Pump up the tires, gain speed…

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Felt like I had a private cycling lesson yesterday.  The Crankees scheduled a training ride on our familiar trip beginning on the New Jersey waterside Henry Hudson Road about half a mile down from the GW up to the Palisades Interstate Park at Alpine and then getting on 9w to Piermont NY and back via 9w into Fort Lee.  I say private lesson as the turnout was me and JDRF coaches Cary and Jeff, both of who offered me much input and encouragement during the ride on my journey to be a ‘cyclist’.

I had the option of meeting up with Cary in Brooklyn adding about 15 miles each way to the ride which I decided to do to get in my longest ride mileage wise since I began training in early May with the group.  Cary is a fast well experienced rider and I anticipated either falling behind or shooting my energy on the early beginnings but I’ve been doing a lot of daily rides and building so felt it was worth the gamble.

I’ve had a few folks of late tell me my tire pressure even though it’s ‘felt’ right, was low.  And as noted in a previous post a bit of new instruction on my own valve faux pax as well as getting a long overdue floor pump so Friday evening I aired him up to the manufacture recommended 90psi.  I admit what felt right to me previously was misinformed.  The gain here that amazed me was how it affected my pace on Saturday at least on the run from Brooklyn to the GW.

We left Brooklyn a little before 7am and thanks to a minimally occupied Brooklyn Bridge were on the Henry Hudson Bike/Runner/Walker path in no time.  At that point Cary said get close to his bike wheel to ride the wind stream.  I was not able to confidently do this technique consistently but I was able to keep steady speed of @18mph with him for several miles nearly up to the 79th street Boat Basin.  This really surprised me, I’ve been steadily doing daily rides each morning in the park between long rides so some of the consistency was that but in the end I think it was the tires, go figure :)

So we cycled through the Boat Basin and turned off the path at 125th and up to the regular meeting place to pick up any other Crankees coming from other points, at the Riverside Church at 122nd street.  From there it was on up Riverside Drive, over a couple of traffic bridges, through Columbia Presbyterian Medial at 168th to Fort Washington to 177th, then right on Cabrini and left on to the bike ramp to the GW.

Other side of the GW we headed down to the access road to the entrance to the waterside Henry Hudson Drive which I’ve grown rather fond of in this trek.  It’s rolling minimal car road that plays between sun and shade winding along the edge of the Hudson.  There are two hill climbs on it one that’s not so difficult but the final is a killer for me.  It’s not so steep but it seems to go on and on though probably more in the mind.  I’ve been up it three times now first time I made it, last time I stopped for a bit then finished the climb.  This trip I was determined to get up it so the coaches were kind in humoring me and we hung out a bit talking about bikes of course :).  Then it was time to climb and so we did and you know the outcome.

At the hilltop we left the park and got on to 9w at Alpine with about 10 miles to go the waterfall and canal like pass through of Piermont, NY.  The road to the town features three descents that are great glides but what goes down must come up so on the return it presents climb-time but with all these climbs as any cyclist will say, is a great feeling of reaching the top and yes it’s a feeling of conquer.

The cruise in to Piermont is always fun.  You turn off of 9w in to the edge of Tallman Mountain State Park which the town borders between that and the Hudson.  The turn takes you down a sleepy road, a turn and a quick down hill leading you in to a curve and coming to a stop at Ferdon Avenue.  Ferdon turns in to Piermont Ave as you cross what I believe is the stream which flows through town Sparkill Creek which flows in to the Hudson.

We hung out for a bit at the traditional resting/coffee shop/bakery of Bunberry Coffee Shop where the Cinnamon Chip muffin has become a personal favorite.

We were soon back on the Piermont Avenue heading out-of-town and on to 9w towards Fort Lee.  As mentioned the return has three climbs getting back up to Alpine and arriving to that point is a good feeling of accomplishment.  We shared the road back with several groups of cyclists of which 9w is understandably popular.  I will say in anticipation of this trip I was feeling slightly bored like okay I know what to expect, not so much been there done it but I think on the surface I was missing a bit of the point.  That being it remains a good workout road as it offers good descents, good climbs, some traffic as you get close to the Fort Lee and when combined with the Henry Hudson Drive all grooms particularly if you’re coming from new to road cycling as I.

IMG_0686At about 12pm we turned off of 9w on to East Palisades Avenue and then on to Hudson Terrace which leads to the GW bridge entrance.  We have a traditional final rest/goodbye spot at Strictly Bicycles for those not going over to Manhattan which Jeff was not and Cary had started ahead of us so the journey turned solo.

