Jonny CyclesBill KetzerVanderkittenGo Go Gwadzilla!Ahrens

I Love Riding in the City

NAME: Joel Gwadz
LOCATION: Washington, DC

predict... modify... adapt
the movement of a bicycle through urban traffic is far from a ballistic motion

the trajectory is always up for revision

there is a need to always predict what is ahead
anticipate changes
modify your path
and be ready to adapt to anything and everything around you

close calls are part of everyday
close calls are part of being on the bike
close calls happen whether running a light or obeying the law
it is just part of being on the bike

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NAME: Bill Ketzer
OCCUPATION: Writer/Musician

A Memory
Albany’s Sheridan Avenue runs the length of the Arbor Hill ghetto from uptown to the nightlife/business/iniquity district on North Pearl Street by the Hudson River. One early evening a few years ago I climbed up from those pubs on that road, checking out astonishing rows of unoccupied two-family houses now rotting into compost. Radiator fluid ran past me down the street like storm water. I was in the land of the all-seeing eye, and soon a car pulled up behind me. Maybe you know the feeling. They were tracking me like a stray calf, thinking of how to bring me back to the herd. I didn’t look back, and finally the old white Toyota pulled up beside me. Two young girls, very young, about 13, start heckling me, tipping full cans of beer into their laps as the car sputters and jerks.
“Boy, you in the wrooooong hood!” they cried, and proceed to throw lit cigarettes at me and attempt to nudge me into the curb with the Toyota’s quarter panel. This happens so often that I don’t even get scared anymore, but I did hop the curb to ride on the sidewalk, because I will gladly take a beer can to the head or a cigarette burn for the team, but stacking the bike (my only means for escape) in the ghetto is never an option. By this time, however, a small line of cars assembled behind the drunken children, and apparently their blaring horns and curses convinced them to hit the gas and rattle away at considerable speed. Whatever.
But imagine my surprise when five minutes later they came barreling back down the hill, straight towards me! I dumped the bike at an intersection and ran for it. They missed me by about five feet, hopped the curb at the corner and crashed into the boarded-up home waiting there. The sound was deafening. Smoke billowed from the place like the Vatican had just found a new pope. “Oooooooh-eeeee!” an old man on the street said. “Ooooooh-eeee!” I replied. We stood there together, in silence for a moment, then I got on my bike and rode home.

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