Thursday, March 31, 2011

Riding An Old Bike To The Ferry On Time

The bike known now as Purple Haze, the commuter bike, was first pulled out of the garage one bitter cold morning earlier this year.

A mountain bike purchased on a whim a dozen years ago, it had been ridden only a few miles in all that time. The 21-speed gearing system shifted well, but the bike felt  uncomfortable. The handlebar was too far forward and the seat either too low or too high.
 
And yet, in the bleak winter light, the tires still held enough air to carry a rider. The paint was intact, the components free of rust.

The bike appeared ready to fulfill its new mission even if its rider wasn’t.

Queasiness, from skipping breakfast or panic over what was about to happen, had caused the reluctant cyclist to fling herself flat onto the porch of her house. But only briefly.

Fresh air and fear, of neighbors seeing her prostrate body and being late for work, revived her enough to face what seemed inevitable. Rising gasoline prices coupled with the cyclist's relocation across Long Island Sound to Connecticut were taking too big of a toll on the paycheck. The time had come to commuterate this bike. 

The hastily conceived plan meant a bicycle would be the only wheeled method of private transportation at home, but so be it. New London’s a compact coastal city. The mission could be accomplished.

Wheeling the purple bike into the street, the cyclist pushed off the pavement and swung a leg cowboy style over the bike. So far, so good. The bike started downhill into a frigid headwind that stung her eyes. She tried to feel invigorated.

A couple minutes later, the wind subsided and the ride became surprisingly comfortable. Both the seat and handlebar were not as awkward as remembered. 

The bike crossed the Amtrak railroad track, turned left onto the cobblestones of New London City Pier, and headed across the sandy parking lot to the Cross Sound Ferry terminal.

However long the ride took, maybe 12 or 13 minutes, the commute felt surprisingly shorter than anticipated and that was enough to perk up a reluctant cyclist.

Ferry hands who expressed surprise at seeing a bike in early January understood the economics. They watched the cyclist bungee her ride below deck for the hour and 20-minute trip across Long Island Sound to Orient Point, NY, at the tip of Long Island's North Fork.

Topside with the other 7 am passengers, she opened her laptop and began answering BikemanforU email until the boat docked.

The rider wheeled the bike off the ferry to the lot where her pickup truck was parked, loaded it in back, and began the 45-minute drive to BikemanforU's brick-and-mortar shop in Westhampton Beach.

Mr. Pump sized up the situation soon as he put his hands on the bike. “Tires need air,” he said, and wheeled it into the bike cave.

3 comments:

  1. Good review! Thank you so much for sharing your story and tips . They can be helpful to those who are looking for good bike deals. mountainbikeez

    ReplyDelete
  2. Does every bike appeared ready to fulfill its new mission even if its rider wasn’t?

    Dianne A. Blood

    ReplyDelete
  3. The bike known now as Purple Haze, the commuter bike, was first pulled out of the garage one bitter cold morning earlier this year.Fedrick

    ReplyDelete