I crossed over the amazing span of the GW, down the narrow bike entrance ramp and on to Cabrini.  I rode down Haven Avenue to Fort Washington and through Columbia Presbyterian, right on 168th and left on to Riverside Drive, all becoming second nature on a level.  I took Riverside down to 79th entered Hudson River Park and followed the walkway down through the underpass and right to a small descent path down to the bike/runner/walker path welcoming you to the Boat Basin.IMG_0689

The rest of the trip home to Brooklyn went well, some skirting of a busier attendance on the Hudson pathway but up in the day to be expected on a gorgeous summer day as this was.

I turned off the path on to Warren Street, over to Broadway, cheated a sidewalk jaunt up to Chambers, right on it and then on to the path entrance on the Brooklyn Bridge which was as the bike path now occupied.  Such a difference from 7am that morning, the town was awake leading me to joyfully holler as I rode across, ‘BIKER… BIKE… BIKE.. BIKER’.  But that’s the joy of the moment and welcome cry to all the tourists :)

Came down the path off the bridge leading to Boerum Place, crossed over Atlantic Avenue and left on Dean.  Then few blocks on right on to 3rd Avenue and to break up the slight uphill in to Park Slope zigzagged let on Union, then on to 5th Avenue for a bit then up to 6th and 7th and finally left up to home.  A great day, thanks to coaches Cary and Jeff and yes the air in my tires helped!


A reminder one of the purposes of my blog is to get the word out that you can support me raising money for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International) through the ride event I’m training to cycle in on November 22nd, the 2014 JDRF Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes, one of seven national rides held between late July and end of November to raise money and awareness for the advancement of research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes of which many strides are being made.  I have raised $3,360 so far and am nearing my goal of $5,000.  You can greatly help by donating at the 2014 JDRF Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes.  Thank you!

Lest we forget…

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Last Sunday I went on my second ride with the Five Borough Bicycle Club on a journey which had been created and charted by Shawn Carney to follow the path of General George Washington and his troops against the British through their battle trek through Brooklyn, billed as the Battle of Brooklyn Revolutionary War Ride!

Around 20 of us met up at Grand Army Plaza first receiving a total history lesson on what we were about to experience beyond the two-wheeled adventure.  Clearly our leader had done her homework.  Following the walk down the 1700′s and a bike check, we hit the road headed along Prospect Park West then turning down a side street for 5th avenue.

IMG_06405th led us down to Greenwood Cemetery entering at 25th street.  We dismounted at the gate and walked up to a pinnacle point with a direct view of lower Manhattan once a simpler time with British ships sailing in to the waterways of New York. IMG_0647

Following a description of the area from the standpoint of the colonial forces we were back to pedaling headed down towards the water via side streets of Sunset Park.

We emerged on to the Brooklyn waterside bike/runner/walker path at 67th street which I’d never ridden before.  The day was beautiful and the water front wind was up.  We followed this till just beyond the Verrazano Narrows Bridge circling up a short hill to 4th avenue in Bay Ridge and stopping at John Paul Jones Park for commentary and perspective on the battle progress.  I wished for my late father-in-law who would have quite enjoyed, having had a life in history chairing the University of Maine history department for many years of his professional life. IMG_0652

After few minutes there we were headed off towards Diker Heights with a destination of the New Utrecht Reformed Church on 18th avenue.  We learned that during the war this church had been used by the British as a hospital.

From here we mounted bikes again, headed towards Avenue P and on towards the Flatlands with a stop for lunch at Lenny’s rumored to be the place where the General had his first slice of pizza!  An unusual but tasty ride this was :)

Back on the road and headed for the oldest house in New York, the Wyckoff Farmhouse on Clarenden Road (1652).  We spent some time there hearing about conditions those folks lived in those days.IMG_0661

From the house we rode through a blend of neighborhood side streets and eventually coming in on the side of Prospect Part just before the zoo.  We moved inward to a somewhat forgotten monument once towering and visible and now more secluded by trees and away from the main flow of park visitors.  The single tower monolith with in stone the writing of General Washington, ‘Good God what brave men I will lose this day…’   A reminder of ‘our’ freedom as was the whole day, easy to move on with what seems more important these days but a reminder… IMG_0674

Next on the trail, leaving the park, cycling round from Prospect Park South to Prospect Park West along the bike green to 9th street.  We rode down 9th street to 5th avenue taking a right and going over to the Old Stone House another stance of the period, often these days occupied by school children and occasional artistic performances.  Here Shawn took us on a tour by map of our journey trailing the paths of the colonials and the British.  IMG_0679

Then it was down to 3rd avenue, over to Flatbush along a couple of ironically timely cobblestone streets that were uncovered by constructions.  Then across Flatbush on to Fulton and a side street Elliott I think over to the neighborhood of Fort Greene and Fort Greene Park, cycling up several small inclines to a high point for a remaining monument to forgotten prisoners of war perished at sea.

