In the days before our once-great society surrendered completely to the World’s Scariest Chest Cold, I’d try to get everything squared away so I could treat myself to a long ride on Friday, and the Jones was my go-to bike for that. Basically I’d use the unpaved Old Croton Aqueduct Trail as the spine, and from there I’d jump off and sample various low-key mountain bike spots along the way. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best riding in the immediate New York City area (which admittedly is kind of like being the best bagel place in the Appalachians), though obviously the calculus changes if you live in downtown Manhattan or one of the Long Island boroughs and have to ride 20 or 30 miles just to get to the dirt. (Why anyone who rides a bike for recreation in New York City persists in living below 181st Street is beyond me…though I admit that right now I’d totally move back to Rockaway and live in a bungalow.)
Now, with everyone at home, I can’t really get out for more than a couple hours at at time, which means I’m riding the Jones less often than I like; the thing’s such a terrain-eater it’s almost a waste to hop on it for such a short amount of time. Still, thanks to the strategic location of my abode, two hours is enough time to pick up the dirt trail and then duck into the Trails Behind The Mall, so is morning that’s just what I did. And as always happens, I spent the whole ride marveling at what a fantastic bike this is.
Having spent the last few weeks riding the vintage mountain bike, and the Rivendell, and the plastic road bike, the handling of the Jones was striking, but in a good way. This is a function of the huge wheels, the long wheelbase, and the rake and trail, which if I recall correctly Jeff Jones adapted from like a Flying Pigeon or something (he explains this in a video on the Jones site somewhere):
The upshot of all this is that you feel like you can ride the Jones absolutely anywhere, all day long. As I’ve mentioned before, it does stop just short of being a full-on mountain bike, but not only can it handle mountain bike trails, but it’s great for riding to the mountain bike trails. So if you’re an omnivorous rider who favors modern components a Jones is the way to go, and I’ll almost certainly be taking it along later this summer for Vacation Part Deux.
Speaking of mountain bikes, on Monday I claimed to have never been part of a “bike-fest bro-down,” and a reader reminded me that this is in fact untrue. Back in 2014, I spoke at the IMBA World Summit in Steamboat Springs, an event that certainly fits the description. Incredibly, people seemed to enjoy my talk, though I attribute that entirely to the altitude, the alcohol, and the legal weed. Anyway, by way of commemorating that momentous event, I wore my official 2014 IMBA World Summit t-shirt on this morning’s ride:
As you can see, between the jorts, the cut-off t-shirt, and the face pelt, I’ve completely surrendered to sartorial entropy. For this reason, I relate to anybody and anything that has seen better days. Consider for example this bicycle repair stand in Yonkers, which I pass on the way to the Trails Behind The Mall:
This repair stand was one of many the city installed along various bike paths and trails. I was thrilled when they materialized, but since then they’ve all disappeared one by one, and as far as I can tell this is the last one standing, its pump handle broken, and its tools rusted to near-uselessness:
I know how it feels.
Another dispiriting sight I’ve been noting on my rides this past week has been school graduations; with everything still closed for the Pando and hygiene theater still the order of the day, proud parents and families must celebrate their children’s accomplishments by decorating their cars, placing congratulatory signs in windows and on lawns, and even participating in drive-in graduations. (I saw one yesterday.) The exuberance behind all this is inspiring, and I want to high-five every kid I see in a cap and gown, but the reasoning behind it all makes me sad. Over the years and decades, high school students all over America have shot each other, stabbed each other, given each other STDs, overdosed on drugs, gotten drunk and crashed their cars, and otherwise lived alongside the specter of death–and through it all the schools remained open. (Frankly, looking back at high school, I can’t believe I’m not dead.) Now here comes this virus that barely even affects them, and not only can’t they go to school, but they’re also denied the graduation ceremonies and proms and everything else that are their due reward for making it through the shit-show that is grade school alive.
Sorry if it makes you uncomfortable, but I’m not on board with the “new normal.”
Finally, I also mentioned yesterday that I’ve become sort of a Pando Driver, which means used cars have been catching my eye. Here’s one sitting on my street as I type this:
Here are the details:
That’s one sweet mullet-mobile. I totally would have driven that in high school.