Dan asked Gary to come up with a story about his favorite ride and here is what Gary had to say:
Well Dan, you've come up with a hard one here. You'd think that if you were asked to tell your favorite ride, that one would immediately pop to the forefront. But I'm sitting here on the LIRR on the way to work suffering not only from writer's block, but a complete dearth of ideas as well, so let's explore the question.
What would a favorite ride contain? Obviously it would have all the "perfect elements" good weather, no flats, you wouldn't lose your chain. The company if any would be pleasant and travel at the perfect pace. No portapotties, no potholes, no cars, trucks or busses. No railroad crossings, no killer mad dogs. There would be no time pressure, the roads and paths would be yours to explore at your will and whim. Your campsite would be level and free of rocks, the night air would be crisp and free of dew.
The ride would be a journey! You would know you were leaving at the start, but you might not know where you would eventually arrive, or even when. You would however recognize it when you got there. The ride would pass, yet take the time to enjoy, all the wonders that exist in spite of civilization's best destructive efforts, and many that exist because of our best efforts. The road would be level and gently curved, unless there were hills that would almost defeat us, but not quite. The downhills would never have an intersection at the bottom, and every crest would look like something out of the Hudson River
Many of the rides I have enjoyed have contained bits and flashes of my favorite ride. Crossing the Hudson River at Bear Mountain, Making it to camp on Day three and not walking. Seeing Candice's smile when she rode in. Sharing our time together as people, not Dad and Daughter, just two riders.
Knowing each other as souls. The day the traffic on Sunrise Highway saw only my back as I sprinted from Lynbrook. My walk in the Surf at Montauk, the clams on the halfshell at the bar there. The patrons asking about my getup and choking on their beer when I told them I rode my bicycle there from Baldwin. Seeing my family cheering me into Boston on the first AIDS Ride, Seeing Lee break down in tears as she saw Candice arrive in Boston on the second.
I guess that I have been privileged to catch glimpses of that favorite, perfect ride. I have been privileged and thankful to feel that so far I haven't ridden it. That is why I still saddle up and ride out! One day when they close the book I will hangup the bike for the last time and I will hope that my favorite ride will have been my life.