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The day was wonderful detailed and much preparation by ride leader/creator Shawn Carney who took what started as @20 riders back 300+ years to appreciate what was given for all we have today.  Due to other agendas, life, stamina, in the end as we hung out for a few minutes at Fort Greene Park we were 6 remaining.

We mounted our bikes, bid Fort Greene goodbye and headed back to our start at Grand Army Plaza to conclude our @33 mile trip through revolution history in Brooklyn and say goodbye till next time.  Thanks Shawn…

Tacos on the Beach!

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IMG_0536I had two very unique rides this past 4th of July weekend tallying @70 miles together. My wife Ann in her cycling pursuits happened on to a group of riders a few weeks ago assembling in a meet-up at Grand Army Plaza. Conversation ensued and led her to joining a local bicycle club, the Five Borough Bicycle Club.

I had recently thought about them and joining up as they have a number of rides every month throughout the whole year. Though my main focus is training with the JDRF Crankees I felt it would be good to have some other input along the way and just more the merrier cycling opportunities particularly in the winter months.

The holiday weekend was somewhat off in terms of training rides with the Crankees and Ann and I learned of two rides over the weekend with the 5BBC, the Rockaway Taco on Saturday and the Battle of Revolutionary War ride on Sunday. We signed on together for Saturday and I solo for Sunday.

Around 30 of us on Saturday departed Prospect Park Grand Army Plaza headed for theIMG_0519 Rockaways (Queens) (strip of outer beach beyond Coney Island near JFK). We rode out the edge of the park inner loop down the back streets by the intramural fields, through residential and over to Bedford Avenue following a straight shot to the ocean, down from Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay. We got on to the Belt Parkway Bike Trail and a few jaunts, briefly carrying bikes over a drift sand area to the trail leading to the Gil Hodges Bridge connecting to the Rockaways.

IMG_0524This was the first of three bridges to cross in this trip and of all the bridges I have cycled across in my training I found this one the most daunting though I kept looking forward as down which has not bothered me, suddenly did. The bike path was wide enough probably 6 feet, smooth protected on both sides but the span was long probably near that of the GW as it’s 4,000+ feet. What got me was there slim breakthroughs ever so many feet that you could see the open water below albeit all totally safe but still this magnified that I have some fear of height. But eyes forward and pedals moving and I was over and descending shortly onto Rockaway Point Blvd and Fort Tilden, then on to the boardwalk.

IMG_0533About 3 miles on down and we were ordering tacos at the famous Rockaway Taco which for me as I love Tex/Mex and anything related was the immediate allure of this trip :)

Fed and taken in a bit of the gorgeous beach we headed back via a loop that led us over the Veterans Memorial Bridge (much better bike path over for my money) and through the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. We crossed another bridge, the Addahbo though narrow was completely tame compared to the Hodges Bridge.

The return trip back from here was extremely creative to me, on to the Belt Parkway Bike Path again which both this trip and Sunday’s trip magnified how fortunate we are in New York to have so many bike paths. It’s seemingly abundant to me compared to many other urban areas I hear.

IMG_0539We rode along Erskine Street, the Gateway Bike Trail, Vandalia, Shenk, Cozine, Glenwood, Dewitt and several other streets leading back to Ditmas Park and eventually back to Prospect Park and our point of departure Grand Army Plaza, tallying 37.6 miles for the day.

Ann and I really enjoyed this ride which was led, creatively charted and hosted by David Meltzer and Eliz Peters.

Stay tuned next entry for a write up on the Battle of the Revolutionary War ride. Cheers to tacos…

Jim

Collected thoughts…

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I’m falling behind on posts but training and enthusiasm as well as sore muscles :) are going well and the JDRF fund-raising excellent! To date for the 2014 Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes, I have raised $3,260 and my wife Ann, also riding has raised $1,000.  Thanks to everyone who has given to help us support through this ride, JDRF’s research programs to further technologies such as the Artificial Pancreas Project, research in Beta Cells and continual pursuits in finding a solution until type 1 will be type 0 as the organization’s current moniker subscribes.

ImageLast weekend saw another return to the Jersey side of the Hudson with the Crankees, beginning on the below the George Washington Bridge River Road along the waterside park.  Now ridden this path twice I’m a fan.  It does have a daunting hill at the end but it’s still relatively quiet of cars woodsy shady ride that follows along the bank and gradually climbs top of the hill to Alpine and on to route 9w.

