Disenfranchising Zen

Memorial Day, 2011–I’ve been going about it all wrong, this riding in the city business. Rushing, competing with pedestrians, with cars, with other cyclists. Trying to make the light, running the light, cursing the oblivious and the reckless. You know, the city can do that to you. Make you harder, more persecutorial (which may be a made up word), more intent on destruction than you really are. What if, rather than compete, I were to seek harmony in my jaunts around town?

This would involve:

  • slowing down,
  • stopping at red lights and mostly waiting for the green unless, I mean, really, NO ONE is coming in either direction,
  • moving with traffic, seeking the spaces between the cars, trucks and buses,
  • stopping even for those complete morons crossing against the light, faces buried in cell phones, and not judging their stupidity or getting angry about it.
So today I was doing that and really enjoying my ride. I was leisurely cruising finding the spaces surrounded by air, letting the traffic flow around me, a pebble in the mechanical stream. I rode busy city streets – 5th Ave., 59th St., Second Ave., 21st St – engulfed in calm.

I came to the Hudson Greenway along the West Side Highway at Chelsea Piers to take in the sights and headed north. I knew it was Fleet Enema Week and that there would be crowds, huge crowds and that I’d have to dismount for a couple of blocks starting at the Intrepid. Rather than loathe this interruption, I looked forward to it. Looked forward to the crush of tourists, enlisted personnel, joggers, amblers, and wide walkers.

A Navy swing band played and people clapped and everyone acknowledged that, hey, sure it’s humid and crowded, but dammit, we’re civilized and having a good time anyway. After just two or three blocks on foot, I resumed my ride, enjoying the breeze, the pure joy of moving. And then this fellow approached with a dog in his basket. I saw them from a distance, with more than enough time to get the shot. I pulled the camera from my pocket and snapped a shot. But there was glare and when I reviewed it, I saw that I had just barely gotten the dog in frame.

I couldn’t just let this go… what if the picture was blurry when I blew it up at home? Do you know how rare a dog in the basket of a male rider is? Sure, you’ll see men running with dogs, occasionally even pulling a dog in a trailer hitched to the seatpost. But never in a basket. Never.

Ignoring oncoming bikes and joggers, and a particularly uppity skater, I u-turned and sped off after the rider. But the lights had changed and buses were entering and exiting the parking lot and I had to stop. I watched a bus go, but the next on hesitated and I jumped through the light. Victory! Next light, red again, and a cop waving cars through. Defeat! A few seconds later, the light changed and off I went. The guy was nowhere in sight and I rode like the old me, weaving, dashing, accelerating around wide walkers with their ridiculous triple-decker strollers, cutting off all those people who had no business being there: everyone!

I got them on the pass:

Heart jack-hammering, I turned around, trying to find that serene feeling. But adrenaline was in my veins and I sped and weaved the rest of the way, letting all those who dared be an obstacle… Also of interest today, a bagpipe band:

…and this fascinating bike:

Catlike Dog Terrorizes Hudson Greenway

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In case that is actually a cat in the basket, for the purposes of these postings, cats are acceptable variations of dogs. As are the following:

  • Penguins and other flightless waterfowl
  • Porcupines, wildebeests and trout
  • Turtles, boa constrictors and rabbits

Standard poodle (I think), keeping pace on the Greenway.

Ladies, you need full leg extension or your going to blow out those knees. Raise that saddle! Rule of thumb: if your thigh is parallel to the ground at the highest point of your stroke, your saddle’s too low.

Come to think of it, this fellow’s saddle’s a bit low too.

On Park Avenue

A young woman chauffeurs a basket-ed pup on the first Summer Saturday of 2010. Lafayette and Park Avenues temporarily turn into a car-free thoroughfare from the Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd St. to Central Park.

Dogs return to baskets on first day of spring

Just missed the rare double-header yesterday – two dogs, one basket. But this one rolled by early this afternoon south of the Boat Basin just north of the old Picklery on the Hudson Greenway. Near the monorail.

New Feature – Dogs on Bikes

When I started this blog in 1936, I sought to create a space where I could post photos of two of life’s greatest features: dogs and bicycles. So for years I posted images of dogs, images of bicycles and everyone once in a blue moon, a photo of dog with a bicycle in the background. In time, the blog grew stale, dare I say dull. The editors of Dogs and Bikes, in an all out pedal-to-the-metal push to stay in existence, came up with this brainchild:

What about dogs on bikes…or at least running along beside them?

And so, after refining this concept on several pints of fine Belgian beer, we present you the first nascent images of dogs on bikes. And I make you this promise. Wherever there’s a dog perched in a bicycle basket, tongue askew, or running alongside one within camera range, I’ll snap that photo and stick it up on this blog for the entire world to see, hopefully improving the lives of many and bringing tears to the eyes of several.

And if I ever find the holy grail of dog/bicycle combo blogs, I promise to hold out for top dollar. I am of course talking about the very rare, never photographed dog pedaling a bicycle.

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