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post #731
bio: rich
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11/10/2009
12:18

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My 2009 Bike Review review of biking. In 2009.

NYC is a lovely bike town
Why did I vote for Michael Bloomberg for mayor? Lower crime rate? Maybe.
The fact that he once listed under his hobbies: “I’m a bachelor millionaire living in NYC…”? Could be.
Bike lanes? Yea, that was probably it.

Holy crap I love our bike lanes here. It seems like every time I go out I come across a bike lane on a street I hadn’t seen before. It’s like (The War on) Christmas everyday!


So, this is my 2009 Bike Review review of biking. In 2009.
(why am I doing this now? i don't handle the cold well on bikes. too much runny nose. so the season for me is ending.)

Favorite things!
Properly inflated tires
Bike lanes
The MS Bike thing (or really, riding through the Lincoln Tunnel)
Riverside drive
Chinatown
Fifth Avenue from 23rd to 10th
The Silver Comet Trail in the ATL
Riding down the middle of Chambers Street
The snack bar at the bike shop in Fort Lee, NJ
The small hill in Prospect Park
The “garden” at the Fast & Fresh deli where they don’t mind if you roll your bike through the store and park it in the garden so that you can eat your tacos and torta and drink your beer with your bike safely nearby (I usually get my bike a taco as well).


Least Favorite things!
The west side path in Manhattan that is usually just stupid crowded
Other cyclists on the Brooklyn Bridge
The George Washington Bridge. The path up to Washington Heights. The ramp up to the bridge. The bridge. The wind on the bridge. People on tandems on the bridge.
The lack of bike lanes when you come off the 59th Street Bridge.
I own a stupid looking bike (as far as the dumb stickers they put on it)
The fact that hot dog carts seem to only sell, um, hot dogs. And not pretzels. Or Cliff Bars. Or bananas. Or tacos.


My favorite ride of the summer
Sunday and Monday were unseasonably mild and warm, so I got to ride both days. On Sunday I did my “encompass a lot of my favorite things into one ride” ride – AKA the “ride 35 miles for a snack in NJ”.

Start at my apartment. You don’t have to do that, but that is usually where I start. I ride towards the Manhattan bridge, go under it and take the new shiny bike lane that is on Sands Street and get on Flushing – which is usually not busy and is flat and you only have to dodge hipster kids riding two or three abreast and getting honked at (it's part of the Great Hipster Silk Route). Hang a left and wave at the Hasidic guys in their minivans on Kent. Kent, like Flushing, is a very easy street. Straight and flat and crazy new over-the-top bike lanes populated with girls on bikes (when I was a teenager and rode my bike all the time I never ever saw girls riding bikes).

You wind through Williamsburg and then up into Greenpoint. I follow the bike signs and turn onto to Eagle Street to get on to the Pulaski Bridge. Eagle Street always reminds me of my childhood as that was the name of our town’s roughest street – if we were to believe what our teachers told us. That one street that always seemed to have a lot of people loitering on it at all hours. Now I am sure it’s all co-op groceries and smoothie shops. Also, on this Eagle Street is a family that is always out unloading tremendous bags of aluminum cans from their van. Say hi to them (um, not really (although I am sure they are nice)).

The Pulaski Bridge takes you over to Queens (bourough of dreams… Queens) and then into Hunters Point where robot’er Mina used to live. Have you seen that park they now have in Hunters Point on the river? Holy moly – it’s sweet. I hadn’t been there for a few years and was shocked at how quickly they had thrown stuff together. Go check it out and have a picnic.

So, now you have to make it up to the 59th Street Bridge which is fine, except the way I go takes you by the Tom Cat bakery, which will just kill you if you are hungry as it is two blocks of baked bread smells.
The 59th Street Bridge is pretty good bike bridge. It doesn’t seem to get crazy crowded and the views are awesome. The issue is that it kind drops you in the middle of midtown without a lot of bike lane protection so you have to fend for yourself. If you are Mrs. Robot, you’ll hate this part and curse your husband who seems to think it is all very fun.

Eventually, I make it to Central Park. It’s pretty but the tourists can be crazy so I usually just cut through the park and head west on 72nd - which may be the best couple of blocks in the city. It’s a big wide avenue and the traffic is surprisingly light compared to other crosstown streets and I can usually fly down the middle of the street and act like an idiot.
At this point, I roll down the hill to the bike path on the west side. It has some spectacular views and a very nice hot dog cart guy, but it can be super crowded and annoying until you get towards the GW Bridge and it quiets down.


Oh, the GW Bridge. I don’t really like this bridge. Getting up to it from the bike path is a pain and then getting onto the actual bridge involves this super narrow path with these tight corners. Once on the bridge, the bikeway is a nice size but is broken up every 20 feet or so with bridge supports that make the path narrow, and then there are the tight turns around the guard posts. Whatever. The GW Bridge is the last major obstacle in my pursuit of snacks.
Snacks! Once off the GW bridge, you go north less than a mile to the bike shop that serves espresso, baked goods, and sporty snacks. Yay. Snacks.
Now, at this point, if you know this area you are thinking, “he just turns around now?”
I do turn around at this point even though I know about all the cool stuff to ride around and see, but I don’t plan these things very well and am usually running out of time. Also, I’m in NJ.


OK. Back to Manhattan. Across that damn GW Bridge. Annoying. Once off the bridge, I usually take Riverside back downtown because that is one pretty ride. At 72nd street, again I roll down the hill and for some reason get back on the west side bike path, but this time headed south which tends to be even more annoying. I jump off the west side at Chelsea piers and wind through the city and eventually get to the Manhattan Bridge (my favorite bike bridge).

That is my favorite ride for 2009.


I live on that Eagle Street now, right by the Pulaski. Let me know when you're going by, and I shall throw cans at you. Or join you.
»stu ||  11/10/2009 ||  12:38:59 PM
Rich, could you add a like button to your post?

I'm glad you are back on the bike. It gives us something in common...other than having hot wives.
»jason ||  11/12/2009 ||  10:07:44 PM
Hot Wives!
»:r ||  11/13/2009 ||  10:40:04 AM
(that is my favorite Bob Pollard song)
»:r ||  11/13/2009 ||  10:40:20 AM
i want to come with you next time.
Also, I was a teenaged girl who rode a bike.
»pony ||  11/13/2009 ||  9:38:35 PM



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