First obstacle, I did not fold Lucille correctly before entering the subway – sometimes I get nervous when doing this in public – so she threatened to come apart all during the ride, but held together enough to get to 59th St. The subway ride was interesting as I saw two kids playing a video game of thumb-skill, guaranteed to bring on carpal tunnel or trigger finger before the age of 12. Ah well, the young.
I started my ride at 11:15am. The Park was INSANE, but I had expected that. I also knew only the brave would go the distance, so I did my best to cope until the crowds thinned out, passing carriage horses, joggers and pedicabs filled with tourists. There was the not unexpected gang of homies, going the wrong way and forcing everybody to move over as they made their statement. But somehow all in good spirit.
As for pedestrians, the crosswalks on the weekends in Central Park are a total hazard for pedestrians. Jaywalking is out of the question. When they have the light, they need a brass pair, strong intent and maybe some semaphore flags to cross. It is not for the faint of heart - bikes rule!
As we wound around making towards Fiend’s Hill, the crowed had indeed thinned out. Of those remaining, tourists were stopped in groups, or walking their bikes from the beginning. I found this comforting, as thieves were not likely to make an appearance with so many witnesses.
Meanwhile, we trudged gamely forward hoping to make it this time – and we did!! In fact, I never got lower than 2nd gear, which was kind of a surprise. Because of the way Lucille is built, it doesn’t feel feasible to stand on the pedals. Perhaps that will change with experience; but right now, I really have to depend on leg muscles – not my weight - to propel me forward. It helped to know this hill was coming though, and pacing was key. I hope to improve my time and stamina.
From there, the ride was easy and we passed landmarks etched forever in memory: the Belvedere, the San Remo – and that stretch from 72nd Street to 59th Street which for me will always be colored with the pain of heartbreak, and the wonder of creativity and self-reliance that came together as I walked that stretch in the 90s.
Heartened by today’s success, I decided to ride half-way around the Park again, and cut through the middle. Here, I’m handicapped as I only dare signal on the right, not able to signal left – my balance isn’t there yet. So I just slowed down to make the turn.
In the end, my ride was only 45 minutes – but SO much more interesting than a stationary bike! Felt like 100 adventures, just pedaling by nannies, roller bladders (glad that fad has faded) and – at the end – a band of jogging British Bobbies wearing their signature helmets!
Folded Lucille neatly and because I live between the #1 and C lines, took the C home which was good – the #1 would have meant carrying Lucille down two more flights of stairs. As it was, I carried her down and back up again at 23rd St, without getting any bicycle grease on my pants – what a great design!
We’ll go out again later, for a local ride.