Monday, December 17, 2007

'Tis the Season for Giving - Bicycles

xmas wheel

It's that time of year when we are reminded that giving is (supposedly) better than receiving.
In that spirit, I'd like to remind all you apartment dwellers that you can get approximately 4 square feet more living space - for FREE!
That bike's been sitting there untouched since July. It would gather dust, but you've been using it as a combo coat-rack/laundry hamper and it's buried so deep, you don't even remember what that patch of floor looks like.
Sure you could sell it on Craig's List, but haven't you been saying that since September?
Take back your space! You pay enough for it!

Here are some folks who actually want your used bike in December:

The nice people at Recycle A Bicycle will take your reusable bike and teach kids to refurbish it either to give away in exchange for volunteer work or to sell in one of their stores. They are happy to give you a tax-deductible receipt in exchange.

For a more political donation, go to The FreeWheels Bicycle Defense Fund "dedicated to providing the resources necessary to fight New York City's attack on the civil rights of bicyclists and assisting those arrested, ticketed, or harassed for bicycling."
They have non-profit 501(c)3 status.

Or how about Time's Up NYC's Direct Action Environmental Organization. These guys do a great deal of advocacy in NYC. Their free bike maintenance classes - held year-round in a space they are about to lose - have been a godsend for untold numbers of NYC bikedummies like me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Well That Sucks

I started a new job recently, which I find pretty traumatic even though all of my jobs have basically been in the same one square mile of Manhattan.
You have to figure out what subway to take - and where to stand on the platform to get to the secret exit that gets you closest to the side door of the building. What time you have to leave - in order to miss the worst of the crowds and not be late. Where to get food from - and how long they will take to get to you.
Are the elevators packed to bursting twice a day? Do they wax the halls at night? Is it freezing or broiling or both?
It's the little things that can make or break a new work experience, not just the salary, the perks, or the hours.
My new building doesn't allow bicycles.
Not after hours. Not via the freight. Not using the stairs.

This is a first for me. Everywhere I've ever worked let you bring a bike. And usually your dog, your six-foot tall purple friend Barney, and anything that wasn't on fire at the moment. I mean nobody ever cared. We had security, just not this kind of security.
So I looked it up, and this is what I found in the NYT...


Twelve flights of stairs. That's pretty serious.
The article is also from 1895. (See the whole thing here)
Apparently bicyclists and buildings have been having this problem since the first person tried to bring a bike inside for safekeeping.

Lynette Chiang at Bike Friday has been doing an interesting study where she tries to enter NYC Office buildings with a folding bicycle to see if she'll be turned away.
With a FOLDING bike. And LEGALLY. And she still has problems.
See her study here

I guess everyone knew this was an issue except for me.

It's not a problem today. The sleet and snow is keeping all but the hardiest (craziest) bicyclists off the streets, but I am going to want to start riding in at some point.

I'm concocting a plan. We'll see how it works.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CrashStat 2.0 is Online

Bicycle and Pedestrian advocacy group Transportation Alternatives
just launched a new and improved version of CrashStat - a web site which maps the locations where bicyclists and pedestrians have reported being hit by vehicles.
In some ways this is just another collection of information that is going to get used by proponents of one agenda or another to advocate less cars, more bike lanes, no bikes allowed, whatever their "thing" is. On an individual level, this map is already useful for me.
It's pretty easy to leave the house with a kind of WTF attitude about biking in NYC. You know that "I'm biking where I need to go and Fuck You Too."
The sheer number of collisions along the routes I take normally isn't surprising - it's just eye-opening.
I love my bike, but maybe a little more caution wouldn't hurt.
It certainly wouldn't hurt as much as a broken leg.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Biking to a Different Beat


This has nothing to do with my personal experience of bicycling. But I'm always telling people who bitch about trying to bike in traffic in NYC that there are a million different ways to enjoy riding in this city.
It doesn't have to be about exercise, or efficient transportation, or 'being green'.
It can be about exploration, or community, or I guess, even about rockin' the beats.

This is an excerpt from today's NYT.
For the full article, go here.
For the phat photos, go here.

Published: November 29, 2007

A new biker gang is roaming the streets of Richmond Hill, Queens. This crew of mostly teenagers can be seen riding along 103rd Avenue just west of the Van Wyck Expressway. The bikes roar, but the booming sound has nothing to do with engines — because there are no engines. They are ordinary bicycles, not motorcycles, although these contraptions look and sound more like rolling D.J. booths. They are outfitted with elaborate stereo systems installed by the youths.

“This one puts out 5,000 watts and cost about $4,000,” said Nick Ragbir, 18, tinkering with his two-wheeled sound system, with its powerful amplifier, two 15-inch bass woofers and four midrange speakers. It plays music from his iPod and is powered by car batteries mounted on a sturdy motocross bike.

The riders are of Guyanese and Trinidadian background. In those countries, turning bicycles into rolling outdoor sound systems is a popular hobby.

“It’s really big where I come from in Trinidad,” Mr. Ragbir said. “When I first came to New York, I started with two little speakers. People here thought I was crazy because no one here has really ever seen it, except maybe for some Spanish dudes with a radio strapped to their handlebars.”

He added: “People say, ‘It’s the next best thing to having a system in a car.’ But it’s better because you don’t even have to roll down the windows.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cyclists Get Bridge Path. Now, How to Get to It?

(Quoted from the New York Times)

New York City's bicyclists love the newly restored bike and pedestrian pathway over the Manhattan Bridge. Really, they do.

But in the five weeks since the path opened, most cyclists have concluded that reaching it from the surrounding streets ranks somewhere between a headache and a nightmare -- even worse than the gnarly Brooklyn-side approach to the Brooklyn Bridge, which requires crossing as many as 15 lanes of traffic.
Cyclists riding south on Bowery toward the bridge have no direct approach to the entrance, and on Friday, a crossing island was also cut off by illegally parked police officers' cars.

Mr. Primeggia said that while difficulty reaching the bridge was not ''identified as an issue'' during construction of the path, the agency was investigating after complaints from Transportation Alternatives.

My favorite thing about this article?
It's publishing date...

August 6, 2001

To read the complete article, go to The New York Times Archive

Monday, November 19, 2007

Manhattan Bridge Update



This is the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge Bike Path from the Brooklyn Side. Once you find this and cross it, it's a breeze. There's a fancy new on-ramp, and the North side is (technically) only for cyclists.
Of course, this street is the entrance to the BQE in one direction, the Brooklyn Bridge, in the other, and, if you'll notice, cyclists are asked to ride in the cross walks because they couldn't engineer a safe route onto and off the bridge that allowed us to ride as vehicles.
This means that you have to merge into traffic from the sidewalk.
The Manhattan side is much worse.
I've been riding the newly re-opened North side for a month now and I still can't figure out how to safely and legally get on and off the bike path.
It's great that the path is open, but this trend of patchwork bike paths and lanes with no thought to how cyclists access the routes is going to get more and more people hurt and killed rather than making it safer to ride.
If we are in traffic, then we are traffic.
Making cyclists unpredictably ride to the left, to the right, on sidewalks, and then merge with traffic is a tragedy that isn't waiting to happen. It happens every day.

