Friday, February 27, 2015

Choice or No Choice

I choose to do this.  Ride day after day, rain, snow or shine.  Preferably warm and dry.  Tired of automobile enslavement.  Pay for it, pay to drive it, pay to insure it, pay to keep it running.  Financial blackhole.  Then what happens when it breaks down far away from home?  More money.  Bicycling is much more affordable.  And when the bike breaks I ride another one.  Or make that phone car.  It is never a $500 to $1000+ instant loss.  Even if stolen I have back up.

So yesterday I finally had the opportunity to put on a pair of Wayfarers and ride home when it was sunny for a change.  Getting caught in the beauty of the fresh snow adorning the trail and lost in thought about dinner and the weekend, appreciating that Clive partially cleared the Greenbelt and that what was not clear was rideable anyway.

Rolling over the now buried ice trap that greets trail users just before the bridge after the 86th St underpass and Witner Group I spotted a familiar cyclist. He was the first person I saw on the trail.  By the looks at him he had no choice.  He rides one of those Sting rays that looks like a chopper.  Fat 20" rear tire, stretched out fork with a smaller tire on front.  A novelty bike.  Yet it was 8F outside with about 2" of snow, drifting snow, on the trail.

I was amazed that he attempted it.  Said he was fine except for freezing fingers and the occasional drift.  I never did see his hands.  At first I thought he stopped for a smoke or a piss break.  Hands in his pocket.  I wanted to give him my gloves but I needed them.  And would need them again aproximately 12 hours later.

He said that he rode yesterday in the snow storm.  Left at 3 to get to work at Denny's.  Riding a bike that sits as low as a recumbent, lower than many 'bents, into the freezing snow.  White out conditions.  To a shitty job.  On a shitty bike.  I could almost see the sense of it, however.  Perhaps the rear wheel floats over the snow like on a fatbike.  No tread, just snipes for faux water redirection.  The front wheel a mere plow or ski runner.  Then again that bike had to be incredibly slow.  Maybe on a snowy trail it works as long as the snow dos not drift over the hubs.  And the more I thought about it the more I realized that it was his prized possession.  He does not have another bike or a functioning car, perhaps even a place to call home.  That or the huge iPhone in his pocket with earphones running up his cotton jacket.

Needing to move on I left him on the bridge.  I wonder if he made it.  This far into winter he will likely survive.  Does what he needs to do to live.  Another choice.

1 comment: