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“Don’t worry about shitting yourself. We got you covered”
Every other Thursday I work late. Not really important to the story, but then it is. I started my commute very lackadaisically. I don’t think I’ve ever written the word, “lackadaisically”. Also not important, yet it always feels good to expand on my written vocabulary. There was no aggression in my pedal stroke. I had a place to be, but found no true desire to push pace. My panniers agreed. When I’m not out riding on the rivets of my saddle, keeping my wheel tight to someone else’s, concerning myself with heart rate anomalies and sowing the roads with mucous, I’m relaxing. I watch the landscapers whose knowledge of English is comparable to my knowledge of Yiddish, the nanny’s making coin, and the walking unemployed. There are of course other types of people out there like the retiree’s basking in the sun, graveyard shift types etc…
I walked into work without a drip of sweat.
After making the wise decision of charging my light as opposed to my Garmin, I head out into the dark of Paterson, NJ. I wasn’t always that smart. I record all of my commute miles. I’m quite anal about this and pretty much nothing else in my life. I’ve ridden with the only light being illuminated coming in the form of my Garmin display. Not smart, but I never said that I was. Strava.
To avoid potential uncivilized activity, I adjusted my route around the drug activity on East Main St and opt for drug activity on Haledon Ave. Going downhill I get the speed up in the upper 20’s. With my gut and the laundry I was transporting home, reaching a decent speed is pretty effortless. I make the mistake of turning onto North 1st right into “The Stupid Nigga Playoffs” as Gangstarr so eloquently called bad behavior by people of a certain hue in his song, “Soliloquy Of Chaos”. I knew instantly that I had made an error. My speed took me deep enough into the activity which involved cars blocking the streets and people loitering on the sidewalks. I always look for exits when I ride. Life just seems to be more fun having a plethora of choices to avoid annihilation.
I see one guy running to one of the cars stopped in the street. That’s never a good sign. I wasn’t sure if my imagination was getting the best of me, but I thought he had something in his hand that wasn’t a bouquet of flowers. A guy hops out of the passenger side of the car. I spot my escape. A space in between parked cars that led to an empty sidewalk and freedom. I didn’t turn to see how it played out. My S-Works helmet I believe has never gone though ballistic tests. I channeled my inner Cavendish, got lower than the parked cars and hammered it with much more on the line than just the green jersey. It’s incredible how you can sprint when you have to with flat pedals and panniers loaded with laundry.
After rounding the corner, I had that rubbery feeling in my legs that usually comes with almost getting smashed to bits by automobiles. I couldn’t shake the shakes, but had to pedal to the safety of yet another gang neighborhood that hopefully was a little less active. It took about a mile to get my legs back underneath me.
I just wanted to get home at this point and still had 8 miles to go. With the adrenaline now dissipated, I was even more tired than I was had I just had a normal commute where the only thing I had to fear was some guy in a Buick. Thankfully, my legs know the routine and even when everything thing else in my container wants to shut down, my legs much like pistons just keep going.