Thursday, July 07, 2011

Fat commuter on a bicycle . . . another demographic

Sometimes, I did feel discouraged watching all those young legs passing me as I climbed the Williamsburg Bridge this morning on my summer bike commute from an apartment I started subletting in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to the Upper West Side where I am running a pastoral care training program (CPE) this summer. But mostly I felt exhilaration. What a joy to be high above the East River in the sparking sunshine and the cool of the morning. To pass through the still quiet streets of trendy Soho and then the long ride up the Hudson with the George Washington Bridge in the distance.

It was the second time this week that I made the trip of about 11 miles. I think about two one-way trips a week are about all my work schedule and my large, middle-aged body will really allow. But I'm grateful to the Holy Blessed One that I am able to enjoy this activity. Just as I am grateful to the Holy Blessed One for my students this summer and this special opportunity to teach at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and to return to some of my old haunts in
Brooklyn -- I went walking towards the more trendy neighborhoods of Williamsburg last night.

It's both incredible to see the transformation and also to see how much is still the same since my college days when I had a summer job delivering photofinishing, including to Katz Drugs that is still there on Graham Avenue just a few blocks from my new sublet. So many multi-generational Latino families were out on the street with their children. On the one hand, the area where I'm living is quite ugly (a lot of industry) and has a lot of giant public housing projects. On the other hand, sometimes walking through those projects and seeing the families and the
beautiful playgrounds with sprinklers running for the kids to run through in the heat, it looks like a pretty wonderful place for a kid to be able to grow up. In fact, Minna's father was raised in a project just a couple of miles away; I'll have to ask him sometime more about what that experience was like for him.

The New York Times had an interesting article and then some reader letters this week about the struggle to get another demographic -- women -- to embrace bicycle riding. The City has been doing great things to try and make it easier for more people. Incredible!

1 comment:

LBJ said...

Commuting used to be a bit daunting for me, but then I got a Montague folding bike which has been great, since if I'm tired at the end of the day, I can take it on the bus with me, and then ride in again in the morning. I can ride at my own pace, and I feel more confident, since not needing to ride my bike home really takes the pressure off.