Bike paths need tending


To the Editor:

I have always felt the bike paths on M.V. were a great idea, especially considering my chances on the road against those big steel things they call cars, as well as drunk drivers and old geezers who don’t see too well. Anyway, finally reaching the grand old age of 67 (I take the geezer exception), I awoke one morning (it’s really been longer than that) feeling exceptionally overweight, bones aching, especially my right knee that I hurt taking a simple but high step a year or so ago. In general, I felt like crap.

Thinking back some 40 years past and how much I enjoyed simple biking, and considering that I still drive a motorcycle, I thought my balance should probably be pretty much intact after all those years. So, into the storage shed I went looking for that old bike I purchased new back in my younger years. There it was, a little worse for its age and covered with dust, but still looking like it could be ready to cruise. A little air, one new tire, WD40 on all the moving parts, soap and water to shine it up, and the old bike stood proudly, as it had some 40 years past.

Yup, I was ready to venture out on those great M.V. bike paths I had ventured so many years past. At this stage of my life I didn’t dare wear spandex. Can you imagine? So I opted for something warm. The day finally came — sun was shining, breeze was light (I remember how difficult it was to pedal against the wind and figured that would be a lost cause at this stage of my life).

Anyway, off I rode; my balance appeared to be reasonable, hearing stinks, but I can get past that. Crossed the state highway and off I went feeling pretty good as I started my cruise down one of the Vineyard bike paths. Some of those old pains started to disappear while I began taking deep breaths my lungs had forgotten were needed. Free as a bird I felt, as I shifted into high gear, when all of a sudden, bump, bump. Geeezzzz that hurt. Then another bump, bump, bump, that hurt more than the first one.

Now I was beginning to notice the disrepair along those great bike paths of ours. Huge bumps from undermining roots, some all the way across the width of the path, fissures two inches wide, bump, bump, bump.

Hey, look, I’m not a kid anymore, but I’m making a reasonable effort to make my life better. I will not ride on the road as I’ve seen too many mistakes by drivers, cell-phone users, magazine readers, drunk drivers, and otherwise in my ripe old age. I’m not ready to pack it in just yet due to some idiot on the road. I would, however, like to enjoy the bike paths without sending shock waves all the way up from my feet to my derriere every couple of minutes. I often see many bikers on the road lumbering along much the way I do and wonder why they just don’t use the bike paths, if for any reason simply for peace of mind. Well, I now know where part of the problem lies. Would someone please tend to this asset we call a bike path and improve the damage where it exists? I am sure there are many more year-round bikers who would appreciate the effort and just maybe it would help to clear the highway a little.

Don Macdonald

West Tisbury