I was posting only yesterday about my ride across the Manhattan Bridge.
My use of the word 'suicidal' was meant to be ironic, but in light of what happened to Sam Hindy, it's not a joke.
Sam encountered a different issue from the one I'm describing, but I think they are all connected.
Traffic patterns that make no sense lead to accidents.

(Quoted from the NY Post)

A DAD GRIEVES: Devastated father Stephen Hindy (left) says son Sam was an avid cyclist. The 27-year-old was killed when he fell from the upper deck of the Manhattan Bridge yesterday.

November 18, 2007 -- A man whose father co-founded the Brooklyn Brewery was tragically killed in a freak bike accident on the Manhattan Bridge when he fell more than 20 feet from the upper roadway onto the lower section of the span, police said yesterday.
Sam Khaled Hindy, 27, and a friend were headed to Brooklyn when they accidentally rode their bikes onto the upper part of the bridge reserved for automobile traffic at 11:50 p.m. Friday.
When they realized they were in the wrong lanes, they turned to go back to the entrance of the lower roadway on the Manhattan side, where bicycle and pedestrian paths are located.
But as they made their way back, Hindy struck a barrier, sending him flying down onto the lower roadway through a split in the bridge, landing next to a car, police said.
"A bicycle hit the right side of my car. I didn't see the guy. I thought it was garbage bags. He didn't hit my car, he hit the street," said Joachim Romage, 62, who was driving his 1995 Toyota Avalon across the bridge at the time.
"I was so shocked. How can someone riding on the upper level flip over?"
Hindy was rushed to New York Downtown Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m. yesterday.
Noah Budnick, of the cycling advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, said the entrance to the bridge's bicycle path has long been a problem because it is not clearly marked.
"The traffic is so thick around the bridge and the street grids are so confused that without a map or experience, it's understandable how someone could be misled and end up on the roadway," he said.
Stephen Hindy said his son - who had recently moved back to New York from Boston and worked as a computer engineer for the Internet advertising company DoubleClick - was an avid bike rider who frequently rode between Brooklyn and Manhattan, although he usually went across the Brooklyn Bridge.
to read the complete article go to the NY Post
Or see related articles: Bicyclist Killed in Fall on Bridge
Son of Brooklyn Brewery owner dies in accident

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Path to Tofu


Oooh - Sexy!

Yes, It's the bicycle specific lane on the Manhattan Bridge.
Check it out. Bike icons in both lanes. Woo Hoo.

Of course, I did see about 5 people on foot on the North Path, but who cares. As the weather gets colder, fewer and fewer people cross the bridges any way.

The approach on both sides is suicidal and takes you through some of the worst streets to cycle on, but it's so nice to ride across the river without fear of hitting or being hit by random tourists, kids, sightseers or joggers on the Brooklyn Bridge Footpath.

I love riding on the Brooklyn Bridge, but sometimes the crowds get to be too much. The Manhattan Bridge leads right into the heart of Chinatown, and the best fresh tofu in NY - I only almost got killed three times on my way there.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

You See, I See

There is endless talk on the web about sharing the road - something New Yorkers do not do well. These 'talks' inevitably lead to anger and vitriol - something New Yorkers do very, very well.
There is a movement to ban bicycles on the Brooklyn Bridge, a movement to ban cars in Lower Manhattan, and a movement to add more 'people barriers' to crowded crosswalks. We've been stratified by our preferred choice of movement - 4 wheels vs 2 wheels vs no wheels and apparently no one sees the need to ride a mile in the wheels of another.
As a pedestrian, I've always hated bike messengers and all drivers of vehicles - always getting in my way and forcing me to break my stride, or horrors, actually stop at a corner.
As a driver/passenger, I'm convinced that all pedestrians and cyclists are blind, suicidal maniacs who actively must push each other off the edges of the curb like penguins testing the water for killer whales.
And as a cyclist, I've discovered that, though no one has seen fit to share the secret of teleportation with me, pedestrians have developed the ability to materialize from nowhere, forcing me to either hit them, or get run over by the cab that they've just hailed.
This schizophrenic experience of the world has lead to my new fascination with the concept of 'context and perspective'.
In other words - How do you see the world versus how do I see the world?

You (probably) see a fairly empty street.

I see a bus that will ignore my existence and push me into the pitted, pot holed half lane that is bounded by a jagged mini - cliff of extruded asphalt on one side, and delicate piles of broken glass on the other.


The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and the line is always moving faster at the other register, but in cycling, my chosen lane is always better than the one you are trying to push me into.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

As seen in...Brooklyn Heights


This Pug has seen more of New York City than most people I know.
He's also got better manners than most people I know.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Green Half Mile Parking Zone

I'd like to give a shout out to the First Presbyterian Church just past Clark street, in Brooklyn Heights, for guaranteeing the failure of the city's experimental bike lane paint job.


Throughout the week I find the lane blocked by occasional parked cars making drop-offs or pick-ups from the church, but it's on Sunday when they really shine.


After all, who in their right mind would want to use a bike lane on Sunday morning?
I guess if I'm not in church I must not count.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Lazy Cyclist's 2007 NYC Marathon

I heard about a ride that starts at the base of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and follows the route of the NYC Marathon from a guy that I met during the Twin Lights Century. It sounded great. A quick guerrilla-style spin through NYC taking advantage of the closed streets and festive atmosphere.
I really meant to do it.
But instead, I did the Lazy Cyclist's NYC Marathon.
Need instructions?
Go out the night before. Drink wine (South African - very good)
Wake up late.
Tune in late to Marathon Coverage on TV and miss the start.
Realize that everybody's favorite male equivalent of the 'dumb blond' weather girl - Al Trautwig, is doing the commentary and curse the fates that made you interested in sports that the networks deem worthy of 'wacky Al'.
Turn off the sound and marvel as Paula Radcliffe dominates the women's race from beginning to end.
Feel guilty.
Haul your ass onto your bike and go cheer on some stragglers.
Finish 26 miles in 02:16 - not bad considering the traffic was murder.

