Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Biking in the NYC area

Tomorrow is the NYC Five Boro Bike Tour! I biked over near South Street Seaport to pick up my packet at the bike expo today and am excited to participate in the tour for the first time. I have a hard time imagining 32,000 people biking through the boroughs but it seems like experiencing that is all part of the experience.

I sampled electrolyte drinks, energy treats, and perused gear but only took away this honey energy packet. I also sat through a lesson on changing a flat tire, which was informative. I guess after biking since the age of 4 it makes sense to learn how to change a flat by now.

After the bike expo I took bike paths through lower Manhattan to get to the EMS store on Spring and Broadway. When I veered off the bike path and entered Chinatown some of the streets became so narrow that I barely fit between cars. I had to get off the bike and walk on crowded sidewalks.

It was wonderful, however, to bike the city streets with all the eye candy that Manhattan has to offer especially in Chinatown.

I can’t wait for tomorrow when the streets clear for the cyclists! Weehoo.

 

 

Seneca Creek State Park, Gaithersburg, Maryland

On this weekend’s bike ride I had to pause at a clearing in the woods to admire the natural setting and the open space within an open space. I was out for a ride in Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland before a friend’s wedding.

It was a moment to breathe, reflect, and appreciate the quiet serenity of the woods and parkland.

I was happy to have the time that day to ride quietly surrounded by trees — a contrast from my busy city street riding.

The natural space offered a break from the monotony of cookie-cutter development in the area. The ride offered a break from the monotony of my thoughts.

(The Iphone photos unfortunately don’t capture the full beauty of the park but at least offer a glimpse.) 

Seneca Creek State Park, Maryland

Seneca Creek State Park, Maryland

Old dock on the Hudson River

Old wooden piles stretch out across the river. Remnants of a pattern are visible where solid beams once made for a walkway. The dock is worn and old. It slowly washes away and decays.

You come across many of these old docks on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. They lend their own sense of beauty to the landscape while casting shadows and reminders of a time that once was.

On the other side of these docks, a new beautiful park is going up at Newport. It has trees, walkways, jungle gyms, and even sand and beach chairs. Each day the waterfront park transforms.

Biking through the middle, I have the past on one side of me and the prospect of future on the other.

Hoboken waterfront

A crisp morning on the Hoboken waterfront

This week and last the mornings were chilly. The air was always crisp under a bright, blue sky – a reminder of a winter that never was. Few trees have yet to bloom into purple and green blossoms along the river but one morning I snapped a photo of two naked trees that had yet to shed their winter wear. Biking during the spring season is a constant reminder of change. Everything and everyone changes every second of every day.

Trees sway in the wind

Naked few have yet to bloom

Winter says goodbye

Image

Windy morning on the bike

This morning was brisk, windy, and chilly like some mornings last week on the bike ride to work. The wind knocked me around considerably as I took the path along the waterfront. At some points it slammed against the bike frame and my body sending me into a slow motion pedal. When the wind hit me full force straight on then I was pretty much at a stand still.

Yet when I became aligned with the direction of the wind, it propelled me forward, and then the ride was seamless and flowing and fast.


Today I biked five miles in the rain. I wanted to bike at least 10 miles because I have the goal of reaching 40 miles the last weekend in April before the actual Five Boro bike tour. But the rain and my lack of rain gear kept me at five miles. Once it started to pour, and I felt wet from the tips of my soaked through gloves to the clingy leggings I wore, I knew I had to turn around.

Before it began to pour, when it was just a light drizzle, I stopped to enjoy the haze that had settled over the Hudson River. I took in deep breaths of the smell of rain. I stopped to photograph trees covered in blossoms that seem to have appeared from one day to the next.

I noticed others along the river walkway jogging or just staring out at the NYC skyline. Somehow those people just blended in to the gray as if they had always been there like the tree blossoms.

After suffering through feeling cold and wet I gave in to the rain and felt that I too began to blend in like the others.

Seagulls stared ahead as I biked the last stretch of waterfront path in Jersey City during one of the first warm days in March. Their beaks pointed me in the direction of Hoboken. They squawked and announced the arrival of spring along with the fresh morning air and brilliant sun.

The weather forced me to stop and take notice, to appreciate the seagulls perched on the railing, and to watch the sun glimmering off the Hudson River. If I hadn’t been on my bike, I would have missed the seagulls, the river, and the moment to pause and take in the new season.

For all that I saw that morning from the bike seat, which is more than I take in when zoned out in the car, there was plenty I didn’t see. During a lecture on the Wheel of Life — a Buddhist painting that represents our cyclical existence — Venerable Chunzom describes how we are stuck in a certain perception of the universe and that there are many things around us that we don’t see.

Sometimes I am so stuck in the cyclical nature of my own thoughts that I don’t see what’s in front of me. Getting on the bike, like meditation, bumps me out of the whirlwind of thought and brings me to the present moment.