Since it looks like there’s not going to be a racing season this year (even if the racing does start up I don’t know that I’ll be in any kind of physical condition to partake in it) I figured I should give my plastic bike some attention this past weekend:
Riding this bike is the two-wheeled equivalent of dipping into the Halloween candy: it feels really, really good when you’re doing it–decadent even–but afterwards you feel kind of guilty and like you need to get back to the wholesome fare for awhile.
With life all upended as it’s been I’ve been foregoing the longer rides, and instead engaging in what I’d consider “subsistence cycling.” Usually this means heading north on short jaunts and terrorizing the suburbs, but yesterday I instead pointed my Fred Sled east and headed out to City Island:
The last time it was possible to ride across the Bronx with so little motor vehicle traffic was probably 1908. However, it’s hard to derive too much joy from a car-free city given the circumstances, in the same way it’s hard to enjoy a $100 bill if someone throws it at you and then storms out of the room. In both cases you’re like, “Sure, I wanted it, but not like this.” (Also in both cases you use them anyway.)
Then, this morning I returned to the aforementioned wholesome fare and went for an even shorter ride which was packed with a degree of delight wholly disproportionate to its meager length:
Once again I stuck to the Bronx, which is downright bucolic if you know where to look:
The city’s a lot like a shitty linoleum floor, in that if you do a little digging and come at it at the right angle you can catch a glimpse of the beautiful original surface that lies beneath. Of course it does help to have something you can use to pry off those tiles, and to that end there’s no better tool than a bicycle.
Meanwhile, I realize we’re not allowed to imply some people are overreacting to The Virus, but the shaming out there is getting so bad I’m getting nostalgic for the days when the worst thing you could do was ride a bike without wearing a helmet:
In fact, you don’t even need to ride a bike to get shamed now. All you have to do is leave your tiny apartment and go outside on a beautiful day:
So basically he’s in the park, shaming other people for being in the park.
Sounds about right.
There seems to be this collective sense that you can’t enjoy yourself right now, even if you’re doing so in a perfectly responsible way. Instead, you’ve got to be penitent at all times, like this whole pandemic is somehow your fault.
And while I do generally subscribe to the view that Mayor de Blasio is a putz, I simply cannot muster up even the slightest bit of indignation over the fact that he and his wife are taking unmasked walks:
Wake me up when he’s doing hot laps on a TT bike while blowing snot rockets.