Today was my first experience with cars in the Park. I’m still not really familiar with the hours they are allowed and was a little unnerved to feel them swishing by me. At around 86th(?), there is an entrance from the East Side where not only cars but all kind of other recreational vehicles come plowing in. Close call with a skate boarder. Another place I now know to look out for.
I arrived at our meeting place early and watched with sadness as the carriage horses stood in their own urine awaiting the next ride. I guess other horses have it worse, and hopefully they just kept to the park; but I would want a better life for them.
Once Dove arrived, I demonstrated Lucille’s unique chassis(!) and we were off. As we rode, Dove began talking about why she rode (mostly for transportation). Dove has been a runner for years and always in great shape. She asked me why I was riding.
It’s funny, I never thought about it. I got an exercise bike. A few nights later, I saw Brompton bikes outside a restaurant. The next thing I knew, I bought one for myself and was riding. Certainly not for transportation. If anything, public transportation has become more accessible to me than ever since turning 65 (automatic debit, and half the price for an unlimited card). Not necessarily for exercise – though I find cycling a tremendous improvement over stationary bikes, or any gym exercise for that matter.
I guess it was to have a sense of control over my life, which since January has taken a path of its own. I won’t go into the litany – see the "About" section of this blog – but cycling gave (and gives) me a sense that I can run away without running away; that I can go somewhere under my own steam. That regardless of whatever diagnosis or treatment I am currently facing, it’s one thing I can control.
Dove and I rode north, tackling Fiend’s Hill which I can report is still fiendish(!). This time I took it mostly in 3rd and 4th gears, only downshifting to 2nd for the last “block” or so (these paths don’t really come in blocks). So an improvement – but still a workout!
It was interesting biking with Dove whom I’ve always known as a top flight athlete. As we emerged from the Park, it did not surprise me to see her fearlessly threading her way between cars and buses, as I hung back affirming my Ninny status.
But then as we were about to go our separate ways, she asked to take a spin on Lucille. I set the gears and lowered the seat and sent her off. As she was returning, I saw her eyes had grown wide and there was a smile of uncertainly frozen on her face. Lucille is tippy! Now I just want to say, that I knew Dove when she rode a unicycle and if there’s anyone who could master Lucille it is Dove, given a little bit of time. But I also realized how far I’ve come just in the last 2 weeks of riding her. I may still be a Ninny, but I've mastered Lucille. That's not nothing.