Friday, April 24, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

I live too far from where I work to (realistically) take part next month in National Bike to Work Day, NBWD, on Friday, May 15. If I were being sincere instead of snarky (hey! They both start with ‘s’), I could ride a bicycle to our $22 million Inter-Modal Transportation Center on Hollyhock Island that took a decade to construct and whose existence, purposes and possible applications continues to confound local elected officials. 

From there I could take a bus, eventually, near to where I work. I mean, I really should do that instead of just typing I really should do that. The folks on the hyperlink had me at the artist’s impression of a bike, complete with a “cool bell.” When I was a kid, I rode a bike everywhere-not because we were saving the earth, though that’s a great reason, or to lose weight which in my case would be a wonderful idea, but because everyone had a bike and we rode them everywhere.

It wasn’t unusual on a weekend to have a “bike hike” where Mom packed you a brown bag lunch and a soft drink and you put it in the back mousetrap on your bike (where all winter you’d kept your baseball glove, smeared in neatsfoot oil to build a better pocket (I never knew that’s how it was made, ugh!)) and off you and a swarm of friends would pedal, usually from mid-morning after breakfast coming back at around dinner time.

We had nowhere to be and all the time in the world to get there. There were no cell phones-your mom would stand on the front stoop and call for you. At some point, no matter where you’d pedaled, you heard her or you were grounded for what felt like forever when you did get home. No one screwed that up a second time, if memory serves me correctly.

As we grew older, if not up, we traded Royce Unions and Schwinn’s for Chevy Novas and Dodge Darts-actually, for a chance to drive one of them, usually your folks’ second car because no one went out and got sixteen year-old kids cars, even though it may have been in the Constitution back then, too. At least that seems to be what the kids these days from the high school just across Chelsea Parade, who all drive 60K muscle trucks, think as they travel, usually behind the school bus, to the high school every day. 

In a perfect world we’d have bike paths so cyclists weren’t sharing with either pedestrians and/or motorists, and we’re working towards that without actually getting there, at least yet. Norwich is a good area to pedal your ass, ride your bike because the topography is pretty challenging as you move across the city but the scenery is also very rewarding and a treat you feel like you’ve earned. And it’s a lot easier to take it all in on a bicycle than from behind the wheel of a car.

Based on this news story, I’ve concluded Norwich is NOT Bridgeport and in this case that’s not a bad thing. Most especially if you’re Angel Ramos who would do well to remember to  use your thumb to ring the bell and your middle finger, well, as part of the whole hand to hold on to the handlebars. Tightly, very tightly.
-bill kenny   

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