Takin’ It to the Streets

I’ve done it before, shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just been awhile. That’s all. But the layoff can do things to your mind. I know people who for insane distances, who sport the body hugging ensembles for their 60 mile jaunts. I respect those people. They battle terrific elements in conquering sometimes unforgiving surroundings. I am not one of those people. I’ve been riding a bike casually since I moved into the city, but a combination of age, stupidty and other factors had me off last summer. I don’t go for distance or speed past anybody. I like it for the sake of the fresh air and what not.

But a cool windy day seemed as good as any for the Irish Great Gazoo (check out the helmet) to turn a simple run to the bank into a primer of getting reoriented again to riding into the city, where more car, bus, motorcycle, scooter and pedestrian traffic spends more time staring at their phones then watching out for one another.


Toughest task for an apartment dweller is getting the bike out of the basement. That being done, a little stretch for this short cruise and away we went. Elmwood Ave on a Saturday isn’t jammed with traffic as you get closer to Allentown, but traveling down the incline on Utica into the lake breeze makes you think this will be no problem coming back as you keep an eye for any bumps in the road that could turn the bike seat into a surgical instrument. A turn onto Elmwood heading downtown and I hear Sean Connery‘s voice from the Untouchables in my head: “Everybody’s gotta die of something,” and I hit the actual bike lane. You get reacclimated and it starts to feel good. It’s like the old pool warning “C’mon in, once you get used to it, the traffic’s fine.”

And you remember to keep your wits about you and all’s good. How those folks travel with the ear buds in, I’ll never know. I get down to City Hall for my errand in decent time, take care of business, and because there is part of me who apparently has a little self loathing going on, the new paving job of Niagara Square proves tempting. So, I and a large assortment of cars hit it. A brief moment of “what the hell was I thinking” and I’m 3/4 of the way around the traffic circle of the damned and on Delware headed back to my place.  Remember in the last paragraph where I said the wind would be no big deal on the way back, well, dear reader, in the short time frame that transpired, our lovely Western New York winds shifted a bit. Great! Terrific! Fantabulous!

I take the hill that is Delaware and make it back still able to speak English like it is my mother tongue. So, that will have to settle for today’s big accomplishment.

I have to go back to the site of my errand, by I think I’ll take the car.


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