Alex in Transit(ion)

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I played this song and next thing I knew, after more than 24 hours of rain, the sun came out. The spirit of George Harrison is alive and well.

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If there is anything that I don’t want to leave Florida without seeing, it’s a manatee. Floridians love their manatees, especially beachside residents- they tend to have manatee mailboxes.


Manatee (BrianWpic)

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the ice cream stands are in business all year here

One of the defining moments of my life was when I was watching The Little Rascals and I was introduced to Randy Newman’s song, Short People. The opening line goes “short people don’t got no reason to live.”

As I’ve mentioned before, bike sizing is always a challenge with me because of my height. Even though I have the smallest bike frame you can get (49cm) for a Raleigh, I’m still a little uncomfortable with how high the seat is, and I have it down to the max. I think I may need a new seat post. I decided that I would practice dismounting because maybe it’s an issue of me getting comfortable with the bike.  I’m sure the neighbors got a good laugh at me today with me practicing dismounting but I think I have it down. The whole thing made me laugh because I thought about last summer when my friend got me off of my bike and told me I was riding too low, and raised my seat to my handlebars. I thought he was crazy but he was right. It’s funny, even though I put miles upon miles on my bikes over the years, I never took the time to learn about them until last year.

Riding around my suburban neighborhood is starting to bore me. I did get to see an armadillo today, so that was a win. It’s stunning because I live next to such a beautiful river and I think it would be wonderful if it had a trail alongside it like the Corning Trail in Albany. However, it’s not to say Florida doesn’t have interesting bike trails. Today, my stepdad sent me a link to and in the Everglades there is the Shark Valley Trail where alligators nap alongside the trail!

I really don’t know what I would do if I saw a gator straight chilling on the trail. Actually, where I live, there are three alligators in our canal, so I guess I will have an encounter with them sooner or later. Hopefully it will be a friendly one. On my ride today, I did see the bear that my host family kept talking about the other day and I found out how fast my bike really is.

I’m noticing a sharp transition in my style. I see that I am dressing sportier now than ever before. For the past couple of years, I’ve been all about dresses and tights, but now that I live in Florida, tights are a no go, and as for dresses, I find that I’m wearing less of them. I think it’s because I’m on either on the go or in an office all of the time and leggings, a tshirt, and my beloved Vibrams are just easier because I don’t have to be conscious about how I’m sitting and what not but I feel that once I get to Newark, I will go back to the skirts and tights again. I’m trying really hard to not go crazy on summer wear and shorts. Ever since I came to Florida in March, it’s been a steady 70 degrees and up and everyone is telling me that it’s going to get hotter.

The other night, I was talking with my new host mom and she was asking me where I went to college, so I showed her the website of my undergrad and memories came shooting back. I am so guilty of saying this, but if there is anything I could relive, it would be my college years.

Arcade Fire- Wasted Hours

All those wasted hours we used to know
Spent the summers staring out the window
The wind it takes you where it wants to go

At first they built the road then they built the town
That’s why we’re still driving around and around
And all we see are kids in the buses longing to be free

Wasted hours before we knew
Where to go and what to do
Wasted hours that you make new
Turn into a life that we could live

Some cities make you lose your head
In this suburb stretched out thin and dead
What was that line you said?
Wishing you were anywhere but here
You watched the life you’re living disappear
and now I see, we’re still kids in the buses longing to be free

Wasted hours before we knew
Where to go and what to do
Wasted hours that you make new
Turn into a life that we could live

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moving to Montreal

No. I’m not doing it. Although something tells me it wouldn’t surprise anyone if I said “Hey, guess what I’m doing now?”

I just hate how as much as I love the city and would love to settle my roots there, it is something that will never happen because of visas, dealing with immigration, and all that jazz. But I guess, where there is a will, there is a way. I really want to get up there to visit in the next year and take a bike tour of the city again. 

Today is one of those days where I miss my family and friends like crazy. I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and my cousin posted pictures of my father and my nonno. I then saw that my mother posted pictures of my little brother and I couldn’t believe how tall he is getting. It hit me that no longer is he a toddler but he’s now a young boy who’s getting ready to go to kindergarten soon. Isn’t it crazy how they grow up so fast? 

