Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Intersection -- Eleventh and Penn

I eased up to the intersection, two cars waiting in front of me, and watched the courier on the other side of the intersection, lithe and hoary in black on black on black, steady himself with the occasional backward rotation, wheel cocked to the side, slowly inching into the intersection playing traffic like chess.

My posture was similar but more patient, wheel turned toward the double yellow line, standing on my leveled pedals still and balanced, a quick rearward quarter cadence to regain my deteriorating equilibrium followed by a lazy half-rotation forward, eyes on the courier's progress toward me as I waited in line for the light to change and the cars before me to move.

Behind and to my right approached the tell-tale clicking of a freewheel. Turning slightly to the right, I waited until a diminutive woman in red sweatpants coasted into my peripheral vision, safely on the sidewalk, where she stopped at the handicapped ramp and waited for the light with her own peculiar breed of sanguinity, slouched down on her low saddle like a lanky teenaged boy on a BMX bike.

My mind was flooded with work, and errands, and thoughts of the coming Caffeinator. At rest, slowly eating up the bit of pavement I'd allowed for that purpose, I relieved myself of the burden of concentration, and my ruminations, diffuse as the breeze in my face, carried me away without a second invitation.

The light changed, and the cars in front of me eased slowly forward. I stood into the pedals, tracking the bumper of the car in front of me, watching its right taillight for signs of a change. The courier passed on the other side of the line and waved, lifting his hand slightly from his bars in answer to my reflexive nod, quiet bonhomie.

The intersection was clear and safe, and I allowed myself a brief glance at the young woman as I passed; she still lingered there with her foot down. Her face, alabaster doyenne hosting a frenzy of pink on her cheeks, was radiant and impassive. I resisted the temptation to stop in the middle of the road and stare (conversation was out of the question for a host of reasons), instead turning my head and then my shoulders into the turn, which I fed with my gathering momentum, angling my front wheel toward a familiar seam amongst several metal caps in the road.

Homeward, angel.


Anonymous May said...

Every time you ride your bike, you take a look at the world.

I, instead, "ride" my bike at home while looking out of the window. Sometimes I read.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Moon said...

and why don't you ride outside?

(everytime i ride outside in this bike unfriendly city, it bears notice, i take my life in my hands.)

10:08 AM  
Anonymous May said...

1) because it is safer (I live in a Country with too many cars, too many trucks and narrow roads).
2) I may ride when I am not busy (early in the morning or late at night).

But, of course, I have never felt the sensation of running fast along a road, in the countryside, against the wind. It must be a bit like skiing.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Moon said...

i've only skied, or rather snowboarded, once. and while there was a certain amount of wind and such, most of what i remember is the pounding my tailbone received. even rock climbing doesn't make me whimper, at the end of a long day, like snowboarding did -- whimper, and occasionally suppress the urge to jump up swinging my fists at anyone within range.

there's not too much countryside here, and certainly not on my daily commute. about as close to countryside as i get day to day is the strip district.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous May said...

Post some more pictures...although that it is not easy to do it when riding.

I can ski very well.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Moon said...

Not sure whether more maps is what you had in mind, but this route, which I wrote about here, is one of my favorite long-ish rides to date. It pretty much encompassed the whole city.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous May said...

I am smiling because I wasn't referring to the maps (I am not a map addict) but to real photos.
It seems to me - I am too lazy to go back and check - that you posted a view of a city taken from far away.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Moon said...

Ah yes, I think you have in mind my post entitled "Eagle Rock," which for the time being still sits on the list of recent posts. I posted links to photographs I found online (not photos I shot) of the particular overlook of the New York City skyline I rode up to when I was visiting my hometown two weekends ago.

The problem with my own photos is that I have been stubbornly resistant to digital photography. I shoot a lot of film, but it's still film, half on a new SLR (dedicated to b/w photography) and half on an old (1970's era) Minolta I bought for a song on ebay a year or two ago (on which I shoot color for the first time in six or eight years).

I have only indirect access to a scanner, and in any event I wouldn't post most of it on MOP due to anonymity issues.

2:43 PM  

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