We were going the right way — north out of town — this morning as bike and car commuters headed south for town.
I stood on the sidewalk outside our hotel this morning and watched the flow of people: Monday morning, back to school and work. Savor this, I reminded myself, because we were just off for a bike ride. No meetings, no agendas, no deadlines.
Well, we actually did have some meetings. First, the treat of breakfast with Lou Rubin, a marketing consultant. He wrote to us because he lives in Manhattan and bikes every day and wanted to ride with us out of the city. We rode on up the Hudson River Greenway, past the George Washington Bridge, and turned East to the Bronx.
We soon met up with Jeff Behm, a member of the Greenway’s New York committee. A retired transportation professional, Jeff often leads tours for the Greenway. Our friend Silvia volunteered Jeff to lead us out of the city, which was brilliant. Jeff kept us on the Greenway except for a few smart shortcuts and such.
Dee, Jeff, Lou and I outside the clubhouse at the Van Cortland Park golf course.
Jeff pointing out how close we are to Route 95
The amazing thing about the morning’s ride was finding ourselves in so many places that we had only seen from a car and the highway, passing through on the way to and from New England. Interstate 95, the Merritt Parkway and more familiar roads were mere feet from us as we rode on a network of greenways.
We had another meeting on our agenda at about 32 miles, after saying goodbye to Lou 10 miles back. At Kneaded Bread in Port Chester, we had two reunions. Dee’s friend Noone, who she met during a year of teaching in Armenia 30 years ago and hadn’t seen in about 10 years, picked the spot to meet near her work. And I got to see Jodi, a friend from Echo Hill Camp on the Chesapeake. We haven’t seen each other since we were 15, but we’ve been in touch a tiny bit on Facebook.
“You look exactly the same!” Jodi greeted me outside the restaurant. It was the kindest thing she could say — it’s been 43 years! And she looks fabulous, a more glamorous version of the friend I remember in alligator shirts and painters pants. (Remember painters pants??)
Noone and Dee, Jodi and Lisa: two quick, fun reunions.
iWe educated Jodi about Greenway signs, a first step to getting her back on her bike after a long hiatus
We crossed into Connecticut unceremoniously a block from our lunch stop. State #11. The rest of our ride to Stamford was easy, another 15 miles of crossing back and forth over I-95 and through small towns. We could smell saltwater, a sweet and familiar smell. That coupled with the cooler air, like a pretty late September day, reinforced our sense of having arrived in New England after all these weeks. It’s Dee’s home region and where I lived in my 20s, so things are starting to feel more familiar.
Transitions abounded again today. We were on a protected, leafy path for a bit and emerged suddenly into a well-to-do neighborhood — welcome to Westchester County. We rode through green, manicured towns like Greenwich and then suddenly hit gritty roads full of potholes.
Thanks again, Jeff and Lou!
We are staying tonight with Jerry Silber, a Greenway volunteer, and his wife, Bracha. (Thank you, Rob Dexter, for connecting us.) Jerry retired four years ago from Citibank. We met him this afternoon as he was beginning to assemble massive shelving from Costco for his garage. Dee and I offered a little supervision of the project as we headed out for dinner. He and Bracha were still working on the shelves when we got back. Ah, home projects! Another fine reminder of how carefree our time is. There will be plenty of time for projects when we get home, no doubt.
Jerry and Bracha, top-shelf hosts