About a month ago, I bought a bike.
It’s been more than two years since I’ve been able to run. Every time I even thought about running (say, I went for a 4 or 5-mile walk) my plantar fasciitis would gently flare up, chiding me, Nuh-uh uh!
So, it became more sad than easy to not be active, which is why I bought the bike. That, and back in January I signed up to ride the 5 Boro Bike Tour as part of Team Fox, once again raising money for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Reasearch. (Love you, Dan.)
Here’s another story: I bike-commuted to work a week ago, from Woodside to Midtown, and I did not die.
One more story: I rode 20 miles in the Poconos, along curvy hilly roads, and again: I did not die.
In addition to not dying, I had fun. These are encouraging results from my first forays into this new activity I’m pretty sure I’m adopting. Pardon the non-committal attitude; as recently as last night I referred to my role in the 5 Boro Bike Tour as a “charity runner.” Clearly, I’m still adapting to The New TK.
I am sitting on cushion. That feels nice. Did I mention the tour was 40 miles? Also, it was really, really windy. That dampened the fun, especially as we were trying to pedal up and over the Verranzano Bridge. Thank god for gears!
If any cyclists are reading this, you will now commence snorting: I have no spare tires or tubes. I have no watter bottle. I had to crowd source my outfit because I had no idea what to wear over my cycling kit. I figured it would all work out OK. (It did.)
The best part of the ride hands-down was riding over the Queensboro Bridge. We rode on the upper level, in lanes that usually go east-west, but we were riding west-east. It’s actually my favorite east-west approach; you enter through a little secret entrance on 21st Street in Long Island City, and it affords sweeping views of the bridge itself, the iconic Silvercup Studios sign, and of course Midtown Manhattan as it circles up, up, up. I love when Motorcycle Man takes me into Manhattan on his Honda V Star that way, it’s exhilirating. It was equally so to pedal myself along the same route, but in reverse. I could not stop hooting and hollering. welcoming all the other cyclists to Queens, the best boro! I greeted Emma and Chrissy, I thanked God, I marveled, I made sure everyone around me knew precisly how fucking awesome that bridge crossing was.
Here are some pictures.
Once we landed in Queens and cruised north up 21st Street, I was totally pumped. Never have I been so excited to pass the Queensbridge projects, or my Pep Boys service station. I was all puffed up with pride for my boro. We crossed beneath the Triboro Bridge and the Hellgate Bridge, and once we left Astoria Park (the first rest staion), we got to ride beneath my bridge! Seriously, I was in heaven.
The ride through Brooklyn to Staten Island was cool, as it followed routes I used to run along, so the roads were familiar. Rather than feel sad I wasn’t running, I was enjoying the adventure of rolling along, carried along by pedal power! Parts of this course mimicked races I’ve run; notably, the NYC Half-Marathon, and the Staten Island Half-Marathon. Those stretches brought back happy memories. I recognized the terrain, and spent time remembering the details of those races as I pedaled along.
Also cool: riding on the FDR Drive, and the BQE, with absolutely NO CAR TRAFFIC! After my hair-raising round-trip bike commute last Monday, having the city streets just for our biking selves was pretty righteous.
I took some time, as we all struggled up the Verranzano bridge, battling wind and slope, to think of Dan, and all the friends I know who have lost someone to Parkinson’s. I am so grateful that I have a healthy body, and that I have family and friends who are so generous in their support of this cause that’s important to me.
I’m pretty sure I’ll go for another bike ride soon. Once my tushy stops throbbing.