Last Thursday, Basil and I caught a train to New York City, on our way to participating in the 5 Boro Tour, the largest bicycling event in the USA. On Sunday, we’d be joining 32,000 other riders and cycling through all five New York City boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.
I stuffed nearly a week’s worth of clothing and cycling gear into Basil’s T bag, and we were off. Only a Brompton can carry this amount of stuff with such panache!
Last week’s trip was with Argyll, and I’d missed seeing Basil in the luggage compartment in front of my seat. Our early train was uncrowded, and, this year, unlike last, we saw no other bicycles. Dr. Diarist had a couple of commitments he couldn’t switch, so he and Argyll followed on Friday, on a different train.
Like most of the northeastern USA, we had experienced torrential rains earlier in the week. We’d had some major flooding and consequent major road closings where we live and the aftermath of the devastation was obvious all along the route to NYC. That’s the Schuylkill River above, in Philadelphia, days later, waters still threatening the banks.
We traveled under mostly blue skies, but that was an active cloud system. It looked untrustworthy.
We were well outside of the city here — I don’t know where, but, as a frequent traveler on this route, I can state with confidence that these trees are usually standing on dry ground. Not today they weren’t; the river bank had entirely disappeared.
New Jersey, too, was a wet and soggy place.
Though the worst of the rains were only just past, our rail trip was uneventful, and Basil and I arrived in the gritty city after a dry and comfortable sojourn. (That’s my rain cape bunched on top of Basil’s T bag; there was no need for it in the city.)
We dumped my T bag at the Manhattanites’, where we stay in NYC, and immediately headed across town to NYCeWheels. I’d been meaning to make a small adjustment to Basil’s handlebars; after I read that Cathy, of Unfolded NYC, had changed hers, I finally decided to stop procrastinating and do it.
Basil sidled up next to the “bike test space” in the shop: the smaller space, outlined in blue tape, shows the size a folded Brompton takes against a wall; the larger shows that required for a Dahon. (Heh, heh. I’m not saying Dahons aren’t fine bikes . . . but they’re not Bromptons!)
Jack welcomed us, and quickly made the change, assuring me that the distance required wouldn’t affect Basil’s cables at all. I took a quick spin down the street, and was really surprised: though I’d had no complaints about the reach, this slight decrease in the distance between my torso and the handlebars felt perfectly customized to me.
On very long rides of 55 miles/88.5 km or more, I’d occasionally felt numbness in my hands. I’d been lazy about doing anything about it, partly because I don’t ride that far in one go very often. But I’m glad Cathy’s post gave me the nudge; I’m expecting that this change will shift the pressure enough that this isn’t a problem any longer.
Then we headed back across town, and began the countdown to the 5 Boro Tour. Friday was packet pick-up for the tour, and also when we’d see Dr. Diarist and Argyll again.