Today was foggy, actually good weather for cycling. Thought I'd try taking 8th Ave up, although I knew it might be congested. Was surprised to find a designated, green-painted bike lane all the way up! There were guys pushing vending carts in the bike lane - nowhere else to push them - but they were all very respectful. My hunch is they come from countries where bicycles are considered a major, efficient form of transportation. The occasional cabbie turning in front of the bike lane (always watching out for this). Helps to make eye contact, flash a smile and look good in a bike helmet (good luck, guys!). All in all though, found myself stopping every 3 blocks for traffic lights, and the air wasn't all that great. Next time I'll take the subway.
Continued foggy into the Park. Closed to car traffic from 10-3 except for police, Park vehicles and horse carriages - and the occasional entitled cabbie. As I continued the ride, the air got better but the weather got worse; went from misting, to pelting to a driving rain. Lime green pants turned a darker shade, jean jacket soaked. Note to self: pick up water-proof shell. Meanwhile, saw parts of the Park I've never been in, and loved the downhills.
Which of course resulted in eventual uphills (why did I not see this coming?) There's a wicked hill at the top of the Park as you turn to the West Side, and I'm sure experienced bikers have a name for it, something like "Fiend's Hill," I would guess. All the hills are nicely graded, but this one is interminable - you need a LOT of stamina and plenty of people didn't have it. I made it most of the way up, ended up resting for a couple of minutes, then walking about half a block before resuming my ride.
Today, the rain actually offered protection. This is the hill (I'm sure) where thieves lie in wait for the isolated, exhausted biker walking their bike. They easily make off with the bike and any valuables while the biker is left panting and helpless - I've heard these stories. But the rain was so intense today, even the thieves stayed home. Now that I know where this is, I'll stick with the tourists until I can build up my endurance. Or if I see someone hinky, I'll just turn around and head back downhill.
After that, all hills up or down were easy. Made an expert dismount at 59th St (rain still coming down), folded up Lucille and took her into the 8th Ave subway, where she rolled gracefully under the turnstile, thank you very much. Caught a train just coming into the station, so satisfied with myself I didn't even notice I was going in the wrong direction for two stops. Got out at 72nd, crossed the platform and continued down.
Lots of admiring glances, I confess. Not for me - for Lucille. Must check if it's OK to use the seat when she's folded. Could be convenient.
At West 23rd, emerged, unfolded and rode slowly home on the sidewalk. Rude, I know, but once you start biking in NY walking just seems SO SLOW!
5 more days of radiation. Hooray!