Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why I Believe in the Bike

This past Sunday, I took a friend for a ride. This is the first time I've ridden with this person, and the first time she'd ridden a bike that wasn't stationary in years.

I spent some time setting cleaning the chain and setting up the MTB for her (best guessing, but she's not terribly removed from my dimensions). When she arrived, I looked at her cute, though casual garb and thought things might not go well...

We loaded up and headed up the West Side path. I just found the crossover that allows you to continue on the path on through Harlem on my last leisure ride, and there's some great scenery once you get past the bustle (yes, there's now high weekend traffic on the path up to around the 100s), I decided we'd head up until she'd had enough*.

Making a bicycle travelogue is not my intention here, but I will say the view seemed even more pleasurable than last time....this may have had something to do with the threatening wind and clouds we saw up until past midtown.

I remembered to check to see how she was doing a couple times, as she primarily rode behind me. She said she was good, so we kept going. We made it to my previous turn around point where she graciously elected that we continue on the path. It finally terminated in a park north of Fort Tryon.

I think I should interject at this point that we did stop twice on the way up, both at my behest - I will forever pause for fresh cornonthecob. 'Twould be un-chivalrous to speak the reason for the other pause...

We headed back down through the park to take a look at the Cloisters and the Medieval garden. Leaving Ft. Tryon, I asked how she felt about riding in a little traffic (the bane of most who've never been on or've been away from the bike for some time - and it IS NYC). She indicated her willingness as long I didn't get her maimed (or worse), so we headed down Ft. Washington Ave.

Most of that was kindly provided with a bike lane. Again, she was faring pretty well (including dealing with numbskulls on a fairly major intersection trying to turn left), so I forewent switching back to the bike path until we ran into Broadway. THAT, I chose not to subject her to. So we backtracked to a cross street that led us to Riverside Drive. We made our way back down that until switching back to the bike path.

It was close to early evening; the path traffic had cleared out significantly. She was getting her cadence up fast enough to for the bike to feel slow (thus did I interpret her comment about it feeling shaky), so I got into my big gear. Again, she hung with it - though I did sort of hear about it later. Only after I brought it up. In her way of letting me hear about it.

We got down to Tribeca, and I decided it was snack time, so we went to Whole Foods for the cool down. It was here we had a regular vent session, releasing in turn about each others work. I always find these interesting, because I don't think we particularly get what the other is talking about, not all the time anyway - but I'm pretty sure we both know that's not completely the point.

Speaking of the point...

We usually do this anyway, but I have to think there was something about that ride that made things spill a little easier. She relayed somethings that were pretty deep (again, not uncommon for us), but they came forth with an underlying emotion that I'm not quite used to seeing from her. You know how you say something without pre-thinking? It just and how you feel about it come out at the same time?

Yeah, that.

And I think that was due to the ride. And that's what a good ride does to you.

It energizes you,

it flushes you,

it saps you so the only energy you have left is closer to basic need -> none left for hesitance and social form. Polite society crap

"This is what I gotta say and I gotta say that sh!t now"


it falls out of you.

And maybe it wasn't that deep to her...

And, as I'm sure is obvious now, I was heartened quite a bit to so her diligence in it. Granted this is a former runner, but getting out of the physical habit can still be the basis for a shock when you try to jump back in, and she's had much to deal with besides...

And that chile rode a good part of 30 miles...

So, yeah.

I believe in the bike. Come to the altar sometime, maybe you'll become a believer, too.

*(cranky crotch, numb butt, saddle soreness - many names for the #1 premature ender of two-wheel-ed glee)

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