morning or afternoon. On the other hand, not surprisingly, I saw a lot of vehicular traffic on the roads leading to the beaches and foot traffic along the boardwalks and pedestrian paths.
Today is, in more ways than one, the day after--the beginning of summer, for one thing.