As you read, you will see that this post is about a ride from Bridgeport to New Haven, meaning that it really should have been titled, "Once More Unto the New Haven." But that's dumb, and since I don't work for the New York Post, I don't often get to write punny headlines, let alone headlines that allude to Shakespeare, so allow me some poetic license, OK?
I've extolled the pleasures of intercity bicycle riding in Connecticut before, including the New Haven-to-Bridgeport 20-mile jaunt. But just as Brendan has observed that riding a mountain trail in the opposite direction from what you're used to turns it into a whole new trail, so, too, going from Bridgeport to New Haven feels different than the reverse, as I discovered yesterday. Either way, Route 162 is a fairly nice way to go - not nearly as busy as US 1, nor as infested with endless, sprawling, gaudy car dealerships. It has some hills, but nothing insurmountable, and there are a number of nice glimpses of the Sound. Also, perplexingly, there seems to be a CT Transit bus stop about every 100 yards, but no buses.
Most importantly, just a few days before undertaking this little voyage, I switched from a rear rack to a front basket on the Xootr (not in anticipation of the Park-City-to-Elm-City Invitational Tour, but because on some level, I'm never truly happy unless I'm modifying my bicycle in some way). (I used the stem-like part of the Crossrack with an old seatpost to create a lower, secondary handlebar, onto which I affixed a basket. This makes for a nice low center of gravity and the pin mechanism in the Crossrack makes it easy to remove. See pics below.)
This new setup proved much handier for quick jaunts when I'm carrying a heavy bag, since I can toss the bag in the basket instead of taking the time to secure it to the Crossrack in back with a complicated system of trusses and pulleys. More importantly, it serendipitously gave me the chance to live out my secret dream of being a charming, Audrey Tautou-esque young Frenchwoman who tools around with a fresh baguette in her bicycle basket. Why was this serendipitous? Because when I set out, heading east on Boston Avenue in Bridgeport, I had no idea that (a) upon reaching the turn for the Stratford train station, I'd suddenly decide to keep going straight toward New Haven, and (b) I'd stumble upon the Milford-Woodmont Farmer's Market at the corner of Rte. 162 (a.k.a. New Haven Avenue) and Merwin Avenue.
Naturally, finding myself on a bicycle with a basket, I had no choice but to purchase a fresh baguette (also, two pounds of fresh-caught haddock and some delicious goat cheese, or chevre, com on dit en francais), making the remainder of my ride whimsical and continental. I also saved $2.75 in trainfare, which financial windfall took the sting out of the high cost of the cheese and added further joie de vivre to my already Parisian level of gaiety.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Posted by El Presidente de China at 7:52 PM