Not much going on on Fourth Ave. by the time I got there, but they still wouldn't let me bike on it

Aside from the insanity on Fifth Ave. in Brooklyn, the ride was lovely. The weather was crisp and slightly overcast - technically perfect for riding.
I cobbled together a 'cool weather' riding outfit and set out to do my 26.
Life was pretty good until I hit the shore bike path. There, riding into a nice chilly headwind coming off the harbor, I discovered that my fingers and wrists get chilled where they are exposed, my lips chap, my nose runs, and I get cold crotch. Fingers, lips, nose... these I expected. But cold crotch? Is there such a thing as too well ventilated ergonomically designed sports equipment? Those of you with gender specific bike seats may know what I'm talking about here.
All I can say is, every once in a while, I'd hit a gust of wind, and 'Oh Daddy!' - Yowza, I have got to work that out if I'm going to be riding in chilly weather.

My version of a water stop.

Congratulations Martin Lel, Paula Radcliffe, and the 38,000 runners in this years NYC Marathon. Hell, I can't even run for the bus.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Fear of Speed

or...why you should always post when you think of something and not wait until later when the point is moot.
Earlier this summer, I thought about devoting a post to my fear of going downhill.
But I didn't.
I just couldn't get myself to go downhill at faster than 25 mph.
This may sound completely wimpy to you 'hammerheads' out there, but I am fully convinced that at high speeds, my rickety bicycle will shake itself into little pieces, disintegrating beneath me, and then throwing me unceremoniously to the pavement below.
This fear is compounded by the fact that I'm still learning how to maintain my own bike. Every time I touch something on my bike, I'm convinced it's going to come undone.
It's not that I'm completely uncoordinated, and it's positively not that I don't know how to use tools. I can do my own electrical work, but I am still learning the subtleties of how my bicycle fits together. The vague, 'tighten until not too loose but not too tight' instructions in every bike maintenance book should just say - 'it's trial and error stupid'.
Also, where in heck do all you bike people do your bike maintenance? I live in an apartment. There's no room.
Back to going downhill.
Twenty Five MPH is a nice round number, and my fear of it had a nice ring to it.
But then the Monmouth County Century happened, and in a classic case of necessity being the mother of invention, I broke the 25mph barrier.
I just couldn't worry about it. I was tired and cranky and the hills were too big not to take advantage of every iota of downhill momentum. I didn't even notice that it happened. I was going through my Cat-Eye after the ride and at max speed, for the first time ever, it said 28.5 mph.
Woo Hoo.
I was riding around Prospect Park the other day and as I came to the nice smooth downhill on the south side of the park, I dropped my hands, put my head down and watched my speedometer. 22...23...24... around this point I would normally give my brakes a little judicious tap, just to keep myself under my self imposed speed limit, but today, I was feeling daring. Zoom Zoom, let's go. 24.5...24.5...24...23...22...Huh?
All this time, and I never knew. I can't freewheel faster than 25 mph on that hill. It's not steep enough and I'm apparently not heavy enough. Guys blow by me all the time on that stretch of road and now I know why.

It's not that I've conquered my fear. I still feel like my bike is going to fly apart, I just start feeling the fear at a higher speed now - and I guess I have to find another hill.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Psychology of Bunnies

Shhh, Be Vewy Quiet. I’m hunting Wabbit.

The endless miles of the Twin Lights Century made me think about many things (100 miles alone through suburbia will do that to you). Snack Availability, Roadkill, and Bunnies were very popular topics.
I like a good bunny better than most cyclists – probably because I ride by myself so much, and the century provided me with an opportunity to really categorize what made a bunny good and what made a bunny bad.


A ‘good’ bunny is going the same way via the same route at a slightly faster rate than you would go by yourself.
Their bicycle should be more expensive than yours and have more gear attached to it.
(You should feel good to be keeping up with them, not embarrassed to have your ass kicked by the deli delivery guy.)
They should be wearing bright, easily identifiable clothing.
Fluorescent green, electric blue and shiny psychedelic designs are all good. The more unique the better, so that you can distinguish your bunny from other riders and objects the further away from them you fall.
There are few feelings more satisfying than losing your bunny only to spot them a mile or so later as the road curves in the distance. They need to be wearing something bright for this to be possible. White is not a good choice – there are a lot of white things in the world and as you grow tired, you may begin to mistake these objects for your bunny causing bouts of depression and sadness.
A good bunny rides predictably and lawfully.
It’s no use following someone who randomly speeds up and slows down for no good reason, only to blow through six lane intersections while cursing the honking traffic every time they miss the light – unless you like to do this too, in which case good on you both and I hope you don’t believe in Darwinism.
A good bunny does not acknowledge you until one or both of you has reached your destination.
Even if they are alone too, it’s weird to try to form a little temporary team based on a randomly shared pace. I try to keep far enough back so that my bunny doesn’t even realize that I’m there. On a country road, this can mean keeping back a few hundred meters.


And then there were none. The turn off to the 100 mile route spelled the beginning of a long stretch where I saw very few other cyclists.

I need bunnies when I ride long distances. I’m not interested enough in keeping track of my own pace to stay consistent without other riders for context. I start to daydream. I stop and take pictures. I go into a low gear to climb a hill and then forget to switch out of it.
I don’t normally think very much of it. After all, who cares really? But the Century had a finite time limit, and I have to admit, it did stress me out a little.
I really didn’t feel like missing the ferries to go home and end up sitting on the pier in NJ for hours. With that in mind, I figured that I needed to keep pace with at least the slower consistent riders. Averaging 14 mph with rest-stops would get me back in about 7.5 or 8 hours, just in time for the 4:30 ferry home.
I’m slowly discovering how these things work, and I guess the start will always be a little nervous with faster and slower riders all mixed together trying to shake out into some kind of organization. It’s a little hard on the ego, but I am not a 22 mph over 100 miles rider, and those guys are going to pass me never to be seen again.
I picked up one set of bunnies for a couple of miles, and then another set after the rest stop. I got “wheel sucked” for the first time in my life by a guy who had been dropped by his group at a light.
Boy is that annoying. I mean follow me, fine. But don’t crawl up my ass for 8 miles.
Then, at mile 30, it happened. I picked up these two guys in bright blue matchy matchy jerseys, and comfortably slotted in a couple hundred yards behind them. I followed them for almost 40 miles, until they split up at a rest stop and the one I stuck with took a wrong turn. 40 miles with the same bunnies – how cool is that? I saw one later at the last rest stop before the finish, and I almost broke the no contact rule, but I thought better of it. I mean, what was I going to say, “Hey, I was following you for 40 miles, I just wanted to say ‘Hi’?”
My last bunny was more of a buddy than a bunny. The last 20 miles of hills were every man for himself and I was keeping pace with one other guy until that last hill that I just couldn't make it over without walking. This last hill highlighted a basic difference between my philosophy and his; I hate having to walk my bike up hills, but I'll do it. He refused to dismount on the hill and I passed him while he was recovering. He waved me by and I saluted. I beat him to the finish by 10 minutes.


