Flowering Tree Along Chesterfield Avenue Near Crossland

Pink flowering tree against leafless trees and a gray sky.

It has been so windy lately, but on Monday, it wasn’t windy, so when I got a break from my work I headed out on my bike to take advantage of the cool, cloudy, windless weather. At this point in my perimenopausal life, once it gets past 65 degrees I start feeling too hot, so this weather is perfect.

I didn’t have anywhere in particular I wanted to ride, but I knew I wanted to ride ten miles or so, and I didn’t want to have to spend that whole hour dodging cars. I headed east, toward Lake Montebello, taking the long way up and around the Waverly YMCA and back south to Lakeside. If they put a bike lane down the middle of 33rd Street, I’ll take it, but until then my stress level makes the up and down of this jog to the lake totally worth it.

I took a right on Hillen, waited the forever to cross to the Lake, and then rode through the colorful crosswalk put there by Graham Projects. I love living in a city with Graham, and I love this crosswalk, even if I still had to watch a car pull out and around a waiting car to speed by at the yellow light. Drivers are so reckless.

Once I hit the reservoir I turned up the music on my little clippy speaker and just felt my legs spinning around, nodding to the walkers and the runners, getting out of the way of the tiny kiddo scootering along, around and around and around. And then I exited the circle, a vague plan to hit Herring Run Park, but instead I zigged and zagged all the streets of Mayfield. Oh, so that’s where Erdman Avenue is, I though, as I climbed up and then turned around to spin back down. If you don’t drive much and keep your biking to lower-traffic streets, you can completely miss how whole neighborhoods are spatially related to each other. It was a good reminder to shuffle up my riding. There’s still so much of this city I haven’t seen yet. Lucky me.

I ended my ride with a quick zip up and down Chesterfield Avenue, which was packed with after school traffic, not my favorite. I pulled over to snap a picture of this showy tree, giving me the how-you-doin I was certainly not getting from the drivers passing me so closely I could feel their breath. I wish all drivers had to ride a bike in the street with cars for just 15 minutes. I think many of them have no idea what it feels like to get sidled up to like that. I got back to the Lake Montebello as soon as I could, another lap, and then headed home, a quick detour up to the worst bike lane in the city, on 39th. President Street still sucks, but at least there are barriers. 39th Street is basically one giant pothole with occasional piles of loose gravel. The ride was such a relief after a long day sitting and staring at my computer, I barely cared.

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