Sunday, August 26, 2007

“I'll never look like Barbie. Barbie doesn't have bruises.”

You have to whine really annoyingly and be wearing torn fishnets when you say this, just like in ‘Sid and Nancy’. Or you could just be me.
I don’t even have a drug habit or doomed affair with a rock star to blame. I just fall over a lot.
This time I didn’t even fall down. I fell up.

I was riding through Van Cortland Park in the Bronx for the first time and like many of my experimental expeditions, I got lost.
Van Cortland Park is huge. At 1,146 acres it is New York City's fourth largest park. It is home to the country's first public golf course, the oldest house in the Bronx, a protected wetland, and the borough's largest freshwater lake. I know this because I passed all of these repeatedly as I tried to find the entrance to the Putnam Trail and my chosen route into Westchester.

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It turns out, most of the trails in Van Cortland Park are not paved. It turns out that now that I’ve looked online, the Putnam Trail is unsuitable for a road bike. I think I’ve mentioned before that the NYC Bicycle Route Map sometimes feels like it was drawn by someone who wants to kill all cyclists, well I don’t want to sound unappreciative, but sometimes they really are out to get you.
Following the NYC bike map, I’ve encountered more closed roads, closed bridge crossings, and listed bike trails that aren’t bikable than I thought possible. It’s really making me want to put together some kind of online clearing house of up to date route information so that we don’t all have to go through this. Hmmm.
Anyway. As I biked in ever more frustrating circles on gravel trails, I finally dropped my chain. I was at the base of a commanding set of steps that lead up to the Van Cortland House Museum and I thought that might be my best bet to find actual pavement and maybe a place to fix my derailleur too, so I hefted my bike up onto my shoulder and started the walk up. About half the way up, I tripped, fell on my bike, and to add insult to injury, punched myself in the nose with my own handlebars.

Some days I just shouldn’t get out of bed.
Am I the only one who can’t ride a bike without bashing some part of myself on something? At this time of year, how bruised are you?

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