Adding insult to injury. The sign at the top of the hill that I didn't make it over.

Monday, September 24, 2007

2007 Bike New York Twin Lights Century


View of sunrise over Coney Island from the deck of the SeaStreak Ferry, en route to the start of the 2007, Bike New York, Twin Lights, Monmouth County Century. (You'd think with a name this long it would be a bigger ride than it is, but more on that later.)

I don't know why I decided to do this Century - maybe to prove that I could, maybe to see what it felt like to actually ride 100 miles instead of survive the 100 which is how I felt about the NYC Century, or maybe just because the days are going to get shorter and every opportunity for a beautiful ride seems like a good idea.

The day started well. The forecast was perfect for a ride and I made it to the pick up point at Pier 11 with time to spare.

The SeaStreak Ferry runs to NJ year-round, but this route gets busy during the summer when smart city dwellers run away to the beautiful, clean, uncrowded beaches at Sandy Hook State Park. The ferry ride itself was beautiful and relaxing. I chilled out for the 45 minute ride, and even had a cup of COFFEE.

The start was two minutes away from the ferry landing in Highlands NJ. The sun was up. The day was looking grand. All was right with the world.


The longer distance riders all looked pretty homogeneous. Not that there weren't many colors of people, but not that many different 'types'. Everyone was riding a 'nice' road bike, there were one or two exceptions to the spandex, but we stood out like sore thumbs, and the median age felt like it was about 45.

I checked in (again) and went to get my 100 mile cue sheet. Considering how few people there were, it seemed chaotic at the start. The nice man who I asked for the 100 mile cue sheet, kindly offered me a 50 mile sheet in case I wanted to back out. I very nicely declined and even resisted the urge to drop-kick him for patronizing me before 8am.

I set off down the road, a little nervous about riding in a completely unfamiliar area, but that's one of the best reasons to do these rides - they are plotted, planned, marked, and fully supported, so if you run into trouble, you've got help coming.

I arrived at the Oceanport Rest Stop with a group of riders who left at about 8am - and it wasn't set up yet.
I have no idea what the 7:30 riders did, my guess is they just skipped it. It was only about 10 miles in, so fine.
Got to the Sunnyside Rest Stop - and this is where my memory fails me because they all melt together at a certain point - either here, or at the Shark River Rest Stop they had no water. No Water. I filled my water bottle out of a sink that said "Please, only use sink to wash hands". I'm assuming (mostly because I didn't get sick) that if the water wasn't drinkable, it would have specifically said - "Don't Drink The Water". As it was, the water was warm, I was unhappy, and the rest stops were about 20 miles from each other - out in BF NJ, so water seemed pretty important.
Oh, for those of you who wanted a PBJ - I took the last half they had. Sorry.

Somewhere around the 70 mile mark, I saw my first marshal. He asked me what I was doing so far behind him and I commented that if he was supposed to be sweeping the tail of the ride, I had just left a large bunch at the last rest stop. No idea what that was about. The he asked me how I was enjoying the ride. I said, "Eh".
I thought I was just being cranky at the time.
Don't ask me if I'm enjoying myself at mile 70. Until 50 or 60, I'm usually feeling pretty good. More than 60 miles is where the Century turns into more than the average ride for me and it becomes work. Like a work horse, at about 85 miles, I can smell the stables and start sprinting for home. Between the two, I'm cranky.

The total climb for the 100 is 4,058 feet. Most of that falls into the final 20 miles.


I made it almost all the way to the end and then had to walk the final hill at mile 100 that led past the turnoff to the ferry landing.
There's a sadist laughing somewhere in Monmouth County.

The Twin Lights Century is much much smaller that the NYC Century and I'm not sure if that's the problem, or if that's what makes their lack of preparation even worse. I have much more respect for the organizers of the NYC Century now than I did when I rode it. It's tough to get it together the way they did and the Twin Lights proved that.
I saw one marshal, no SAG wagon, and spent at least a half hour wandering around various rest stops looking for some water to drink, or something that wasn't a cookie to eat.

In the end, I didn't enjoy this as much as the NYC Century, but it was a good experience. It made me think about what I like about biking, and what I'm less than fond of.
I don't like going around in circles. I like seeing new things. I like to focus on a goal. I don't like hills. I like drinking cold water. I don't like mealy cookies. I liked the parkour aspect of the NYC century, I was less enamored with the 85 of 100 miles through suburban NJ.

This has nothing to do with how the ride was organized but man, New Jersey People, what is it with the roadkill? I saw so much roadkill that I'm surprised there are any living things left in Jersey. For a while I was keeping count and making up modes of categorizing the different types, but I gave up at about 35 carcasses and shouldn't a whole deer count as more?

I would absolutely do this ride again, but either I would only do the 30, which is a lovely loop around the most picturesque areas, or I would try to talk someone into going with me. It's just not interesting enough to do alone.

I finished in 8.5 hours including rest stops and missed the 4:30 ferry by minutes.

Friday, September 21, 2007

No Floyd, No...

Say it ain't so Floyd Landis.

"Landis’s Positive Doping Test Upheld"

September 21, 2007

More than a year after winning the 2006 Tour de France, Floyd Landis lost his lengthy, costly and very public doping case yesterday when an arbitration panel upheld charges that he had used performance-enhancing drugs to win the race.

I'm so depressed, I don't even want to talk about it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Boys vs Girls

It really is ‘OK if you don’t love me’.
I know there is a God for Margaret.
and I learned everything I ever needed to know about sex
from Judy Blume.
(I still can’t meet guys named Ralph and not laugh like a character out of Family Guy.)

But apparently, I still haven’t figured out that boys and girls are different.

Ladies, no matter how repulsive you find the apparel designed for female cyclists – and for Pete’s sake, it’s ugly. Don’t buy men’s jerseys and think they will fit.
They don’t.
I’m sure there are some exceptions to this rule. After all, some women look good in low-rise jeans. Not as many as think they do, but some.
Jerseys are different.
Women’s jerseys are cut to flare over your hips so when you lean over your handlebars you don’t moon the universe. Men’s jerseys are ‘elasticized’ to make up for their lack of hips. This means that fat guys look fatter, and women look like misshapen potatoes.
I, of course, learned this by purchasing a quite lovely jersey the other day from the men's sale rack. I don’t have ‘bike clothes’ and most of the stuff I’ve seen is just embarrassing. I saw this perfectly plain jersey and thought now that I’m riding a lot, I should give it a try. Maybe there’s something to all this specialized gear?
Well, I still haven’t figured that part out.

