Wednesday, May 26, 2010

RUNNING THE FOUNTAINS




Over the years, I've owned a bunch of ten-speed bikes, generally beat-up old wrecks that would hold together for a year or so, then wind up being replaced. I went everywhere on them, shopping, to work and classes, but the best times on them were when I ran the fountains.
Picture a warm summer night, when one just can't get to sleep, and there's nothing on tv, and staying indoors is suffocating...I'd find myself racing down the back stairs, to where Aragorn, or Kato, or whatever bike I had at the time was chained, unlocking my steed, and pedaling into the night.
My first stop might be Library Park, on 10th Street, for a sip or two from their ancient bubbler. From there, down a darkened Washington Avenue I'd fly, northward, to Veteran's Park-their fountain was new, sheathed in stone, and ice cold. Farthest north was Muni Pier, or Hot Waters as it's called, for another drink and a view of the lake at night.
I'd turn westward, for a visit to Lakeview Park, coasting slowly as I waved at the cruiser patrolling, then up to Leavitt Road, turning south, to Columbus Park, stopping for a rest on the bleachers, and more water.
I'd crisscross the sleeping city that way, visiting Central, Oakwood, Pawlak, Subway, all the parks and their drinking fountains until, like a vampire on two wheels, I'd race the sunrise home.
I own a mountain bike now; I ride it to church, or the library sometimes...I'm a wee bit out of practice, as I haven't ridden in twenty years. Still, that 25 year old in my head still climbs on his bike some nights, and goes riding off after the fountains of memory.

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