Mere words cannot convey the many delights of cycling in and around New York City. Even when supplemented by photographs, any attempts to convey the wondrous nature of these environs as experienced via bicycle falls short, like a crumpled-up Post-it® Note [NYSE: MMM181.53 USD −0.025 (0.014%) today] impotently hurled towards a distant wastepaper basket. Granted, the reason for this is that I don’t make the pictures and words good; nevertheless, as another week comes to an end I sit here agog, slobbering stupidly upon myself as I reflect upon the splendors I’ve experienced.
Consider for example the thrill of approaching Manhattan from the Bronx via the High Bridge, a pointy water tower thingy standing sentinel upon high ground once held by General George Washington and his army of patriots, or something*:
*[Note to intern: look up some cool history shit to put in here.]
Or, should you choose instead to turn tail and flee northward, as the revolutionaries were forced to do, you can vanish into the forbidding Trails Behind The Mall, less than an hour’s leisurely pedaling from the New York City line:
Granted, to fully appreciate the richness of cycling in this region, it helps not to be unduly constrained by traditional employment. Certainly not everybody can scamper off into the woods whenever it suits them–let alone in exquisite hand-drawn clown shoes curated by fellow bike bums:
I’ve noticed that, when wearing these, people addressing me speak more slowly and take greater pains to enunciate, similar to when Kramer wore those jumping shoes:
What I’ve also noticed is that years of clipless pedal use have completely destroyed my ability to handle a bike with flat pedals on challenging terrain, particularly when climbing. On this occasion I rode some of the more technical sections of trail, and when presented with a rocky incline I noticed my feet would immediately creep forward on the pedals, literally putting me back on my heels when most I needed to shift my weight forward. So I’d try to slide my feet back into position, only for the insane shin-gouging set screws to prevent me from doing so–but where were they when my feet were sliding forward in the first place, huh!?!
All of this wold suggest that I should just stick to clipless for “real” mountain biking, but having dedicated my life to relentless self-improvement I’ve concluded that what I really need to do is learn how to ride a bike again.
Fortunately, my clown shoes prevented me from taking any of this too seriously. They also made me feel like I was a character in a video game, which was further enhanced by the presence of giant Nintendo-esque fungi:
The shoes really do go well with mushrooms:
Speaking of mushrooms, I felt like I was on them during my road ride yesterday. There I was on the South County Trailway, a pleasant (if somewhat boring) multi-use path that runs along what was once a railway line. The South County is mostly flat, and it’s paved for its entire length, which is what makes it so boring–though incredibly a section of it has magically turned into Instagram-worthy gravel!
At first I was delighted, but then I began to panic. I was on a road bike! How would I survive?!? So I dismounted, lay face down on the gravel, and crawled along it like they tell you to do when you’re on thin ice. Eventually I reached one of those public work stations, where I hung my bike safely out of reach and called 911:
By the way, not only was there a public work stand, but there was also this dystopian workout cage that looks like something they’d use to torture John Hurt in the movie version of “1984:”
It also has a “screen” that tells you what to do, like some sort of analog Peloton:
As I stood in there, I became overwhelmed by the sensation that I was trapped in a metaphor for life in the 21st century. Just look at that poor figure, ostensibly “exercising” but in fact straining vainly to free itself like a lab rat in the shadow of an approaching hypodermic. Horrifying.
Somehow I found the courage to press on, eventually reaching the bucolic area where, if you squint hard enough, you can pretend you’re in Vermont or something:
I then availed myself of a portable restroom:
And when the door slammed shut I was confronted with this message:
Citing inspiration from grassroots movements such as Occupy, the suffragettes, and the civil rights movement, Extinction Rebellion wants to rally support worldwide around a common sense of urgency to tackle climate breakdown and the ongoing sixth mass extinction. A number of activists in the movement accept arrest and imprisonment, similar to the mass arrest tactics of the Committee of 100 in 1961.
And some of them vandalize porta-potties in Westchester while they’re taking a dump.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m not one of those people who lies awake at night worrying about the fate of the planet. But it’s incredible to consider that there are people who are convinced we’re on the brink of doom, and this is what they’re doing about it…scribbling in pink paint-pen on plastic shit-boxes.
It’s not often you find yourself trapped in two claustrophobia-inducing metaphors in the same day!
On the way back, I stopped for a fending machine snack at the
Tappan Zee Mario Cuomo Bridge landing:
Where I admired the manner in which the fashionably rusted design elements complemented my patinaed head badge:
Then, a little later, I noticed this plaza-in-progress:
Hudson Valley: Land Of Cool History Shit.