I suppose the theme of my ride could be lifted from Maggie’s speech at Camp Mighty:

“Check marks don’t equal happiness”.

“Be rigid only if you want to snap”.

Now that I had altered the original route, I decided to be open and flexible to what and where my trip would take me. I promised to stop where and when I wanted, and change course as my mood (or instincts) dictated.

I started out in midtown, on the west side  – parking was easy and I was familiar with the path, as we’ve traversed it with Noah many times.

Except now I got to stop – as often as I liked – and take in the sights.

I had JUST read about this artist and there was a sculpture of his –  sitting there – right on the West Side Highway!

Beautiful Battery Park.

I realized that, in all my years of  living in New York, there was SO much I had never seen before. Particularly at this southernmost tip of the island. It was such a thrill for me and I stopped, took photos, and made many mental notes to come back and take a closer look.

As I rounded the bend to head north on the east side, the sun broke through the clouds, it started to warm up and I could feel my spirits start to soar. I was really doing this!

I went under all three bridges.

Peeked at the mayor’s house. For the very first time.

And finally, at around 96th Street, I decided to get off the prescribed path. I had had enough. There were things I wanted to see and I was feeling quite complete, as far as the ride itself had gone.

So I headed cross town, a little sooner than planned. But it was SO worth it. 

I got to see my favorite museum.

Explored my favorite garden in New York.

And then – as I always do when I’m in the area – I stopped by my favorite street of all.

Pomander Walk is a gated street – one block wide, and only accessible by the residents who live there. I typically stick my face in and take a long peek. Like this:

But this time a man approached, and asked if I was waiting for someone. I explained that no, I was just smitten with this place and was taking it in. And he asked if I’d like to come in.

Uh – yeah!!!

So, so charming – and one of the many highlights of my day.

I biked back to the west side, and rode along a recently renovated stretch that feels like a little piece of New England in New York City. And as the pedestrian path is much more pleasant, (the bike path is under the West Side Highway, dark and gloomy), I dismounted and walked for a few blocks to take in the scenery and have a quick bite to eat.

And before I knew it I was back on 56th Street.

Truth? I was a little sad that it was over. I considered going a little further down, just to extend the experience, but it was clear that the ride had come to an end. So I headed back to the garage and went home.

Mike promised me that we would do “the whole thing” another time, after Chelsea came home from school. And I may take him up on it. I adore this city, and I don’t know a single other way that you can see so much of it in a relatively short span of time. It was exhilarating to be able to stop, get off the path, and take a closer look at whatever struck my fancy. And I loved seeing so many different neighborhoods – all in one day – from perspectives that were brand new to me.

But – street riding in Manhattan? Let me tell you – there isn’t one single fun thing about that. It was stressful, scary and not something I ever need to do again.

So I was glad that I had already decided to diverge from the set path, as it freed me to go, do and see whatever I wanted.

And it elevated the experience in a way I could have never anticipated. And would never have done 

So thank you, Go Mighty and Proctor and Gamble.

And thank you, Noah. I would have never altered, changed or gone “off the path” if parenthood hadn’t intervened. And the ride wound up being better, more memorable and certainly more meaningful because of it.

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