Friday, May 14, 2010

Biketour Recap...finally!

I am SOOO overdue with this post! I feel like I created a cliffhanger from the last post, setting up the adventurous New York City Biketour, and then … nothing!

In short, it was an incredible experience, and one that we’re all planning to do again. Things went off without a hitch: no bike equipment failure, no subway glitches with the bikes in getting to the start line, and no bodily injury!

Aaron (Cara’s husband), Phillip (Kirby’s boyfriend) and I awoke at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday to get our gear together and ride the subway from Brooklyn (we all stayed in Kirby’s apartment) into Manhattan. We exited the subway at City Hall Station, rode our bikes south about a mile (with Manhattan traffic, but at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, it was light, and very fun) to near Battery Park, then followed signs north (riding past Ground Zero) to the start line, which for us was the intersection of Church and Chambers. We then waited for about an hour, and we were off.

When I am looking out over my Cannondale handle bars I'm usually seeing Ohio's Miami River, the Little Miami Bike Trail, and corn rows—straight corn rows in fact. This is all great scenery, but it’s not NYC. There is something surreal about seeing these same Cannondale handle bars in front of Radio City Music Hall, the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, the UN Building---and all without traffic. We also rode within a block of Times Square. The failed bomb attempt was the night before. It did not faze us 32,000 bike riders.

I certainly had some heavy, teary moments. It was an event Dane and I had talked about doing together, so it was impossible to avoid thinking about how much fun we would have had on this ride---scenery to observe, things to make fun of (gobs of bike helmet decorations), things to say “wow” to. There would have been lots of “helmet hugs,” which is either one of us saying to the other “give me some helmet” and then giving each other a gentle helmet bump.

Phillip rode Dane’s bike. At the end of the trip he commented “Dana was definitely with me,” noting how he has no idea how he was able to finish the 42-mile ride (and the uphill Verrazano Bridge at the end, the bridge that’s the start of the NYC Marathon, and the longest suspension bridge in the U.S., yes, even longer than the Golden Gate Bridge) without help since he had had no chance to do any training.

I had a great time with the buzzins (“beloved cousins”), Cara and Kirby. Lots of reminiscing. Lots of “Dane would have loved this” comments. On Saturday, we were joined by cousin-in-law Monica, the wife of Dane’s cousin Web who had passed away suddenly near last Memorial Day weekend. Monica lives nearby in New Jersey. It was great to see her, and to commiserate with each other on common pain. While we were all having a joyous dinner (carbing up for the ride the next day), we couldn’t help but think that Web and Dana were having some cousin party time of their own, and thinking “Monica, Barry and the Buzzins’ think they’re having fun now? Just wait! They have no idea!!”

I leave you with a few more pix from the event. You can see more by clicking the Shutterfly link on this blog page.

Riding toward the fire,