Kiko Isolates and Commutes

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This is an attempt at illustrating the broad daydreamy expanse of riding in New York City, with constant stimulae shaping and deflecting your daydreams. If you ride in NYC -without headphones- this is what happens, it is an altered state afforded to the hearty. Holla at me. And of course, if you want to start from the beginning, go here.

While it took all of the down-time out of his day, time that would be spent eating in the back with Señora Choi and Santiago trying new hot sauces to make the food palatable, laughing about the hardness of New York Life and reminiscing about life in Oaxaca and Cheolsan, where there was a fair on the outskirts of Seoul where Señora Choi grew up. The dishonesty of the games at Coney Island had them laughing for the time when there were no orders in the afternoon. Through it all Kiko was running in and out working on the bike, neither really fixing it, resting, or building any kind of credit with the boss: which was the only reason to compare immigration from the bosses Korea and the cook/cleaner/dishwasher/delivery-guy’s Mexico.

Kiko had ridden back to Jamaica Queens for a few weeks, each and every day. He liked the ride, which was refreshing because of the distance, and the fact that he didn’t need to stop and lock up every few blocks made the solid hour of riding a nice change. In the longer rides he could feel a new power, one that came from deeper within him. In the short rides at work he could always get going; he was fast. But as soon as he got some momentum, he’d have to stop for the delivery or jaywalker or cabbie. On the ride out of Manhattan he started and kept pedaling as hard as he could for a while. Some mornings he’d ride the first half hour or so to the bridge on a straight shot, running the occasional light when it was safe, but otherwise spinning and spinning his cheap steel replacement pedals (he had shot out the original black nylon plastic pedals that had come with it, riding the skewer within on the ball of his foot for a week before Señora Choi relented and let him buy her bike a new pair of pedals).

The ride, along Queens Boulevard in the dark before dawn, was relaxing. All he had to do was stay away from the cars and keep his pace up at the speed the lights we programmed at 26 miles an hour. Weeks and weeks, every morning, he had this long stress-free ride where all he had to do was get up to speed, shift up into a fairly high gear, and keep his legs moving at a comfortable pace. He really came to look forward to his time riding to and from work. The long, (mostly) undisturbed ride was more relaxing than tiring. Indeed, he found that the ride itself was refreshing in a way that no one seemed to understand. When he tried to tell Santiago about it all he got was the rolled eyes of “estas loco, guay.” His day-worker roommates, who rarely saw him anyway, thought that the idea of riding from far-distant Manhattan was a waste of energy that only someone who had a regular job could afford. They spent all of their time following the shade around various intersections in Queens, sitting on fences or their haunches, using up as little energy as possible.


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