Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hi-yo, Silver!

Bringing my bicycle up to the second floor landing where my downstairs neighbors have generously allowed me to stow it, I'm reminded of Claremont. The stable by Central Park isn't operational anymore, but I was fascinated by it as a horsey child. Though my own rides occurred out on Long Island, Claremont always had a sort of mystique for me, with its winning combination of stealthy location in a townhouse block and glorious horses roaming the park. (Now that I'm older, if not bigger, the stable on Caton Avenue near my current apartment exerts a similar pull; maybe one day I will join the riders in Prospect Park.) Inside the stable, as I recall from pictures, the horses walked up and down ramps to get to their quarters (inhumane ones, according to some, though I am inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt). Slowturning my bike to angle up several sets of stairs, far too narrow for its comfort, I think of these ramps, and spare a moment to acknowledge the occasional difficulties of city life.

But all is not lost. Like the horses, my bike does get to go outside. We circle the loop of Prospect Park alongside the bridle path, gallop half-braked down 9th Street (they call it Park Slope for a reason), ride up and down stately slow Rugby and Argyle, as often as we can. I am going to use this bike to have adventures, I decided while talking to one of my friends; I'm not sure I'm up to riding across mountains and deserts and marathons but we'll see.

Now's a good time to have a bike, since the city is putting down so many lanes. (Home early from work today I walked down new-to-me Clarendon and was heartened to see a pair there, as well as on Bedford--perhaps a Bedford ride is in the works?) As you may know, I am ambivalent about bicycles and the concerns I have about them still stand. I won't defend my purchase here other than to say thank you to my friend R.--. I wouldn't meet her to go biking on Governor's Island a few months back, since I'd forgotten how to ride. I did say I would kayak but, alas, the boat basin had a huge line and R.-- appeared with a pretty blue bicycle in tow and asked if she could teach me. Clad in the helmet she passed to me, I listened to about two words of her instructions...and I was off into the sunset. Man, it feels good to bike again. Like a childhood dream of horses.

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