A Bridge Too Far

Yesterday I rode my Brompton, which gave me an opportunity to consider how bike lanes are taking precious space from motor vehicle traffic:

Of course, the irony is that when I ride my Brompton it’s often because I’m bringing THE CAR THAT THE FASCIST BULLY BOYS AT THE BANK NO LONGER OWN BECAUSE I FINISHED PAYING THEM BACK to the mechanic, and this time was no exception–though before you gloat, please note this was merely a routine oil change and tire rotation. (And no, I don’t change my own oil or rotate my own tires, which is a blemish on my masculinity that no amount of beard could ever hide.)

But as we all know, running errands on your bike doesn’t count:

So this morning I headed out for a “real” ride–and by “real” I mean a ride to nowhere during which I accomplished absolutely nothing. Since I had several hours to spare, I thought maybe I’d head over the Tappan Zee Mario Cuomo Bridge and take in some of the terrain on the west bank of the Hudson. However, there was a wind advisory in effect, and I had a feeling the bike path would be closed. Naturally there was no information as to whether or not the path was open on the bridge’s website, and naturally when I got up there…it was in fact closed:

Now for me this wasn’t a big deal–I was already on my side of the river so it’s not like I was stranded or anything, and I also had no particular destination in mind. But imagine you did need to be somewhere, or you had a specific route in mind, and you had schlepped all the way to the bridge under the naive assumption that you’d be able to ride over it. Either you’d have to figure out the bus, or else take a brief detour to that other bridge that’s a mere eighteen (18) miles away:

It wasn’t even that windy, for chrissakes! “Windy” is when you’re riding along and garbage cans and small children keep flying into your path. If you can ride a Rivendell with two (2) artisanal cotton bags on it (which are basically sails, let’s be honest) without getting blown clear across the road then it’s not even remotely windy enough to close a bike path on a bridge–especially one flanked by barriers that are like 20 feet high, as this one is. But of course the Tappan Zee Mario Cuomo Bridge bike path is an observation deck, not a piece of bicycle infrastructure, and you’re supposed to use it to contemplate the greatness of New York State and pay obeisance to Andrew Cuomo, not actually get anywhere. So as long as you keep that in mind, and also remember it closes the moment there’s any hint of wind or precipitation, you won’t be disappointed.

Anyway, for all the prose I just wasted on it, the closure of the bridge caused me virtually no consternation, as I simply continued to the bucolic roads and trails immediately to the north:

In fact, I even found some new gravel!

It’s a damn good thing I was wearing my gravel shorts:

I shudder to think what might have happened to me had my shorts not been gravel-compatible. Certainly I wouldn’t have dared ride terrain as challenging as this:

Speaking of gravel and mixed terrain, awhile back I mentioned I swapped the Panararacer Gravel Kings on my Rivendell to Schwalbe Marathon Supremes, owing to the fact that I found the Gravel Kings to be a bit too flat-prone on city streets. Well, it’s been–I dunno–six months (?) since I did so, and overall I’m extremely pleased with my choice. While the Schwalbes aren’t quite as grippy or (here comes that word) supple on dirt and gravel, they’re more than adequate for any trail you’d be inclined to ride on a bike like the Homer. They also feel fast on the road, and so far seem to be quite durable–no visible cuts, and no flats so far either, though now that I’ve said that I’m guaranteed to incur a double-flat on my next ride. Oh, and check this out:

That green strip is not some dual-compound thing, that is 100% pollen, and I can assure you my eyes are watering like I’ve been binge-watching rom-coms.

Upon returning to my own neighborhood, I met my wife, and we hitched up the bikes where we could keep an eye on them while we had lunch:

Had someone decided to run off with them I would simply have clung helplessly to the chainlink fence like a zoo monkey watching a kid eating an ice cream cone, but at least I would have known what had happened to them.

Oh, and if you ever need to bring home leftover pizza, just tuck it under your sack:

I regret having typed that last sentence, but not enough to delete it.

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