Thursday, March 4, 2010

Courtship on the Ben Franklin Bridge

Yesterday on the drive from the Harrisburg airport, I stopped at home and brought one of my bikes to Philadelphia. At sunset yesterday I rode over the the big, blue Ben Franklin Bridge, a 1.5-mile suspension bridge that rise 150 feet in a graceful arc crossing the Delaware River to Camden, New Jersey.

Yesterday I did three back and forth laps on the 10-foot-wide walkway that is up to 20 feet above the roadway and directly over the New Jersey Transit tracks on the outside of the span. Today I planned to ride five laps, but ended at 4 1/2. As I was riding back and forth across the bridge, a couple ambled across walking as if they both had north pole magnets in their hips. They would sway together then sway apart when they got too close.

For bikes and runners and pedestrians to share the walkway, everybody has to stay right and straight. Every time I approached this couple I had to yell "On Your Left" or "On Your Right" and every time they were surprised. They were so enthralled with each other I passed a half-dozen times before it occurred to them I would be going by every six or seven minutes.

The fifth time I started up the 3/4 mile climb to the center of the bridge I decided I would turn around wherever I met the couple and not go down the other side. Near the peak of the bridge, the lovers were laughing, saw me and moved right. I turned around anyway so I would not have to pass them again. The bridge is a great workout, but I usually only ride on it when it is dark and cold. Good weather brings out crowds and the descents feel like riding in a pinball machine.

Who Fights Our Wars: Sons of Veterans

Myles B. Caggins, III, promoted today to Colonel Today, I heard one of the best speeches of a man honored in his profession that I he...