Windy. City.

I actually do get off the bike path! Last night I rode to midtown – against gusts that tried to move me sideways instead of forward – to watch our chef and his team teach a cooking class.

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They killed it.

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I didn’t get a shot of dessert. (That very young woman on the left is our pastry chef.) Caramelized milk bread, like a mashup of the best French toast and crème brûlée.

On the way home, I stopped to take a pic of Columbus Circle.

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Bromptons are perfect for city traffic. Monty is so slim and nimble that it’s easy to snake around cars and potholes.

As I rode to work this morning (again battling fierce wind) I wondered, not for the first time, why this poor little bear is hanging from a power line at the corner of Laight and Varick. And why he’s been there for well over a year.

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Snapping a photo prompted me to find an answer. A little Googling turned up this article, explaining that the critters are supposed to be urban art. I prefer my power lines unadorned, but that’s just me.

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Thawing

It’s still a bit soon to pack away my winter woolies, but the snow in this week-old pic is history.

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And the Hudson is no longer covered with ice. Woohooooo!

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Monty and I are back to our regular daily commute, enjoying blue skies

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and cycling home in setting sunlight instead of darkness.

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Let the riding season begin! I registered for the Tour de Staten Island, a part of NYC I don’t know well. Last fall’s Tour de Bronx was such fun that I want to do all the borough-specific rides this year, as well as the 5 Boro and the Century.

It’s a good incentive to get in shape. I skipped way too many Bar Method classes over the winter; the workout complements cycling, keeping my leg muscles strong enough to protect my troublesome knees. Time to get back to it.

Several friends in the fun Brompton NYC group on Facebook use Strava to track their rides. I’m going to try it too.

I’ll leave you with my favorite sign of spring,  painted by my dear brother-in-all-but-blood Dan Dutton.

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The last ride of winter

Yesterday was frigid but sunny enough to clear some of the white stuff from the streets. I rescued Monty from under my desk and we rode home from work.

There was still some light in the sky at 6:30 pm.

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Monday’s evening commute will be bright, even if it’s cloudy. Hello, DST, how I’ve missed you! Spring is still a few weeks away, technically, but the time change is my signal to come out of hibernation.

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Trust the Force

I took Monty to NYCeWheels  for his 6-month/1,000+ mile checkup. Izzy, the shop’s excellent mechanic, pronounced my boy healthy, fit and ready for spring.

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As I headed back across town, I realized Izzy had returned the handlebars to their factory setting, just beyond my comfortable reach. I should have returned to the shop for an adjustment, but figured I’d take care of it at home.

I found an Allen key and tried to loosen the handlebar. It wouldn’t budge. A shot of WD-40 didn’t help. I was nervous about stripping the bolt, and asked Mr. U. to try with his big man hands. He couldn’t loosen it  either.

Then my brilliant husband suggested we try the new and improved Brompton toolkit he picked up on his last trip to London. DUH. The large hex bit and ratchet handle made short work of the bolt, and Monty’s handlebars were back where they belonged.

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This bit of Brompton bling is as useful as it is beautiful!

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Night rides

The prospect of riding home in the cold and dark doesn’t thrill me. But once I’m out there, I rather like it. My commute is nearly painless – 5 miles each way, mostly flat, mostly on a protected (well-maintained and -lit) path.

Riverside Park is beautiful at night. Its post lamps, designed in the early 1900s by Henry Bacon (who also created the Lincoln Memorial), cast a warm, golden light that softens the city’s contours and makes even grimy snow look good.

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Of course, a gritty cityscape is never far away.

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Isn’t my guy splendid?

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Siberia on the Hudson

When it’s

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here’s what happens to the river

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no matter how far south you ride.

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And here’s what happens when you breathe into your face mask.

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Still here, huh, winter?

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I got home from Arizona late last night. I’m giving myself a day (maybe two, considering the forecast) to get used to the cold again before I ride to work.

Next year, I’m getting a pair of these studded tires. Worth the modest investment (and a little extra weight) to make winter cycling safer!

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Winter break

No cycling this week: I’m in Arizona looking after my dad, without enough leisure time to justify bringing Monty along.

It’s a treat to be out of the Northeast’s deep freeze for a bit, enjoying spectacular sunrises…

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sunsets (doesn’t this look like a Spielberg special effect?)…

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…and clowning around with my favorite nephew, who joined us for a few days of family time and rock scrambling.

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You thought I said BIKING?

Between concerns about black ice and warnings of more “wintry mix” (doesn’t that sound like a holiday party snack?), Monty and I haven’t been out as much as we’d like. Fortunately, two days of near-40º temps have cleared a lot of scary stuff from the roads, and I was delighted to commute this morning.

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Meanwhile, there’s been a lot of baking around here. I had some sour cherries (pitted and frozen over the summer) and heirloom cranberries (frozen after Thanksgiving) on hand, and cooked them together into a filling for Joanne Chang’s granola bars. Don’t be misled by the name; other than a scattering of flax seeds and millet on top, there’s nothing healthy about them! But they’re delicious.

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For my dad, whose sweet tooth I inherited, I make a monthly batch of spice cookies. The original recipe is from my brilliant friend Dorie Greenspan. With her blessing, I’ve tinkered with it over the years and now use local sorghum syrup in place of molasses; my pal Steve Sando’s extraordinary granulated piloncillo for the brown sugar; and Aleppo pepper for a little heat. I love that Dad loves these so much, and I make sure he never runs out.

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Clever way to distract you from the dearth of Brompton-related content, no?

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Golden sun, gray slush

Last night’s ride home was uneventful. The bike path exit I usually take was unplowed, so I walked Monty over the snow, and by the time we got home he needed another bath. This time I extended the back wheel to make sure the chain was clean. (No pix, unfortunately, but the girl cat thought this was hilarious. The boy considers the tub part of his territory, and did not approve of the interloper.)

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Another beautiful morning, bright and calm. We stopped to admire the light on the Freedom Tower.

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