Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Five Boroughs of New York

Saturday afternoon I met some internet people from other sites and didn't get back to my hotel till midnight. Not much sleep at all because of the excitement. (and maybe the wine). I met Tic Tac and her hubby for a very late lunch at the oldest pub in NYC. I had one of those famous $16 hamburgers we hear about. A couple of beers, a couple of Pinot Noirs, then Mike arrived. Mike and I talked about his cross country bike ride and time seemed to stop. Until we hear a phrase I hadn't experienced in years. "Last call guys", yelled the bartender. Oh, oh. I still had to catch a ferry to Staten Island, then a 30 minute bus trip to the hotel.

The rocking and rolling of the ferry kind of leveled things out for me after so much time in the pub. The bus ride in the middle of the night, in a strange city, only able to keep one eye opened, was interesting.

Read Mike's journal HERE

My quitsmokingjournals.com friend Tic Tack.

A little after 6AM Sunday morning I found myself in line for the Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan, where I stood with a few thousand other bikers.

We did the crossing standing with our bikes and arrived at 7:30.

Got in the pack in Manhattan, and soon after, heard the beginning of the ride, (around 8AM). I crossed the START LINE at 9:40.

It took forever to get to Central Park because of the stops. We began refering to the day as the Five Boroughs biathlon. 20 miles riding, 20 miles walking.

Central Park

Luckily I had met a couple of guys from Philly who had great attitutes about the whole thing. It was contagious and I soon caught on, that in New York, chill out. I lost them at the first rest stop and decided to picke up the pace from there on.

Entering Harlem

59th St. Bridge

View from 59th St. Bridge

Entering Queens

Refueling at rest stop

It was funny to see tourists, (they broadcast their state on their shirt), who were looking to cross the Avenue of the America's and see bikes to the horizon in both directions. One little kid saying, "where is the end of this thing?".

While in line waiting to cross the 59th St. bridge I got a call from the Mike (The kid I closed the pub with). It was 11:30 and he had just finished the ride. I still had 25 miles to go.

I had not been to New York since the Worlds Fair in "64". This is really a great way to see the whole city. Be sure to bring a bag of patience. After crossing the 59th St. brige we rode under the Brooklyn Bridge. That was really neat. I kept thinking about the movie "Kate and Leapold" and the builder of the bridge bragging this his was the "biggest erection in the country". I stopped for an ice cream there and took in the sites of the bridge and the city across the river.

Brooklyn Bridge

Near the Hasidic District

View of City from Brooklyn

Riding through Central Park, over the Harlem River into the continental US and back. (Manhattan is an island). Through Brooklyn and the Hasidic district where all the little kids were cheering us on. Soon off in the distance was the monster. The Verazano Bridge. People began moaning about the climb, how difficult it was going to be. Since I was in the "family section" of the ride, I was visualizing lots of people walking across the bridge. There were, but if you expect a really tough climb, you will be disappointed. I was in the small chain but still 3 or 4 gears up.

The Verrazano Parkway

Last rest area

Verrazano Bridge on ramp.

At the end of the ride, it was back in line again for the 30 minute 150 yard walk through the festival grounds to the back entrance. Then it was back on the road for the 3 mile ride to the car. A group of little girls, screaming and pointing to their home made sign. "ONLY TWO MORE MILES". To the Ferry area and my car. A five hour ride home capped of a very long day.

Over the shoulder shot of the final 3 miles

The final mile

If you want to see NY in a very unique way, do the 5 Boroughs ride. Get there early if you want to go at speed. If you are in no hurry, get in the middle or back of the pack. It takes a while to get going, but it's well worth the wait.

If I go next year, I know how to cut hours off the ride with a creative beginning.

The day of the ride, I left my car at 6:15 AM and returned to it at 3. It was a long time for a ride of just under 40 miles, but it was a 40 miles to remember for a lifetime. Smile


Crys said...

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!!! I loved this. Absolutely loved it. I'm so glad that you did this ride, and I got to live it through you! Thanks so much!!


Anonymous said...

Very nice report, thanks for sharing your pictures.

Rodney Crater said...

I went one Christmas to New York with a friend when I was in college at Michigan State. I really enjoyed NY. Thank you for bringing back the memories. You have a nice blog and you live in a beautiful area.

Anonymous said...

cool blog. crazy, its a small world, i was able to make out my brother and my friend in one of your "waiting to get into central park" pics. Also, thats cool that you met Mike aka "chickenlips". i did the transam way back in the summer of 91 and followed Mikes trip in his journal last summer and send him a few encouraging emails. I'd love to meet the dude one day, seemed pretty cool.