Pedal Power: Brooklyn On Bike

The sun has just come up in Brooklyn as I attempt to dodge another patch of glass on my bike.

I spent the previous day biking past scenes from a Ralph Lauren polo ad: the pastoral fields and white-capped waves of Montauk.  Today, I want to scream at the shady street characters drinking Pabts:  “Can we get some brooms and clean up this hellhole?”  Instead I peddle on to my destination:  Brighton Beach.

Since moving from a nearby drug infested neighborhood to Manhattan 17 years ago, my life, like most New Yorkers, has become pathetically confined to a 40-block radius of what I consider upscale Klansman, given our striking similarity in lifestyle and thought.  My grocery store, daughter’s school, library and favorite diner are right out the door.

The bike ride is a cathartic reminder of why I scurried out of Ohio in the 80s and gives the ride a Margaret Mead expedition vibe.

The starting point: mosque territory where signs warn my “activity is being watched on surveillance cameras.”  This eventually gives way to Mexican laborers – “Hey mommy,” they shout – and Chinese fruit markets.  A sharp turn onto Ocean Parkway and I’m biking past endless blocks of temples and tacky, gated homes belonging to the Sephardic Jews until I hit a weathered Coney Island amusement park, and finally my destination.

Brighton Beach is swarming with Russians.  The benches are dotted with old timers socializing and 250-pound women wearing bikinis, shamelessly flaunting huge rolls of fat and making me feel ever-so-thin.  Everything they say sounds to me like “bulshvt.”  Or did they bullshit?

The trip culminates with lox and bagels.  I ask the staffers at the bagel shop for directions to Sheepshead Bay.  The gold tooth Mexican mechanic in line “speak no English” and the Russian woman has a heavy accent.  She flips flops on her directions, and I think I hear the word “bulshvt.”

This is bullshit.  I’ll figure it out.  I hop back on my bike and ride on.

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3 responses to “Pedal Power: Brooklyn On Bike

  1. Maybe you could pick a different route with some Ralph Lauren polo ads on the sides. ;)

  2. I love the word “bulshvt”–it’s perfect! Great story full of details that makes me feel like I was there, too!

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