(It’s not called bike dummy because I’m a brain surgeon.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

As seen on... Roosevelt Island


The ruin of the smallpox hospital at the tip of Roosevelt Island is one of my favorite 'urban decay' landmarks in NYC.
Known as "The Renwick Ruin", it was built by James Renwick in the 1850's to serve the victims of the smallpox epidemic that was sweeping the country in the days of the Civil War.
Renwick was famous for his Gothic Revival structures, of which more than a few have been designated as NYC landmarks. These include; Grace Church, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the Greyston Conference Center in the Bronx.
I love biking to the tip of Roosevelt Island. You can take a bike over on the tram from 60th street in Manhattan, but it's much more satisfying to use pedal power and come across the connecting bridge from Astoria at Vernon Blvd. and 36th Ave.
It's one of those great hidden places where you are at the center of it all and yet, are almost always alone. From East to West, there are spectacular views of LIC, the Williamsburg Bridge, the UN, and Sutton Place.
The view of the ruin, glowing eerily on the shore of the island, has mesmerized many a New Yorker over the years. I've always been jealous of those who have been inside - but not jealous enough to jump the fence.

For more info on the ruin go to The Roosevelt Island Historical Society.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

There's got to be a morning after...


Happy Birthday Neil.
Great Gig.
I should have gone home, but I didn't.

Don't drink and bike.
(It's not called bike dummy because I'm a brain surgeon)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Almost perfect, Prospect Park


This was going to be an entry about how beautiful today was. How much I love this weather. How great it felt to get back on my bike for the first time since the century. But instead, it's back on my soapbox I go.
Today is Saturday, right?
There are no cars allowed in Prospect Park on weekends, right?
Saturday is considered part of the weekend, right?
So how come every single time I turned down onto the East Drive I got passed by a car?
Now, don't go blowing this picture up to report the license plate on this car. This one was just unlucky to get caught on camera by me. It was the other 8 or 9 that got me steamed.
The first one, ran right up the asses of these two kids on BMX bikes and honked at them to get them to move. Another one honked at me as it blew by doing about 30 mph. The others just scared people who didn't expect them to be there.
There is a special place in hell reserved for motorists who honk at cyclists.
I can hear you, OK?
I am not the one who is hermetically sealed in a metal box with air-conditioning running, a radio blaring, and my face permanently attached to a cell phone. Before you ran up behind me, I was enjoying the quiet sound of the wind and the click of my wheels.
I don't want to be in your way any more than you want me there. I will move over as soon as it is feasible. You do not see the pot hole on the shoulder or the glass in the road.
If you have come up on me too fast for me to react, then surely blowing an airhorn at my back and surprising me, will make me more capable of getting out of your way.
Give me one good reason why it is OK to honk at a group of kids who have the right of way in a park?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Green, huh, Good God Y'all...

What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again...


I always thought this was a protected parking lane that belongs to the Brooklyn Marriott on Adams Street - and apparently I'm not the only one.
I have never once seen this clear of cars and never once seen anybody trying to do something about it. Until they painted the damn thing puke green, I never even knew it was there.

To read up on the Adams Street bike lane, go to the Transportation Alternatives Magazine Archive
Here's an edited selection of what you'll find.

Dear Brooklyn Marriott:
I travel for business about twice a
month, and whenever possible, I stay at
Marriott Hotels. When I am not travelling,
however, I commute every weekday to my
Midtown office by bicycle via the Brooklyn
Bridge. This takes me past the Brooklyn
Marriott every morning at about 6:30 am
on the new Adams Street bike lane.
Frequently, taxis and car service limos
are parked illegally at the curb directly in
front of the Marriott; meanwhile, the Mar-
riott driveway is almost always empty. This
forces me and other cyclists to swerve out
into traffic as we pass the hotel. This is
extremely dangerous, exposes Marriott to


The Marriott replied:
Thank you for sharing your concern
regarding bicycle safety, particularly the
Adams Street Bike Lane.
Since the Bike Lane opened in late
1998, the hotel has been addressing the
problem you have mentioned.
...the New York Marriott Brooklyn has been
attempting to keep the appropriately
designated areas in front of the hotel as
clear as possible. However, our staff has
encountered verbal and attempted physical
abuse as we attempt to police the area...

Ken Schwartz, GM
NY Marriott Brooklyn

"staff has encountered verbal and attempted physical abuse as we attempt to police the area"

Whoa. How about the lone bicyclist who is trying not to get killed?


I've got a radical idea ... How about the Police police the area?

Before you get too excited about the fact that the Marriott and/or NYC is attempting to address this issue, keep in mind that the pictures were taken today...
and the letters were written in 1999.

Nuff said.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Green Half Mile


Daily News - Riders say abrupt end to bike path on busy road is dangerous
Brooklyn cyclists are seeing red over a new bright-green bike path in Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill.
Bikers and advocates said they have no problem with the brightly painted Henry St. path itself, which they said makes the lane stand out better and helps keep cars from parking there.
But they charge the popular new lane abruptly ends at Amity St., just south of Atlantic Ave., where Henry St. becomes too narrow for a car to safely pass a bike.

Brooklyn Heights Blog
..."why is the bike lane on Henry Street being painted such an awful shade of green? It’s hideous, and it seems more of a distraction than a safety aid. What gives?"

Kermit’s Bike Lane

hideous!!! and what precisely would make a driver think: green=cyclists?
it’d be so much clearer & safer if they just bother to actually repaint the bike-lane signage with fresh (& reflective) coats every now & then.
instead, idiot bureaucrats let the paint coats deteriorate & fade away, then decide (genius) to splatter the whole of Henry St in puke-green.

I haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet, but I am curious how slippery it will get when it rains (or is the paint not that thick?)

- I've been seeing so much stuff about this recently that I figured I might as well share a penny's worth of what's on my mind.

I hate the green bike lane.

(and here comes the other penny)

The flat all-over color makes it almost impossible to identify the many obstacles that they've arbitrarily painted over, like - manhole covers, inset utility access holes, and potholes. It's like navigating an obstacle course with night-vision goggles on.
It's slippery when wet - and not in a fun Bon Jovi way either.
The color hasn't changed motorist's driving (and illegal parking) habits in any way. By far the worst offenders stop in front of the First Presbyterian Church just past Clark street, and painting the lane hasn't given them pause.
For some reason, every Tom, Dick and Harriet, Yellow Rat Bastard T-Shirt wearing, we're too cool for helmets, cruiser rider, feels like the green lane should allow them to ride the wrong way down the street on it.

And finally, now that it's dirty, it's just FUGLY.

The scariest part of the Daily News Article?
"The green path is the first of its kind in the city. If successful, other bike lanes also will be painted, officials said."


