As summer slowly emerges from its nine months of hibernation, so do all of the visitors. It’s hard to recognize the change of sleepy Cape May in the winter to the endless hustle and bustle of this unique little summer town. The orange flashing traffic lights that lined Beach Drive in the winter turn to an alternating red, green, and yellow as the streets begin to fill with people and cars.
While some may think that not having a car at 18 years old would be such a hassle, I absolutely love it. I’m lucky enough to live on the island so I’m always just a matter of minutes away from the action. As traffic circles down alleyways and side streets in a ravenous hunt for parking spots, I simply park my bike at any pole or bike rack that I can tie my chain to. There’s no better way to get around. When cars are stopped at red lights on Beach Drive or jammed up as pedestrians cross the street, I get to keep on riding past them (after looking both ways, of course).
By day, a bike allows me to zip past insane amounts of traffic, but by late evening, it becomes a form of transportation that takes me to a peaceful state of mind. Whether I’m biking with friends or riding on my own, it gives me a moment to slow down and take everything in. In cars we tend to go so fast that we don’t often observe, we’re just looking out the window for a second and then getting distracted. So often I find myself running around from place to place on the beach, getting food, and going back and forth at work. When I get on my bike, all of that is left behind.
My favorite time to ride is in the golden light of the late afternoon or at night. It is in these moments that I feel invincible. Not because I’m a teenager and we all think that we’re invincible at this age, but because everything seems so much simpler from the perspective of a bike seat. Riding around on the streets of Cape May when the glistening light illuminates the tips of foaming waves or cattails dancing in the breeze makes me realize that it’s these little things in life that are the most important. Sitting on the beach with friends, watching the sunset, or even sharing a slice of pizza are the moments that truly bring happiness. Not iPhones, new clothes, or those $200 Ray Bans.
In our world of endlessly racing cars and technology, a bike allows me to take a step back from it all. Spinning down the quiet gem of Second Ave with my mind relaxed by the rhythmic clanking of my pedals, there seems to be no better way of seeing Cape May, and life, through a different perspective.