Leaving New York on a Friday Afternoon

Well I did it again. In my desire to get in just one more ride at home in California, I shipped my bike a day late, which of course meant it arrived over a day late in New York.

Sounds kind of minor, but it meant that instead of leaving New York City late on a Thursday morning, we ended up biking away from the REI store in Manhattan at 1 pm on

Mike on the Williamsburg Bridge

a Friday afternoon. We then stopped at my daughter Jennifer’s house to load up our gear, and then rode through the heart of Brooklyn and Queens between 4 and 6 pm that same Friday afternoon. The only way I can describe what we did is with a football analogy. On a “broken play” circumstances prevent the preplanned offensive maneuver, and predictably everyone is scrambling unscripted, all over the field. The guy with the ball is totally on his own, and is doing a lot of  “open field” running. Back and forth, sideways, whatever it takes to evade the enemy. That’s how we left the city.

Metropolitan Ave in Brooklyn is not a big street. It is sometimes one lane each way with a row of parked cars, and sometimes two lanes each way with a row of parked cars, but regardless the configuration, always narrow. And replete with two lovable New York traits: double parkers, sometimes several per block, and aggressive bus drivers. What all that meant to Mike and I was that we were sometimes on the side of the road, sometimes on the sidewalks (even where no sidewalks existed), sometimes in the middle of the road going around double parkers, and sometimes in between busses lined up at a bus stop. It was a Friday rush hour after all, and I’m glad it’s over.

Once we exited New York city, it became anti-climatic. We were on the wide highways of Long Island, and although the traffic moved much faster, there was plenty of room for everybody. But then, and only then, did we realize that we encountering a third New York icon: summer heat and humidity. The forecasters had predicted near 90 degrees, and I’m sure it was every bit of that. And a sky of LPF’s (little puffy “fellows”) in my vernacular, which of course means lots of moisture in the air. We were sweating buckets, but somehow during our focus of staying out of harms way in the city, we never realized it.

To be continued.

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