It’s hot…so hot the suburban woods I frequent feel like a jungle:
While I may not think the fact it’s hot in July means we’re all doomed, as someone who tends to run hot myself the current conditions do present something of a challenge to me–especially since my schedule doesn’t allow me to ride early at present, so I must do my velocipeding when the flaming yellow orb that sustains us all is high overhead.
I don’t miss much about living in Brooklyn, and overall my quality of life improved significantly when I migrated to the mainland. However, one thing I do miss is proximity to the beach, for as market forces drove me deeper into the borough I got that much closer to the surf, and by the time we’d moved to our final Brooklyn residence Rockaway was a short enough ride away that every so often I’d pedal out there, jump in the ocean, and then pedal back home.
Given the current conditions, with temperatures well into the 80s on the Freedom Degrees™ scale, today I found myself nostalgic for those days once again. But then I heard a voice in my head, and it said, “You live less than ten miles from a beach right now, dumbass.” So I put on my flip-flops and off I went:
A brief word on riding in flip-flops: like most Freds, I’d always dismissed the idea out of hand. (Or out of foot.) But as someone who: A) Runs hot; and II) Is overcompensating for his Wasted Years of Fredness with flat pedals and jorts, I’ve discovered that riding in flop flops not only keeps me noticeably cooler, but there’s little to no downside in terms of performance, especially when you’re not in search of performance anyway, as is the case with me.
The route to the beach from my home is almost all greenway, which means a fair amount of this:
Though the greenway network is cut to ribbons by highway on- and off-ramps and the like:
So for the casual cyclist, instead of the constant state of low stress that regular on-street riding entails, it’s long stretches of no-stress car-free riding interspersed by periods of extreme stress, like when you have to ride right across the cloverleaf for the Hutchinson River Parkway. Basically, in New York City, the stress is unavoidable, it’s just a question of how you want it doled out.
Since I was essentially just fucking off to the beach on a weekday and felt guilty about it, I realized I had to come up with some sort of pretense for this expedition. I mean sure, I was technically fulfilling my contractual obligations to Classic Cycle by riding one of their bikes, but that wasn’t enough. Then I realized I was practically dripping with stuff people have sent me over the last several months, so being the semi-professional bike blogger that I am I could make a Product Round-Up out of it. For example, you’ll note I’ve set the Eye of the Tiger Bike up with a Trigger Bell from Osloh:
Which, in its current position, allows me to flick it easily when riding on the bar tops:
I can assure you I had many opportunities to do so, too.
Moreover, I could also put on my Urbanist Hat (a metaphor, not a product placement) and share some of the smugness innovations that have come to the Bronx. For example, we’re about to get scooter share:
Remember how before everyone thought the health care system was going to collapse from The Pando they thought it was going to collapse from people falling off scooters?
Funny how the common denominator is always CNN.
Citi Bike has also come to the Bronx, and while the stations have yet to reach my neighborhood they’ve come damn close, which makes me feel quite cosmopolitan. Still, this is also where Citi Bikes come to die, and you’ll often find them seemingly abandoned and in various states of déshabillé:
That one was quite unusual as it still has the tires on it.
Anyway, I continued on until I reached Phallus Bridge, which indicates you’re about to enter Pelham Bay Park:
I mean come on, they had to know what they were doing.
Here, the terrain becomes marshy:
The greenway gets some cover, which is a relief on a hot day:
And along the way footpaths created by anglers (or “Fish Freds”) run off to the water’s edge:
Shortly before City Island Bridge is a path that almost looks like it’s made from…dare I say it…gravel:
Good thing I was wearing my [GRATUITOUS PRODUCT PLACEMENT ALERT] Vulpine Gravel Shorts!
I got these about three months ago now, I wear them often, and they’re holding up great–though there is a little bit of discoloration in the seat which I attribute to frequent and prolonged contact with Brooks saddles.
If any case, after roughly five feet of gravel-like terrain, the path takes you by the water:
Through the weeds:
And to the periphery of Orchard Beach:
At this point I should of course mention yet another product, that being the Chrome Doubletrack Handlebar Sling, which has found a more-or-less permanent place on this bike:
And from which I extracted my Tex-lock:
As you can see, I applied the lock quite lazily and in total disregard of my own excellent advice:
Yeah, that’s right, I just plugged a bike lock and a story I wrote. Now that’s how you semi-professionally bike blog.
In addition to being a handlebar bag, the Chrome thingy also has a strap so you can carry it around with you, so I engaged Man Purse Mode:
And stepped out onto the hot sand:
Once there, I found a secluded spot, out of view of the lifeguards and beach-goers:
Then I commenced one final product test, stripping all the way down to my…
Then I dove into the water.
Immediately upon entering, the underthings rolled halfway down my thighs, not being designed for high-velocity head-first acquatic entry. However, once I pulled them back up I was quite comfortable. I had no idea how revealing they’d be once I got out of the water and they were soaked, which is why I’d secluded myself. As it turned out, they weren’t too bad, but let’s just say I wouldn’t have sauntered over to the snack bar like that unless I was looking for some…special attention. Instead, I perched myself on a rock like a seal and let the sun do its thing:
And by “do its thing” I mean both “dry my underpants” and “give me skin cancer.”
As I sat there contemplating what a lucky bastard I was to be basking in the sun in my underwear on a Thursday, some Fixies of the Sea paddled past:
And once I was dry enough I got dressed again and headed home:
Semi-professional bike blogging is hard, but it beats working.