Skip to main content

Adapting in a New York Minute

Yesterday and this morning, I was in New York City on business. Between appointments I had a chance to ride in Central Park. I was supposed to meet a friend who is an avid rider--he commutes into NYC from New Jersey. But the snow on Monday-Tuesday made the NJ roads slushy enough that Jim took the train.

At 5pm, yesterday, I left my hotel at 26th Street and 6th Ave. One of the entrances of Central Park is on 6th Ave, so I turned north on 6th and got in the 5 o'clock traffic in midtown.

When I first started riding again in Lancaster, I was a little bit tentative riding in groups. I had been riding alone for most of the year and I did not want to mess up in a pack so I would follow three or four feet behind other riders instead of right up on their wheel (where I should be).

But turning on to 6th Ave, I had none of that hesitation at all. I got into the bike lane on the left side of the avenue, shifted to the big ring and started riding as fast as I could toward the park. As I approached the odd-numbered streets I would be scanning for turn signals and making sure I kept my speed up and get right by the front wheel of taxis so they could see me.

When I got near Herald Square I could see people waving for taxis in the bike lane. They were all women. Then I remembered it was Fashion week. I kept my speed and stayed in my lane. The people standing in the bike lane were facing me and decided the best plan was to get out of the lane when I got close. Around 40th the bike lane ended so I moved into one of the center lanes. I got caught at three lights in the 34 block trip. As I rolled into the park I realized I had no hesitation at all riding with the limos and taxis and splitting lanes. I have always liked riding in traffic since I was a kid in Boston.

Riding in NYC traffic made riding feel completely normal again. Today I rode a few miles with the daily training ride. I rode right on the wheel of the rider in front of me. Whatever was wrong in my head, riding up 6th and down 7th Ave cleared that up.

Popular posts from this blog

Different Water for Sinks and Toilets--Camp Beuhring, Kuwait, and Amtrak

On the train to Philadelphia recently, the toilets had water, but the sinks did not in the last two cars. I walked three cars away from my seat to wash my hands. On the way back, I let the conductor know about the lack of water.  He said there are different water systems for the sinks and the toilets.  Then smiled and said the water is blue in the toilets.  
I told the conductor about a morning at Camp Beuhring, Kuwait, in April 2009. We were there for training before we went to Camp Adder, Iraq.  During our two-week stay, we slept in 77-man tents.  Outside the tent were several sinks and mirrors just standing in the open on the sand. I wish I had a picture.  
About twenty yards away were Porta-Johns or Shit Ovens, which everyone called the plastic enclosures when the temperature approached 120 degrees.  One morning just after down I went out to the sinks, brushed my teeth, then walked toward the Porta-Johns.  One of the soldiers just stepped out of one and was walking toward me.  

Ten Years Ago Today: Cold War Soldier Starts Re-enlistment Process

The Night Before Basic, Killing Brain and Lung Cells
On January 31, 1972, I flew to Texas to begin basic training. On April 2, 2007, ten years ago today, I called Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Askew, recruiting sergeant for the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, and began the process of re-enlisting after 23+ years as a civilian.  I was 53 years old at the time, about to turn 54.

In the Spring of 2007, The Surge in Iraq was in full swing and recruitment for the Army was down a lot. The economy was good, Congress would not even consider re-starting the Draft, so in late 2006 Congress raised the maximum first-enlistment age for the Army from 35 to 42 years old.

The program was a failure and was rescinded three years later. But that failed program allowed me to re-enlist.  The maximum enlistment age for soldiers with prior service is the enlistment age plus the years of prior service plus a one-year waiver.  I needed all of that.

I called three recruiters before I called Kevin. He was the first one…

My Last Tanker Nickname: Oddball

Donald Sutherland as Oddball, a tank commander in the movie "Kelly's Heroes"
I got my last tanker nickname more than a decade after I earned the nickname Sgt. Bambi Killer.I got that nickname on a business trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2000.The company I worked for just bought a company in Brazil and I was part of a team that went to Brazil to introduce ourselves to the people who ran the business.
Sao Paulo has traffic that makes Los Angeles look like Omaha, so the local managers sent a limo for the four of us. This meant we could be more comfortable on the three-hour 20-mile trip from the airport to downtown. 
At the time I had a beard and still had a lot of brown hair.  Among the local staff people who were waiting to meet us was my now long-time friend Ivan Porccino. Ivan speaks five languages and was assigned as our interpreter.  When we got in the car, Ivan introduced us to the driver and said we would be in Sao Paulo for a few days. The driver said, “I love Americ…