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Follow the white rabbit


"I know why you're here, Neo. I know what you've been doing.
I know why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit at your computer.
You're looking for him.
I know, because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn't really looking for him. I was looking for an answer.
It's the question that drives us, Neo. It's the question that brought you here.
You know the question, just as I did."

"Who is The 0001?"

Ed DeFreitas
President, Five Borough Bicycle Club

Knock. Knock. Neo

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

2007 NYC Century - reflecting on the backside of 100 miles

First of all...
If you check the very bottom of my Sept. 8 entry, you will see this...
"Coffee should move to the top of this list. I don't think I can face 5am without a cup of coffee."
If you then go to anywhere in my Sept. 10 entry, you will notice that there is no mention of my solving this problem and finding myself a cup of coffee.
This is because, I rode the whole #^%*ing day with NO COFFEE!
2008, NYC century resolution #1
Never again will I attempt to ride this without a cup of coffee. I will not get freaked out about losing my group. I will just let them go. I will stop at the first place that has coffee, and I will drink it.
2008, NYC century resolution #2
I will NOT fold up my cue sheet, stick it in my trunk, and never look at it again, because I might learn something useful from it. Like that the actual length of the route is 103 miles - not 100. This may save me from future bouts of depression and anxiety when my odometer turns over at 100 miles - and I'm still not at the finish.
2008, NYC century resolution #3
I will try to read something other than the weather report, because I might discover that, oh say, Farm Aid is going on on Randall's Island, or the Race for the Cure is happening in Central Park - and I might not be so confused by what I perceive to be route changes.
2008, NYC century resolution #4
I will not be intimidated by or make snap judgments about cyclists based on their choice of outfit. Some of those spandex guys and hipsters turned out to be quite nice - And because of all the stopping and starting and traffic and obstacles, you never know who you are going to be grouped with from one minute to the next. I lost more people at red lights, only to regain them at hills, than I can count, and everybody, without exception, was friendly, supportive and non-judgmental of my own lack of fashion sense.
2008, NYC century resolution #5
I will make suitable offerings and blood sacrifices to the Gods of bike luck throughout the year in hopes that I do not become one of the hundreds of mechanical failures and blown tires that littered the course like bleached bones in the desert.
2008, NYC century resolution #6
I will remember that no matter how bad it hurts while I'm riding, when I'm done, popping 2 Advil and putting ice on my knees, is better than sex.
2008, NYC century resolution #7
I will ride again next year.

6:30 am - Depart 110th St.
8:45 am - Coney Island
11:00 am - Flushing Meadows
1:45 pm - Astoria Park
4:00 pm - Van Cortland Park
5:00 pm - Arrive 110th St.

Total Time - 10.5 hours
Total Miles - 107 (I don't know - that's what the CatEye says)
To see the route, click on the map to go to

Go To Bikely

Monday, September 10, 2007

2007 NYC Century - There I Went

Slow and Steady did not win the race.
But I did finish my first century.

For all my planning and list making, I was too nervous to sleep. I felt the beginnings of a cold coming on on Friday which I promised myself I could have later if it would just go away until after Sunday. Instead, it put me in bed for most of Saturday which made it really difficult to get to sleep (as opposed to bed) at a reasonable time.
I awoke before my alarm, walked my very confused dog, picked up my carefully prepared bike bag, and then decided to ride to a different subway stop because mine is a little lonely at the best of times, and I don't count 5am as the best of times.
I was already running late - and I hadn't even left Brooklyn.
There were a bunch of cyclists on the platform, and many more on the train. I ended up in a conversation with a guy on a mountain bike and no helmet who said he was going to ride the 100. He was very polite, and kept insisting he didn't need a helmet, so I gave him some safety pins for his number and wished him luck.
By the time we all managed to haul our bikes up and out of the subway, it was 6:15 am and I was not feeling too happy with myself. Considering how little sleep I got, I could have been there by 5. Starting on time didn't seem too much to ask.
I got myself a cue sheet, stuffed it in my trunk and took off with a bunch of other late arrivals.
My first surprise was the long swoop down Riverside Drive. I don't know why I thought we were going through the park, but obviously, we weren't.
I wish I'd taken a picture of Times Square at dawn. There is something refreshingly sleazy about Times Square when it is empty that the tourists and the Disneyland gentrification have stolen from it over the years. Sort of like catching the prom queen on her early morning walk of shame.
The early parts of the ride were frenetic and full of moments of panic. I was riding with people who were much faster than me, and the effort it took not to get dropped at every light was making me wonder how I would finish the 100.
A lot of the people starting early seemed to come from bike clubs. Lots of hand signals and yelling 'Clear' and 'Passing'. Endless clicking in and out of clipless pedals at stoplights. I'm not used to riding in a group, so the argot was both strange, annoying, and oddly compelling. Fairly quickly, I was joining in - pointing at holes, signaling turns, and motoring along a little faster than I would have gone on my own.
Ain't peer pressure grand?

Crossed the Brooklyn Bridge as the sun was rising, curved around through Dumbo, and then off to Prospect Park.
The route through Brooklyn is very familiar to me, so I settled down a bit and found a more natural pace. I was getting passed a lot, but I no longer felt like I was getting 'dropped'.
I peeled off to use the rest room at Coney Island and for one shining moment had the early morning world all to myself. I didn't remember there being a generous number of bathrooms at the Canarsie Pier, and I just couldn't face the long lines. Ate bananas one and two, bemoaned the lack of things NOT made of chocolate, recognized a couple of people from the subway, and took off toward Queens.
The section through Queens was the least familiar part of the route for me. And now I know why.
I hate to say this. It's really quite rude. But...
I never want to see Queens again.
The ride into Flushing was beautiful.
In all my years in NY, I've never seen the Unisphere's fountains turned on. It is an awe inspiring sight. Flushing is about at the halfway point on the 100 mile ride, and I felt pretty optimistic about my chances. Brooklyn had seemed easy, Manhattan went by so fast, it was barely a memory, Queens would pass into the Triborough Bridge, and I would only have the Bronx to finish.
Oh, no, no, no.
Queens sucked.
Forest Hills. Jackson Heights. Richmond Hill. Are you seeing the pattern?
From Flushing to Alley Pond Park and back again to Astoria, all I did was ride up and down, up and down. Hills, hills, hills. I hate hills.
My lowest moment came in Alley Pond Park, where after what felt like miles of hills, I was finally flying down a long, steep, downhill to the rest stop, when I saw riders struggling back up the hill toward me. I realized at that moment that every foot I descended I was going to have to fight my way back up, and I crumbled inside. Things were starting to hurt, the day was getting hot, and that Godforsaken corner of Queens felt like the end of the earth.
I decided to call my family and friends to inform them that I would now be living at the Alley Pond Park Rest Stop - because there was no way in hell that I was getting back up that hill.
One powerbar later...
I decided to leave.
There's no use living at a rest stop where you have to wait on line to get a banana, and I was in no mood for a line.
So I took off toward Astoria in hopes that getting back on a recognizable route would perk me up.
Some parts of the ride back across Queens were lovely. There are stretches of waterfront promenade that are breathtakingly beautiful. However, there are also seemingly endless stretches of hilly, asphalty, sun beating down on you, cars trying to run you over, semi - suburban streets, that I am not likely to revisit anytime soon.
I arrived at Astoria park and was heartened to see some familiar faces. - Not that I actually knew any of them, but I kept finding and losing the same basic group of riders. - The bunnies to my tortoise.
Ate bananas three and four. PBJ number one and orange number three. Was momentarily confused by the sign that said, "55 milers - 5 miles to go. 100 milers - 28 miles to go. 75 milers - (scribble out) 28 miles to go."

