So, naturally, I decided to go for a bike ride. I hadn't been riding in quite some time and I was damned if I was going to let a little thing like being destitute of energy stop me from hopping on the old yeller and feeling the wind go up my nose.
Since I finally had some time to myself I decided to go check out how far downtown the riverside bikepath goes. I headed down at about 96th street (approx 1 mile from my house) and started going down. The first mile or two sucked. I was stuck on a "shared walkway" where you can't go faster than 10mph and behind this cute girl on a bike and her rollerblading boyfriend who I couldn't pass because of the speed reduction. I did enjoy the scenery and the way the water laped at the piers as I passed them but I don't like being on my bike and restrained. If I wanted to be restrained I'd hit the exercycle where I don't even have to put on pants. I figure that if I went through the trouble of putting on the pants the least that the world could do would be to provide me with somewhere to cut loose all my frustrations and pedal until my legs ache.
Around 60-somethingth street I got that chance because the "shared pathway" ended and I cut around redpanties girl (her baggy windbreaker style pants kept slipping and I was stuck behind her so I had to watch in case she braked suddenly as happened several times) and rollerboy and I was FREE. FREEEE!!! I sped through the first few curves of the bike path so fast that I had to lean into the turns to avoid crashing into the walls.
The next few miles were defined by all the fucking stoplights which turned what would have been a nice ride into a frustratingly slow staccato experience. There were other bikers, both passing and being passed by me, but that wasn't a big deal. It was all the crossings that required stopping at.
The path seemed endless at that point. It took me down far past 11th street where I thought it would end and deep into the named streets that make up the old town of manhattan. Eventually the bike path melted into a park and I started riding slowly again to avoid all the pedestrains and what not who were walking around. This was perhaps the most beauitful part of the ride, a park manicured and maintained for the wall-street crowd on their lunch breaks and the downtown livin' rich fucks for when they want to stroll over to the water and look out at New Jersey. Not like the filthy cracked concrete area that we call a park up by me, where Columbia's the only pocket of white in a sea of tan and brown that nobody really cares about.
By the time I wound my way through the parks, ending up in Battery Park, which is at the very tip of the island, it was about 9:15 PM and I had been riding for an hour and fifteen minutes. As I turned around to go back I realized two things. One was that I had to be back home at 10:00 to catch "The Wire" an HBO show that's pretty damned decent. The other was that there's no bike riding in Battery Park (A helpful sign aided me in realizing the second fact). I followed the park back, riding in the street, until I got away from Battery Park and into one that allows bike. Then I mashed the pedals pretty hard, stopping only when I saw a trooper ticketing a bike rider for not having a light (I didn't have a light either, so I hopped off my bike, walked quietly around them, then jumped back on and mashed it as soon as I was out of sight). When I finally got out of the parks area and back on to the bikepath I really put my legs into it and pushed up the speed. I had basically coasted all the way down so I had plenty of energy left and I sped back up at about 1.5 times the speed I had had coming down. This time nobody passed me, although I did get stuck behind one more rollerblader who was going at a decent clip in an area where there was too much traffic for me to pass him. When we got out of that area though I sped up and went around him, then stayed accelerated for a mile or so to make some distance between us.
The next stretch was pretty uneventfull and nice, cruising along at a decent speed on a nearly empty path. That is until the path went under an overpass and I realized that I was riding in New York at night in the dark alone on $600 worth of bike equipment (that counts a lot of random stuff added to the bike, not just the cycle itself.) I got a tad nervous and picked up the pace.
Things seemed to get better from there. I found a way around the whole "shared path" area so I was able to get some speed up over that area. I zipped from 72nd to 96th street in a couple minutes and started up the hill. Unfortunatly I was stomping too hard on my way up and I threw my chain at the top. I couldn't put it back on there in the dark so I had to walk the bike home. On the way I passed a bunch of thuggy guys acting like Hoodlums, but while I heard one of them say "Yo, make that guy give me his bike" none of them tried anything. Maybe they thought the bike was broken and useless or something.
Anyway even walking the last mile I got home in time for my show, which means I made good time up from the tip of the island. It was pretty fun, exploring the new millenium park and seeing some parts of New York that I'm not really that familiar with. I'll probably do it again sometime.
A few interesting things I noted:
People cannot stay in the right lanes. I mean there's a walking lane and a biking/rollerblading line...it isn't HARD morons. I don't understand why joggers can't stay in their lanes, especially the women joggers who are the worst offenders...but some guys do it too.
There wre a lot of couples in love and I found myself a bit jealous. Not of the emotions but of the tate of mind it takes to actually be in love. The faith in the future and belief in your fellow man that it takes. I want that kind of naivitae. It won't happen though.
It's interesting the side of New York you never see in movies or on TV. It's like if they are going to make a movie or TV show about New York they are only going to show the gritty or super-high stakes business world. There are, however, places in New York more reminiscent of Boston or another city and they deserve notice too. It's possible to feel peaceful and serene in the most important city in the world and the Hudson River is actually quite beautiful.
I went biking again today but could only do 13 or so miles because my legs were dead from yesterday. My bike is in the shop now getting the gears readjusted (the fact that I threw a chain shows that it's past time for that) so I am going to be bikeless and cranky for awhile.
I really need that yellow chunk of fun to relieve my stress.