A couple of days ago, I stumbled upon this post by Elizabeth from Delightfully Tacky, and it touched upon feelings that I related to. She wrote about how grounding it is when you get to talk to a loved one who is far away from you, especially when you don’t know many people in your town. Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting new friends, and one of the things I love about my lifestyle is that it has given me the opportunity to attain lifelong friendships but it gets hard when you’re the only person you know in your new town. However, this feeling isn’t foreign and no matter what, I always get through it and have the best stories to share afterwards. 

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life on the new wheels and some things I’d like to accomplish

World, meet Pie-O-My, my new Raleigh Alysa FT2. The Alysa is the female version of the Cadent and oh boy, if there’s anything I’m looking forward to, it’s taking this to the Northeast. I named it Pie-O-My after Tony Soprano’s horse…yes, I know the horse dies in the stable fire that Ralphie set up but whatever, it’s one of my favorite storylines in the series and I think it’s a fitting name considering I will be riding it for two years on the streets of New Jersey. And Brooklyn. Ohhh man, I can see the rides in Prospect Park right now.

But I’m getting way too ahead of myself. 

She is fast and zippy. The shifting is EFFORTLESS! This is my first time using button shifters and I cannot believe how quick the bike is to shift in and out of gears. It is also very nimble as well, I love turning corners with it! She is going to be one hell of an efficient commuter bike when she is put to task. 

The only things that I need to change are the toe clip pedals- I can see using them in races and tours but for commuter riding like I usually do when I’m not on a work assignment, it’s hazardous. My hands are also getting used to the flat handlebars and I’m debating getting cushioning grips or tape for them for a comfier ride. 

This bicycle does make me long for the Northeast. One of the things I’m still getting used to about Florida is how flat it is. I grew up in the Catskill Mountains so adjusting to a state where the highest mountain peak is 345 feet has been interesting. There aren’t any hills to race down and believe it or not, even though I live in a very suburban area which has bike lanes for traffic, there aren’t any bike paths for recreational use which I find very surprising. I guess living next to the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, which extends 40 miles, has spoiled me. I hope it isn’t that snowy when I get back to New York around late November because there is nothing more I want to do than take this down the hills around where my parents live. 

One of my friends is living my dream and is currently driving across the country. I give him so many props for that. Finally, someone is doing the one thing everyone says they’re going to do but never do it. He’s inspiring me to make some serious plans and do it within the next year or two. 

I plan to make next summer action packed. I was planning to do the Erie Canal bike tour from Albany to Buffalo this year but that will be on hold until next year. I also want to finally make good on this and climb Mount Marcy, which is the highest point in New York. With all of that said, when I get to Newark, I plan to make life simpler. I hope to meet folks (yep, living in the South is getting to me) who share the same passions as I do: cooking meals together, listening to music and going to concerts, reading books, volunteering, riding bikes, planning all sorts of outdoor adventures, garden, and build and repair things. I smile every time I think about it.

Yet, although I am looking to the future, it would be a shame to neglect my present. I read this post from Simply Bike about learning how to appreciate the journey, instead of focusing on the end-point. And then, when the ending does come, to welcome the new beginnings. It made me think a lot about what I do for a living. And you know, even though the end points that I work towards feel AWESOME when we get there…very rarely I look back and yearn for how it felt that day. Honestly, the moments I look back to is how it felt to come home every night during my first assignment, listening the Ottawa radio because I was so close to Canada, smelling the mountain air, meeting all of those wonderful people that I still keep in touch with, sending letters to my friends, when Brian helped me towards the end point and all of the adventures that ensued, driving through the Adirondack State Park and seeing all of those beautiful towns that I never got to visit, laughing at the 2010 Gubernatorial Debate, Big Pony and…

these ridiculously large and delicious cups of coffee at Scoopacino’s where there were so many awesome meals and where I learned that cream cheese is an awesome addition to a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and…

these fabulous North Country sunsets.

Yes, it is all about the journey. Here’s to in medias res