In November, I am going back to Mineola, NY, where I grew up in the 1960s and ’70s*. It is a two-square-mile village (nothing fancy, mind you) built on the flat, grassy plains of Long Island, just a couple of miles from the border of the NYC borough of Queens and 16 miles from Manhattan. I am going to rent a bicycle (if that’s possible) and ride the streets where I first found joy Traveling at the Speed of Bike (perhaps folks in/from Mineola might be interested in my memoir, and the story I will add to the Epilogue after my visit). I am curious to see what’s the same, what’s changed, and what’s to come (maybe I can even get to a city council meeting). This little excerpt from the Village of Mineola’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan from 2005 gives me a glimpse of what the local thinking is about bikes:
Promote bicycle transportation: Bicycling is having a comeback with people of all ages, both for the freedom it confers on youth, and the good health it confers on adults. Mineola’s flat topography, safe neighborhoods and grid of relatively traffic-free side streets already create a favorable biking environment. These assets can be enhanced through dedicated bikeways on wide streets, as well as the provision of bike racks in schools and public parking lots and parks.
Folks in Mineola may be interested in what could become of a child who grows up riding a bike right there in the place you call home. Folks from Mineola from years ago may enjoy reliving that feeling of freedom we all experienced.
(I’m also hoping to do a photojournalism essay about my octogenarian father and stepmom at their weekly bowling league, but that will be a whole other story.)
* I’ve been back over the years (my dad still lives there), but I haven’t ridden a bike there since I was about 19. I’m now 54.