Bike, Bike, Bike


It was a day to get militant. It was a day to get out. It was a day to bike. It was a day to get out and be militant about biking. I started the day, by cycling in Forest Park. Normal for me, this is my exercise cycling. Later, Anne and I walked over to attended the grand reopening of a neighborhood bike shop, Mesa Cycles, now under new management. It appears to be a Specialized outlet now.

Later still, we hit Immaculate Conception for Trailnet’s annual chili dinner kickoff.

There, we ended up politicking. We dined with the Maplewood mayor and spouse, Barry and Deni. It was delightful. Our longtime friend and cycling enthusiast Sandi joined us. She is running for a seat on Maplewood’s city council. I volunteered to help her on election day. Which means that I only have to pull a twelve-hour day, as opposed to Anne’s fifteen that day. 

Fort Myers Beach

Anne’s Gulf Sunset

We made it to the Gulf Coast in time for sunset. It has been an action packed day. We actually bicycled today. Our first time for 2018. I know that that is pathetic, but it is what it is. We traversed the Florida peninsula, while skimming the top of the Everglades. We ducked down into the park at Shark Valley. The park was open on day two of the government shutdown, but there were no park service employees to be seen. Fortunately, the concessionaire there was up and running. Their store was open and more importantly, their bathrooms were open too. The tram ride was running and they were renting bicycles. We rent two and then it was off to the races. We set a blistering pace on our fat tired, coaster braked beach cruisers. It took us an hour to ride the first mile. Let’s just say that it was a target rich environment. We made the next six in two hours, but we set such a blistering pace that we did the last eight in 45 minutes. That last part may not sound like much, but we had a headwind and it was uphill too. Younger riders complemented us on our passing speed. It was 81 ºF when we finished. 

Skating St. Nick

Skating St. Nick

When I last bicycled in the park, earlier this month. It was a warm windy day. Even with the day’s balmy temperatures, the ice rink was still doing a land-office business. At least the ice wasn’t slushy. This was a travel day. We headed up north to the land of fire and ice, where the cold wind blows. Guess what we found there? Well, we left more of a winter wonderland than we found. we got just an inch or two in Saint Louis and that of wet sticky variety coating every limb and leaf, turning our launch into a trip to a snowy fantasy, but not touching an inch of pavement. But then, neither did any of the wild turkeys, by the side of the highway. Except for the worse leg, through Indianapolis, which Anne drove, I did the rest. I got no support from the backseat late-night crowd, because of too much partying. Still, we made it in regular order, so, I shouldn’t complain too much. Bubs and Harry welcomed us into their home. We’re expecting more snow for Christmas, so let’s make it a merry one for all. I wish you all a Happy Christmas. In the Jane Eyre based play that we just saw every one wished each other a Happy Christmas instead of the more contemporary Merry Christmas. Could this be a middle ground in the war on Christmas? Anyway, I wish you and yours a Happy Holidays.

The Old Guys’ Table

California Condor K6

I went to the hospital this morning, to visit a friend there. I had his room number and found it without too much difficulty. A sign on the door indicated that I should put on a surgical mask before entering, but once masked, I found that his room was empty. I asked about his whereabouts at the nurse’s desk outside his room, but she had no idea where he was. Finally, she suggested that I check out the cafeteria. I found him there, having coffee with a mutual friend. I got a cup too and we had our own version of the old guys’ table.

On all our road trips, we have frequently encountered the phenomenon of the old guys’ table. Be it the local greasy soup or the neighborhood McDonalds, there is usually a table in the back where old men, who are friends, regularly gather to exchange news, views and generally chew the fat. So, that’s what we did. I got to recount my travels this year and shared the above photo. It was a fine time, if not for the unfortunate circumstances that brought us all together.

My friend appeared to be doing well and was already planning his escape. I gathered though that when he was first admitted, he hadn’t been doing quite so well. I was glad to see him feeling much better and so quickly too. As we parted, we all agreed to get together again. Later, I went for a bicycle ride and as I pedaled, I remembered all of the great times that we had had together. 

Cycle Monday

African Daisy

Anne went back to school, taking the car with her and I went to work, making Christmas. I put up all our decorations, both inside and out. The weather today was gorgeous and it looks like it will continue to be unseasonably pleasant and warm for the rest of the week. So, I went for a bicycle ride in Forest Park. Since, I didn’t have the car, I also ran my errands on the bike. I hit the library, post office and grocery store and then got the rest of my miles in.

West Side Greenway

Flatiron Building

In May of 2009 Anne and I were in NYC. We and friends from Saint Louis had traveled to the Big Apple to participate in the five boroughs bicycle ride. Some of our friends had brought their own bikes with them, but we chose to rent instead. We picked up our bikes the day before the ride in Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan. Our hotel was near Times Square, so we cycled from Battery Park up to 44th St. Primarily, we rode on the West Side Greenway, site of yesterday’s terrorist attack. That day, like yesterday, was a beautiful day in New York. The bike path on the greenway is both wide and completely separated from the adjacent roadway. The greenway is separated with raised traffic islands. We felt very safe while riding on that bike path. When we neared 44th, we turned inland and soon ran into congestion and had to dismount and walk the rest of the way back to the hotel.

That was a beautiful day, but unfortunately the next day, the actual day of the ride was a cold and rainy one. It started off dry though and in the early hours of Sunday morning, Anne and I rode south from the hotel to the ride’s starting point, again near Battery Park. At that early hour, there was almost no traffic, so we rode right down Broadway. I remember seeing the Flatiron building for the first time that morning and stopping to photograph it. It looked similar to the above photo. As we continued south more and more other bicyclists joined us, as we all headed towards the ride’s starting point. That ride to the ride was the most enjoyable bicycling experience of the trip, but the previous day’s ride up West Side Greenway was a close second.

Years later, when Anne and I were doing one of the League of Michigan bicycle rides, we met a woman from NYC who was also on the ride. We told her that we had ridden the 5 Boroughs ride and that we still got regular emails from them. Her first comment was, “Unsubscribe!” She later explained that although she regularly rode in the city, she would never ride that ride again. Even without the awful weather that we had, I would have to agree with her. 30,000 bicycle riders is way too many for such a city ride, but if the opportunity ever presented itself again, I would still ride the West Side Greenway again, in a heartbeat.