We rolled out from the Bicycle Habitat store on Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn just after 10 in the morning on Tuesday, an admittedly ragtag assortment of about 40 people on bicycles loaded down with donations headed for Far Rockaway in Queens. We were pedaling panniers full of flashlights, backpacks jam-packed with diapers and wipes, and bike boxes stuffed with blankets and coats, all of them collected at the Brooklyn and Manhattan locations of the store over the previous week.
As we made our way through the dense traffic of Flatbush Avenue, still several miles from the devastation on the Rockaway Peninsula, many people hollered out words of thanks and encouragement. Some smiled and shook their heads in disbelief. Some laughed.