Cycling in North New Jersey

There I was in the doctor’s office as he held forth about injuries on the fracture spectrum.  It’s not a stress fracture and not quite a hairline fracture.   With the fractured cuboid bone in my foot, my sports medicine guy gave me leave to do anything I want.  Except run.  Lest you think otherwise, this doctor is more than competent, empathetic and gets it.  But I had no idea there was so much gray in the world of fractures.

That I’m not on crutches or wearing a boot is a blessing.  Banned from running, I’ve re-acquainted myself with my bicycle.

Longer ago than I care to admit, bicycling was one of my primary dryland pastimes.  After being hit by a car – and being lucky enough to walk away – my lightbulb dimmed somewhat for riding.

This spring, I’ve ridden as much as I did in the previous three years combined.  The good:  I’ve gone places haven’t visited in years and seen really nice countryside.  The bad:  I forgot how scary cars are.  Some motorists cut it way too close, even when there’s plenty of room to give a rider a wide berth.  The other bad:  I’m reacquiring bike-specific strength all over again.  We don’t have any six-gap rides in NJ, but there’s plenty of repeated steep hills that are guaranteed to wear you down if you’re out long enough.

The pictures are from two different rides I’ve done recently.   Dan Streeter, my physical therapist from last summer, joined me on a favorite ride that meanders in and around the Great Swamp in Morris County.  Past the house that Nektar rented on Chatham Township’s Fairmount Avenue in the late 1970s.  Past the now defunct Archie’s, a madhouse junk shop/thrift store/deer hibernaculum in Meyersville.  Really, the Times should have had a local write this article rather than someone from their city desk.  Through the heart of the Great Swamp, which survived efforts to turn it into a Port Authority-controlled airport.  On one edge of the swamp, Superfund site was finally cleaned up in 2010.

Dan spends a lot of time riding and he schooled me good.  I’ve got a lot to learn about carrying momentum in transitions.

Through Basking Ridge, Bernards, Far Hills, Chester and more, there are plenty of hills to wear yourself out on.  As I learned last Sunday, it’s not just Schooley’s Mountain that has switchbacks.  I’ve found myself turning onto roads I’ve never been on.  Getting lost is OK when I want to see what’s around the next bend in the road.  Of course, I got all turned around at one intersection on Lake Road in Far Hills and would have dithered there for awhile until a nun – yes, a nun – pointed me in the right direction.