I rode this part of the route on Monday.
It goes over the Triborough to Randall's Island, across to the Bronx, and then East across Bruckner Boulevard. I thought the 75 milers had been riding with us up until this point and were almost done.
Maybe delirious.
Went over the Triborough, which didn't back up as badly as I expected, but I think it probably sucked earlier in the day given that you have to carry your bike up and down three sets of stairs. Onto Randall's Island, and then - across the pedestrian bridge to 106th street?
Wait a minute.
This isn't how it's supposed to go.
But there are the green C's.
Pointing North.
Right smack into a Saint's Day Parade.

So, off I went, across the Willis Avenue Bridge and into the Bronx.
I really enjoy riding in the Bronx. There are some bike paths that are true hidden gems. But I was not enjoying myself this time. My back hurt, my left hand was going numb from clutching my handlebars too tightly, and all of a sudden, I developed a blinding, shooting pain in my knee every time I had to put pressure on the pedal to grind up a hill.
My odometer said 90 miles. I was almost home.
I fought my way to Van Cortland Park, dreaming of Advil and cold water. Ate bananas five and six, and orange number four. Compared odometers with a guy who got lost in Queens and somehow managed to shave three miles off the route. I was going to make it.
The volunteers were giving advice and pep talks. "Last rest stop before the finish in the park. Remember to use the rest room. Only eleven more miles to go."
My odometer read 96 miles.
How was that possible? Maybe my odometer is set wrong and I just never noticed because it's a cumulative discrepancy. Oh God. Riding 10 miles in pain is one thing. Riding 17 was way too much. ...But I had already done 6 of those miles. I only had 11 more to go. ...I was so close...How could I give up now?

That little voice is really annoying sometimes.

I saddled up and took off.
This time, there were no groups to go with. We were stretched out too thin, and the faster riders were already done.
I know this part of the ride really well. Which is a good thing, because, going up a hill in Washington Heights, I had my first mechanical failure of the day. My chain slipped, and I tumbled onto a parked car. Some nice marshals made sure I was OK, and I hopped onto the back of their group and let them lead me back down to the park.
110th Street seemed like a foreign land. Bright and crowded, with blaring music and daytime park users. It was like crossing the international date line and landing the day before you left.
I saw the guy whose classic Italian racing jersey I had admired in Bayridge, and the kid who I passed in Flushing riding what looked like a food delivery bike, complete with metal basket. There was the 'hotter 'en hell' chick who left me in the dust at Alley Pond Park, and finally, the guy in the green t-shirt who I saw for the first time at 5:30 in the morning on the subway platform in Brooklyn. Just then, I felt that I knew them all.
I stood for a moment the the afternoon sun and wondered if it had all been a dream.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

2007 NYC Century - Here I Come

Ride Gear

º Bike
º Lock
º Cycling Gloves
º Shirt
º Shorts
º Socks
º Helmet
º Jacket
º Sunglasses
º NYC Bike Map
º Water Bottle
º Headlight

Bike Bag
º Patch Kit
º Spare Tube
º Tire Levers
º Multi-tool
º Mini Pump

Misc Items
º Advil
º Cell Phone
º Handi-Wipes
º Camera
º Confirmation Letter/Ride #
º Directions to Event
º Energy Bars
º Energy Drink
º Money
º Sun Block
º Bandana
º BandAids
º EyeDrops
º Chapstick
º Remember Rosie Ruiz Membership Card aka Metro Card
(just kidding, I wouldn't, really...I wouldn't, stop staring at me like that, I said I wouldn't!)

Things to do:
Figure out what is making that annoying 'clicking' sound.
Lube Chain.
Check air pressure in tires.
Find someplace in my neighborhood that is open at 5am on Sunday where I can get a cup of coffee.
Figure out how I am getting to the start. Am I riding? It's going to be pitch black at 5am and I am at least 10 miles from the top of the park.
Coffee should move to the top of this list. I don't think I can face 5am without a cup of coffee.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Rain, rain, go away

No, no, no.
No rain.
Not on Sunday.

If anyone knows an anti - rain dance, please start doing it now.
Better yet, if you teach it to me, I'll do it.

On a brighter note, if you missed today's bike snob nyc, go there now for a withering and hysterical skewering of mid-life crisis road bike culture.

Please God, never let that be me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

As Seen In...Hell Gate


Built in 1917 by Othmar Ammann, and engineer Gustave Lindenthal, the bridge over Hell Gate is more properly called the New York Connecting Railroad Bridge.
Ammann was also the builder of The George Washington, The Triborough, The Throgs Neck, The Bronx Whitestone, and one of my personal favorites, The Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
Le Corbusier once called Hell’s Gate the most beautiful bridge in the world.
I love the view of this bridge from the bike path on the Triborough - I just wish the stairwell leading to the path on the Bronx end didn't stink so much of shit.

Monday, September 3, 2007

I See Cs

I went out for a ride, and look what I found.
They've marked the roads for the upcoming NYC Century and I couldn't help myself. I started following the green C's up through Brooklyn and then on to the Bronx before I came to my senses - and started losing the sunlight.
I'm getting less freaked out and more excited as the day draws closer, and today's little test run was actually a lot of fun.
It was pretty easy to follow the route - even without any kind of map, although I did run into one WTF? that has to be the result of financial or political route gerrymandering.
Right after crossing the Pulaski bridge into Long Island City, the route takes a quirky turn down to Gantry Park for one block of teeth chattering cobblestones before it returns to 5th street. I mean, Huh? Is that necessary? For a view of the mega-condos and the back of the Pepsi sign I have to dismount off my bike or risk a flat? Whose bright idea was that? Seriously, it's a detour to one stinking block on the waterfront. Anyway, I think that part is on the 55 mile route, so if you are riding that distance on skinny wheels, look out.
I picked up the 100 mile route at Astoria Park and followed it over the Triborough and into the Bronx. I knew I didn't have enough time to do the whole loop of the borough and make it back home to Brooklyn before the sun set, so I bailed in Sound View and set out for the University Heights Bridge. I saw one green C in Inwood, but I was heading for the bike path, so I let it pass.
Those things are like popcorn. You want just one more before you go home.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Who doesn't love the onion...

