This year, I will be doing “something new.” I have chosen a “theme.” I will be blogging about biking adventures. This will include riding tales, travel, stories, absurdity, insanity, adventure, and hopefully a little humor and nonsense mixed in; my favorite topics.
By Zulu Delta
There was a time. There was a highway. There was a bridge. There was a river. Now the highway is gone, and so is that bridge, but the river remains, and a new bridge has “popped up” in its place; except, it’s for pedestrians and bikes, or maybe just pedestrians. The future is not clear in these critical matters of cycling existentialism. Hahahahah; who writes like that? Such literary nonsense; but so much fun to type! I’ve probably written that before, but I amuse myself!
Years ago, U.S Interstate 195 used to weave its way through downtown Providence, R.I. “The Powers That Be” much like the fictitious Vogons in the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy building a “bypass,” decided this section of the highway would have to be torn down and re-routed for the good of the people! Progress MUST be made!! The section was literally scrapped as most of it was overhead steel work.
What was left, were some concrete piers built into the Providence River bed that once supported the framework of the overhead Interstate/Freeway/ Highway/Expressway/ The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. Whew!!!
Let’s skip ahead for a minute. Yes, the bridge pictured above is the bridge that “popped up” in the dust of the previous structure. Flat out (no pun intended), this bridge is spectacular! It’s warm and inviting; built of stainless steel guide wires and mesh, Brazilian Wood, and tracks of colorful LED lighting. It has places to sit and wonder, and gaze out at the skyline of Providence. Magnificent, right John? Invoking poetic justice, it’s an Architectural refugee straight out of Tom Wolf’s book “From The Bauhaus to Our House” boldly screaming “not everything designed and built, in modern times, is crap!”
So, what’s the problem Zulu? Well, here’s the problem. At the moment, bikes are not allowed to “ride” over the bridge. You can walk your bike, OR be confronted by either a hired security guard or the Providence Police and told to “dismount.” To throw in one more unnecessary “pop” reference (lifted from The DaVinci Code), Job 38:11-‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.’ That’s right, I tested this urban totalitarian myth and found out it was no myth at all. Before I knew it, I was standing still with my bike at my side.
Wow, Zulu, you almost sound slighted? Ah, YEAH! I’m a cyclist; getting crushed between the soul-sucking, appropriation stealing, automobile complex (yes, I have and drive a car….but, not in this blog), and the “up-right, bi-pedaled, slow-moving populace; pedestrians. To add insult, this bridge was designed (with bikes permitted) and built with Federal Funds, as the original land, air and sea “rights” of the Interstate, were owned and operated by the U.S Government. Salt anyone? The original design/build budget was $3 Million Dollars. Nine years and $22 Million Dollars later, I can’t ride my bike across a span that is literally, within the possibility of a “stone’s throw.”
“We’re” told that the bridge is so popular, despite the cost and build over-runs, that it’s just not safe at this time to allow rolling bikes. Time will tell if this structure opens it’s heart and deck boards to the Spoken Friends or remains “A Bridge Too Far.”
And what about the Jamestown and Newport Bridges………..aw, forget it; I’m too worn out!