If the celebration of Henry Hudson’s third voyage, the one in which his discovery of the Northwest Passage led to his bottoming out somewhere very close to what I call home a mere four hundred years later – if this celebration led to nothing else beyond some fun days out enjoying the beauty of the river we named after him for folks who otherwise wouldn’t give him or the river a second thought, at the very least it led to this:
FRESHIES ON THE BIKE PATH!
After years of announcing new pavement but never actually laying it down, the city suddenly, just before last weekend’s festivities, laid down a long, hot stretch of fresh, smooth, shiny asphalt north of the Corning Preserve boat launch and going as far as the eye can see. Well, considerably farther, for that matter, doing what I thought was impossible and hooking up to the other relatively recently improved section, providing a stupidly smooth passage – the very kind of stupidly smooth passage Hudson was denied – all the way to Watervliet.
This changes my life.
In summer, I avoid bike paths like the plague, because I’m one of the fastest things on them, and everything else is just an obstacle to my pleasure – other bikes, bladers, oblivious runners, walkers treading 3 and 4 abreast, lost in the iPod zone (it used to be the Walkman zone, but I’m hip and with it), absolutely unable to comprehend my calls of “On your left!” or, worse, confused about what to do about them. Add to that the deplorable state the path had been in for the past, say, 10 years – there was a stretch where all you could do was ride the center hump of what had once been pavement and hope you didn’t fall off the edge of it – and it was easier, faster and a smoother ride to come back down through the streets of Watervliet, Menands and north Albany. So imagine.
But now, as dance starts up again and I find myself with time on my hands and a need to be downtown at certain hours of the day, the biggest enemy of my pleasure, the beat-up bike path, is suddenly shiny and new as a puppy’s nose. This makes me so very happy.
Before that sudden discovery this afternoon, I was going to write about my excitement to find that there were freshies in the cemetery (pavement, not bodies), an even more unlikely event and a very welcome surprise, but now they may as well not have bothered. It was only a few hundred feet, and I was happy to have it, but they could have gone on a bit further and made me even happier. Today, Albany bike path wins!