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post #727
bio: rich
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10/7/2009
14:19

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Traffic Free Bike Riding: Fun and Snacky

MS Bike NYC 2009
This past Sunday I participated in the big bike ride and fundraising event for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It was great fun.
But, first, I'd like to thank the many contributions that came from robots. Ya'll is awesomes. I ended up raising about $1850, which is a nice amount, especially considering I only had about 2.5 weeks to raise it in (Facebook is pretty handy for this kind of stuff).

Raising money and helping people is a noble thing, but this ride also featured some great experiences in terms of riding of the bike. Most of the ride was traffic-free in that they shut down the West Side Highway, the FDR, Harlem River Drive, and most excitingly the Lincoln Tunnel.


5am
The event started early, so I was up at 5am-ish, made some coffee and had a snack, and rolled out of the apartment at 6am. Sunday morning at 6am is a pretty quiet time as you can imagine - and a bit dark. I rode down to the subway station and waited for the train with 2-3 other bikers.
As a sidenote, it's a different crowd riding the train at 6am on a Sunday morning.

We disembarked in midtown and had to make our way over to one of the piers on the west side.
Riding though midtown at 6:30am on a Sunday is awesome. The streets were very quiet and the sky was just beginning to get light - there was something magical about it. As I neared the pier, more and more folks on bikes joined me until I ran into a large mass of people waiting to cross the West Side Highway.





Things I rode on and things I ate

The West Side Highway was fine. Flat and a bit rutty. I ate a banana. This part of the ride was fairly crowded and a bit precarious in some places as the slower riders were falling back and the faster riders were moving forward and the uber-timid riders who were scared of riding their bikes swerved in front of both groups.

At the southern tip of the island is the tunnel that connects the west side to the east side and that was a lot of fun - at first. People started cheering (you always have to make noise in a tunnel, right?) and we all started going a bit faster because it's downhill, but as soon as we hit the middle part where it kind of starts going uphill there was of course a fairly large wreck with a least a dozen people down. One girl looked like she was in pretty bad shape. Ouch.

Next we rode up the FDR. It has some small hills and is also rutty (rutty is my new favorite word) and the bike traffic got a little bit bitter. I had joined a team (Team Aardvark!) and we were all still riding together and had made it through the tunnel unscathed. On the FDR I ate a Cliff Bar.

After the FDR, we went through Harlem and then into Inwood Park where there was a nice rest stop. I had a peanut butter cookie. And another banana. I scooted down the northern section of the West Side Highway and made my way to Lincoln Tunnel.



Tunnel Two

I truly enjoyed riding through the Lincoln Tunnel. It was a good time.
In order to not have the same issue as everyone had in the other tunnel, they broke up the field and sent people through in smaller groups which was a great idea. I don't know what it is about tunnels, but zooming through this tunnel with all the other riders cheering and blowing whistles was totally fun. Extremely fun.
Really, I could have just done that part. I ate some odd mango fruit bar before the tunnel.


NJ
We were then in New Jersey. Blah blah blah. Some hills. Some nice views. More snacks. George Washington Bridge. Back to midtown. I then ate a hot dog.



Next Year
We should have a happyrobot team.
Who wants to ride?





I'll ride with you.

That sounds less crowded than the Five Boro, which I did last year. The scrum to cross the 59th Street Bridge took about a half an hour to navigate of shifting forward a little bit, clipping and unclipping. It was pretty boring, and then the steep climb up the bridge was pretty difficult.

Barreling down the FDR was quite fun, though, as was the Verrazano Narrows.
»stu ||  10/7/2009 ||  4:02:25 PM
okay, so exciting, bunch of things, here we go:

Boston's version of this got rained out 2 weeks ago which totally sucked. But Q and I were downtown the day before to watch a real-life professional "crit" around city hall. Awesome

I am with you for next year.

I was thinking of a Robot team too! I actually found a place that will make custom team Bicycle Jerseys for us . . . ROBOT jerseys! How awes
»klutch.xls ||  10/8/2009 ||  10:48:10 AM
oopse, got cut off.

last bit was about organizing a robot charity ride where we all ride our bikes to some middle point like amazing Hartford connecticut and we can raise money for something, like maybe Lupus and then have a beer and crash at HC's parents house.
»klutch.xls ||  10/8/2009 ||  10:49:30 AM
I do!!!
»pony ||  10/8/2009 ||  12:18:19 PM
robot bike jerseys = my life and some crazy complete circle of awesomeness.
»:r ||  10/8/2009 ||  5:11:39 PM



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