Another round of photos from each job location:
Of all the threats to cyclists on the road, I found New York City buses to be surprisingly safe. Sure, they are big, and that bigness takes a while to get used to. But unlike cab drivers or just about every other vehicle on the road, their operators generally seem to follow a defensive driving orientation. By that, I mean that they are in the uncommon habit of looking for cyclists or pedestrians before changing lanes or pulling into the street. Though not always: a friend was recently hit by an MTA bus, which knocked him out and broke both his clavicles and some ribs. He ended up spending several days in the hospital and still can’t remember what happened. So I guess it’s more accurate to say that buses are safe until they hit you. Here I am, delivering food that is hanging from my handlebars, undoubtedly headed for some rich person’s luxury apartment.
Cycling in Russellville, Alabama had its own dangers, foremost among them the unbelievable amount of roadkill. If you look closely, you should be able to see the outline of a large animal on the opposite shoulder. If memory serves, that was a dog. On the near shoulder, if you really zoom in you can see a dead armadillo. I should point out that I took this photo only because I thought it humorous that a “Welcome to Russellville” sign was located in a place that seemed to imply Russellville didn’t exist, as there’s nothing beyond the sign for miles. I didn’t even notice the roadkill in the shot until later. While riding to and from town, which was 7 miles from my trailer, I would pass dead deer, dogs, armadillos (tons!), cats, raccoons, and other unidentifiable creatures. Russellville apparently doesn’t have any roadkill clean up program, so animals slowly bake in the sun and decompose of the shoulders. I was successful in avoiding every animal but one, and let me tell you: riding over an armadillo carcass on a bike is not pretty.
I like this photo because it captures the beauty of the lechugero and the complexity of a head of iceberg lettuce. As you can see, the heads of lettuce in the field look very different from what you find in a grocery store. A lettuce cutter’s job is not only to stoop over and cut the head, but to trim it using his knife and hands so that the outer leaves fall. This is a real skill that takes time to develop: by my second month, my back could handle the stooping, but I lost valuable seconds when trimming. It wasn’t until my final two weeks that I was fully able to keep up with the rest of the crew, and by that time I was getting ready to move on.