Where once just the joy of taking to two wheels was enough, this year I am more ambitious – and I'm suffering as a result. I’ve paid my Winter dues, I’ve recovered from an injury – now I just want to ride.
But the City has other plans. Because guess what? It’s Pothole Season. Yep, it’s that time of year when we get to find out what was under all of that snow (besides what the dogs deposited). And it’s not pretty. Like a murder of crows or a clowder of cats, there should be a name for potholes when they appear in clumps like this. A buzzkill of potholes, perhaps?
The City has crews out to fix them (we are told), but it seems an impossible task. They’re everywhere. Certainly in Chelsea, where the only choice is often right down the center of the street.
Then, just when I’m at my wit’s end with all this nonsense, comes a calendar reminder of an upcoming event that promises to celebrate bikes, and the people who love them: the annual Blessing Of The Bikes at The Cathedral Of St. John The Divine.
Lola and I will be at The Cathedral (bringing back blessings for Lucille and Janet) before heading over to the Bike Expo where, after ogling every kind of bike accessory and new fangled gimmick on display (we’re sitting ducks for this and the exhibitors know it), we’ll be picking up our passes for the 5 Boro Bike Tour. Yes, we’re doing it!
Potholes and tourists, trucks and manholes – nothing will dim our spirits on this day. Cause this is a day that is totally about bikes – 32,000 of ‘em – and we’ll ride in all five boroughs.
I’m expecting a madhouse. I’m expecting the unexpected – and I’ll surely get it. But I’ll be riding with a team and for one day, it will be the turn of motorists to know what it’s like to be marginalized and unloved. For one day, all the roads we travel will be free of cars. Though I’ve no illusion about the anarchic temperament of most cyclists – truly we have the potential to pose a whole other set of dangers to each other - I’ve never experienced an all-bike course before. What a concept!
The following Monday, we cyclists will return to our unloved status (and some of us will deserve that, I’m afraid). Manholes in the bike lanes will once again annoy us. Potholes mixed with traffic will endanger our rides and exert their nasty buzzkill. But we are 32,000 cyclists strong and growing. What if NYC were to become truly bike friendly? With paths and lanes that were maintained on an equal footing with that of cars? What if we didn’t have to fend for ourselves in traffic? What if riding a bicycle were considered just a normal way to get around most of the year, rather than a potential health hazard? What if…?
Well, we’re not there yet. But hopefully we're getting there. And a girl can dream.