PARIS—A small but enthusiastic crowd of several dozen was on hand at the Tour de France's finish line on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées Tuesday to applaud the efforts of the 28 cyclists who completed the grueling 20-stage, 2,208.3-mile race without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs.

"It became most difficult for us on the 7th stage, which was almost 200 kilometers and the first stage through the mountains," Kvistik said while accepting the non-doping victor's 100-franc check from his stretcher. "Not only did the excruciating pain and weakness in my legs make it difficult to walk my bike on the steeper stretches, it was mentally very hard to know that half the other clean riders were dead or dying."

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Little Hell, A Lot of Heaven

Oh Wow.

I set out to find the South County Trail again.
I keep hearing that the Putnam Trail is in fact paved and passable on a road bike, but considering the mini - disaster that was my last attempt through Van Cortland Park, I decided to give up on that for the moment. I skipped riding through the park entirely and stayed on Broadway heading north.
I think I can honestly say that the stretch through Yonkers is the most miserable I've been on a bicycle, without actually falling over. The traffic is terrible on Rt 9. It's all buses and potholes and cobbles and exhaust and then - hills. Hills, and hills and more hills.
I think I've mentioned that I hate hills. I'm not a triathlete. I'm not in training for the tour de Georgia (don't even get me started on that name). I ride for fun and because it's a great way to explore my surroundings. Ok, I mean there is a great deal of personal satisfaction in achieving goals and feeling healthy and strong, but I don't go looking for things to climb over.
Up and down, up and down, the wind whipping into my face off the Hudson. In the words of the inimitable Bob Roll, I was "Doing the PaperBoy".
I forget who he was describing when he said that, but unlike me, I think that rider bonked while climbing an alp.
I thought about bailing out, but I knew I'd just be pissed the whole way home.
Long story short, I found the entrance to the South County Trail at Barney Street in either Yonkers or Hastings - on - Hudson. It runs right between the Saw Mill Parkway and Saw Mill River Road - and it is heavenly.
Paved, shaded, tree-lined, smooth, picturesque and a complete and total surprise to me. In classic Bike Dummy form, I used to live about a third of a mile away from this path when I got out of college - and Friday was the first time I ever saw it.
I felt like I could go forever.
Unfortunately, I got a late start, so I started to lose the light around New Castle. I had just enough sun left to take a slight detour around part of the Croton Reservoir, dive down to the Mount Kisco Metro-North train station, and head home.
view across the reservoir to the
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Research Center at Kitchawan

If anyone knows of a more pleasant way to get to the trail head from NYC, I'd appreciate hearing about it. I'm not even sure where it starts on the southern end.
To see my route, click on the map to go to

Go To Bikely

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Buying Bike Stuff I Don't Need

Living in NYC means that I worry constantly when I leave my bike unattended for even a minute - even though to most people it looks like a POS, this bike means a lot to me. Keeping it whole means carrying around heavy locks and taking every removable object off my bicycle when I do something as simple as going to buy a soda in a deli.
I've learned my lesson the hard way - more than once.
The easy answer would be a backpack, but I really hate biking with a bag on my back. It just takes the fun out it.
With that in mind, this spring, I bought a
Trek Interchange Trunk Pack
so that I wouldn't have to mess around with crap velcroed to every tube on my bike.
I love it.
Except that I put the matching quick release rack on the commuter bike and kept the Blackburn rack on the road bike.

Months of velcroing later... I finally decided to swap them last night. I mean, it's no big thing. Just unscrew the bottom of the racks from the rear wheel hub and then the bent metal part from the seat post clamp. Then, swap 'em. Right? Wrong.
I have now learned that the shiny metal things are called "brackets". I know this because, my bike is 20 years old and the screws on my seat post are a bigger than the ones that fit the Trek rack and are bigger than the ones that fit every set of brackets sold at the local bicycle shop.
I did discover a new bike shop. (new to me, that is)
Sid's on 34th street was very helpful and they offered to drill out the hole on the brackets for me to make them fit. It's always nice to discover a bike shop where they don't give me attitude for either a: being female, or b: not being a serious enough biker for them to care about.
While waiting for the mechanic to do the modification, I also helped myself to:

1. A new set of bike gloves. (mine have been through the wash too many times, no really...)
2. A nice red jersey. (on sale! 25% off)
3. A tube of mechanics grease. (it's "the king of lubes")
4. Custom drilled rack brackets with all the screws. (so I know they all fit)

I really only 'needed' one (1) hex nut and bolt to replace the one that is rusted and stripped on the old Blackburn Rack. It's the only part that I couldn't just take off one bike and re-mount on the other.

This habit of buying 'stuff' that I don't really need is why I've got the one mile = one dollar rule. I can buy anything I want. I just have to have biked enough miles to cover the cost.
I better hope the weather is nice this weekend. I need to put in 110 miles just to break even.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Henry Hudson D'Oh

New York is an amazing city. I've lived here all my life and I still discover something new every day. Bicycling has added tremendously to my knowledge of the city and the surrounding areas, but recently, I've had a run of frustrating bad luck.
One of the reasons why the city is so intriguing is that it is always changing. Stores, buildings, fads and causes come and go. Entire neighborhoods disappear. New ones spring up to take their place. Sometimes it feels like every night the city folds in upon itself and unscrambles into something new by morning.


I took this while crossing the Broadway Bridge at the top of Manhattan. The point in the distance is at Spuyten Duyvil - one of my favorite named locations in New York. According to Wikipedia, some of the origins of the name are Speight den Duyvil, Spike & Devil, Spitting Devil, Spilling Devil, Spiten Debill and Spouting Devil. Meanings include "Spinning Devil" or "Devil's Whirlpool" or "Spite the Devil."
I thought it would be nice to return via the Henry Hudson Bridge - the bridge at Spuyten Duyvil, but instead, I ran into this:


Closed, closed for repair, re-routed, non-existent. I've had some strange Karma going on that's drawn me to every fenced-off, under construction route in NYC, but this was a first - you can get on it - you just can't get off on the other side.

Monday, August 27, 2007

As seen in...Canarsie

The Good - Spectacular view from the Belt Parkway Bike Path.

The Bad - Fence blocking the Belt Parkway Bike Path

The Ugly - Head-on collision right in front of me while trying to get around the construction and back to the Belt Parkway Bike Path in Canarsie.