Kiko’s Patron (Reindeer Games III) and a Walk in Woodside

We had so much fun at Coney Island.

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But First, A Walk in Woodside with my best girl

Yesterday was an amazingly nice day. I took the kids to school early because they had a field trip. After I dropped them off I fixed up the bike I found for Lennox, finding that the tires held air and the rust came off of the handlebars. The chain seems to be much better now that it is oiled, so all is good. After I dropped them off Linda and I futzed around for a an hour talking, in the nice satisfying way that married couples can. I talked Linda into walking me to the hardware store, bike shop and the 99¢ store. Though she was reluctant we had a grand time once we got out, playing “what if-“on where we should live and other things that otherwise stressed us.

If we move to Woodside (which is where we ended up walking) we would or could save huge amounts of money. After I got my bike out of the shop and training wheels for Lennox’s little pink bike we came across a terraced garden with water storage, drip irrigation and PVC Plumbing trellises for the beans to grow on behind the fence above the Woodside LIRR Station. There was an older man holding sway over the 2000 feet of arable land tucked behind the fence above the tracks at Woodside Ave and 63rd street. Tons of hot peppers, beans and other ‘crops’ I couldn’t discern were in terraced plots the size of mattresses (infant, twin, king and queen) climbing the right-of-way between the platform above the tracks and the fence. There was one farmer/gardener with that kind of plot in the Garden in University Village, but he used “black fertilizer” so we were a bit afraid of him.

Next we met a couple of guys after the meeting who both live in Big Six. They both sang its praises, and pointed out the benefits of living there, in spite of the recent problems (corruption, fee increases). John, who looked about my age, said he was retiring (one of the luxuries of low rent) and told us that he complex actually has fairly big cash reserves, so it should be OK right now. Jim, with the ponytail and amazing complexion, said that he thinks it is safe, doesn’t worry when his 24-year-old daughter walks from the subway late at night, has a dog and a cat, but can’t seem to get a storage space (he’s been on the wait list for storage for a “big six” years). John said that he doesn’t have a parking spot, but usually gets parking whenever he comes home within a building or two of his home.

Finally we went to La Flor Café and had a nouvelle Mexican lunch worthy of Picante or Jimmy Bean’s. The vegetable Tacos were freshly sautéed and sprinkled with a wonderful piquant queso fresca with a strong flavor. The marinated pork steak (whose proper name I forget) had a wonderful citrusy aftertaste. It was a sandwich, called a torta, that blew our minds. We shared an excellent Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookie for desert and it was like being back in the Gormet Ghetto of Berkeley again, except we were under the El at 52nd St and Roosevelt.

I came home and put the training wheels on Lennox’s bike and took it up to her daycare to pick her up. When I gave her the neck-chain with the keys to her bike her face lit up like she had been ambushed by Christmas. She told Elexa and Christina that she was going to ride her bike home proudly. Needless to say after dinner we went to the park and she rode around the play structure, benches and park building endlessly. It was a good day!

Here’s the latest installment of Kiko’s Tale. He will be back soon, but I’ve got to set up the bike racing, which I’m still waiting to hear feedback on. If you ride, formally, with clubs and packs check this for realism and send me a line. And of course, if you want to start from the beginning, go here.

“Well, shit, it’s like this,” he confessed. “On the way here this delivery guy, on his delivery bike, wearing delivery guy clothes, came past me as I climbed the bridge. I mean, that’s where I rule. I was holding my like pumping up the bridge at a great clip and this freakin’ Spanish guy on a cheap bike with a chain locked around the seat-post breezes past me like I’m riding Barney in front of a drugstore.” Thinking, he added, “I don’t even think he was breathin’ hard. I mean, hell, I was beaten.”

There was a lot of disbelief, and none of the pack thought that he was serious. They had ridden together for over two years and they knew each other pretty well and to a man the pack thought that a) Mike must have lost his girlfriend and b) that the Spanish guy was a figment of his dumped and tortured imagination. Delivery-guys do not beat bike racers up hills. Especially not the guy who had led them, gasping, up most of the hills that morning. Not possible. Period.

On the ride home he thought about the kid he’d learn later was named Kiko and worked delivering food in the Financial district. This kid, no, not kid, man, only a man could make that piece of shit bike glide up the bridge he was now climbing so effortlessly. He could see the rear-wheel suspension bouncing as he pumped the pedals and hear the basket rattle as they went over the expansion plate. The bike was like a mechanical bull bouncing up and down under the rider as he passed him. Everything about the bike was loose and rattled. It sounded like it was held together by a second-rate-duct-tape-force-field rather than screws, nuts and bolts.

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