There’s No Such Thing As A Free Herb

We all know what happened 20 years ago last Saturday. However, not everybody knows that just two months later, Flight 587 crashed in the Rockaways, killing all 260 people on board. Here is the memorial, where I happened to find myself this past weekend:

As fraught as things sometimes seem these days, for a time back then it felt as though the sky could deliver yet another horrific conflagration at any moment. While the Internet may leave you feeling afraid, disquieted, or downright enraged on a daily basis, the fact is we’re all incredibly fortunate to be here 20 years later, in the time and place that we are–unless of course you happen to be in a porta-potty at a charity ride on a hot day, which I wouldn’t wish on anybody.

One thing I would wish upon everybody is the joy of Rivendell ownership:

I love my titanium Fred sled, and in fact it was the first one I rode upon my return after two solid weeks of Jones-ing. However, it wasn’t until I got back on the Homer that I really felt at home, and I realize now that my default “road bike” is no longer a road bike but this sumptuous upright lugged fop chariot with flat pedals and swept-back bars. So I pedaled it happily for several days in a row, though I admit after awhile I did feel inclined to start leaning forward again, and so I switched to the RockCombo:

Astride this, I loped across the roads, paths, and trails of the bucolic suburbs north of the city, and along the Old Croton Aqueduct in the well-heeled village of Irvington I came across this tableau:

While I appreciated the sentiment, I deeply resented the condition that I sauté green beans with it. What business is it of theirs what I do with the basil?!? Being the iconoclast I am I rode off outraged and left the fragrant herb behind, though shortly after I came across this greenmarket and realized I could have sold it as locally grown and sustainably harvested and made myself a tidy profit:

I continued on dejectedly, bereft of both money and basil. At this point the trail was thick with the local denizens toting their greenmarket purchases in reusable bags, and so I rode slowly and mindfully, gently ringing my trigger bell every so often to alert them to my presence:

At one point I passed a woman who said conspicuously to her young daughter, presumably for my benefit:

“Did you hear that? Somebody finally used their bell!”

I resented the backhanded compliment almost as much as the offer of free basil, yet at the same time I sympathized because this trail is increasingly popular with Gravel Goobers from the city in search of dirt and I’m sure these yoga-panted perambulators are getting sick of dodging all the flared crabon bars and handlebar bags. Indeed, as I swished the woman’s words around in my brain like a wine I wasn’t sure if I liked or disliked, one such Goober came whooshing by, slaloming his way through the populace, which ultimately helped the comment go down a little easier. All of this is by way of saying I’ve finally become an old fussbudget who rides around on a Rivendell wrinkling his nose at anybody who’s faster than me, which is pretty much everybody.

20 years sure goes by quickly, doesn’t it?

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