Along with Bob, Jeff G, Rachel, Jeff, Dan, myself, we were joined by three guest riders, veteran Crankees Joe Mure, Angelo Gurino and their friend Mike on Saturday’s River Road/9w ride as a co-promotion/recruit for a JDRF affiliated local July event on the 26th, the New York Families for Autistic Children/JDRF bike ride taking place in Howard Beach.  It was really great to have them come along with us and I’m currently planning to join them in their event on the 26th.

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Returning from Nyack

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Photo op, Piermont, Mike, Bob, Rachel, Jeff

Coming to the top of the River Road, we got on to 9w towards Piermont, NY again.  Going to Piermont on this route is great as you hit three really nice smooth downhills but coming back you get three still nice but challenging uphill :)

Arriving in Piermont, a sweet little spot with a creek like a canal flowing through it, some of us stopped for muffin enticement at the Burberry Coffee Shop and those not enticed kept pedaling the back road to Nyack and back to pick us up.

Reunited and refreshed we rode up the town hill to 9w back towards Ft Lee about 10 miles, the GW bridge and home to New Jersey for some and New York for others.  9w was relatively lite of car type vehicles and the weather for the day was great.

After crossing the GW to Manhattan myself, Bob, Joe, Angelo and Mike rode down the West Side bike path before heading our individual routes home.  I was encouraged to take the Manhattan Bridge which I’d been over once so found my way from the West Side to Grand and followed it through to China Town, then on to the bike path which was great.  Followed the graffiti lined bike ramp coming off on to Tillary Street.  Took that up to Boerum Place, followed across Atlantic to Dean to 3rd Ave and up 9th Street to home in the Slope.  Really good day, for me with the return home @55 miles.  Now having done this trip 3 times I will say I’m feeling stronger and growing in my cycling.


For the second week I have continued an early morning loop plus block away door to door ride that is working well as opposed to riding 2-3 loops then having an off day then riding again.  This is in my local park which the loop distance is 3.3 miles then I ride half the front bike path and a block back to the house, total distance is 4.6 miles which my time has been averaging 23-24 minutes.  Today I did it at 21 minutes which I credit to coming off the long down hill which generally I’m clocking 19-20 miles-per-hour and usually I’m arriving at the flat stretch in the top gear.  Of late I have been downshifting as I’m coming off the hill so I’m still keeping up a fair number of spins.  This morning I hit that flat stretch at about 18 miles-per-hour dropping down to 16 and managed to carry 16 for most of the flat stretch.  Not that this is a lights went on to my novice experience but it was a good observation and feels like something new in my ‘technique’ albeit novice.

So we have another Crankee run in the morning hosted by coach Jeff in New Jersey.  We are again riding up to the familiar Piermont/Nyack trail but he promises an exploratory scenic route so curious to see where this takes us.  Stay tuned to the next post.


 

Lastly as I introduced this article the fund-raising for JDRF which is the mission of the Tucson Ride that my wife and I are participating in, raising support to further research towards a cure, solution, technological advancement, all towards one day making type one type none.  To donate you may go to http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/JDRF2014TucsonRide and thank you.

Jim

 

 

 

 

 

Since Saturday…

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The view from the handlebars this morning looking along a stretch of the park.  I started a new routine this week following a great but bit intense ride with the Crankees this last Saturday doing the River Road from just below the GW and up to Alpine followed then on to route 9w and up to Piermont, NY and back.  The River Road had several good climbs which I needed.

Including riding home from our Upper West Side of Manhattan meeting point the ride was 52 miles which I felt a bit more spent afterwards.  Sunday I was going to make a rest day but decided to do 3 loops in the park.  I had been going with a pattern of ride day rest day but after doing those together I set on Monday to ride a bit before getting ready for work.  I was tight on time so I rode 1 loop.  I decided that perhaps at least during the weekdays that making a consistent loop a day baseline for my morning ride might be best as opposed to trying to fight my clock and squeeze in as many times around Prospect Park as I could which historically is what I have done aiming for 3+ each time.  My door to door distance (home a block away from the park) for 1 loop is 4.58 miles which I’ve done the last two mornings at 24 minutes.  Not anything to brag on but just an idea given morning time constraints at times that maybe a steady daily less/more as opposed to every other day and as much as I can.

Jumping back to Saturday here are a couple of pics from River Road.  It was really nice from standpoint of hardly any motor vehicles and quite bit of it shady which was good/not so good in that it rained the night before and there were some slippery spots at times with splotches of damp fallen leaves and debris albeit none bad just for me, cautious at times.  IMG_0412

As mentioned in my opening the road was fairly constant of rise fall and by end delivered several good hill climbs with one additional for me when I turned right when I should have gone left :)

 

IMG_0413We came out of the @15 mile (may be off here) near route 9w at Alpine, briefly stopped and discussed the rest of the ride on to Piermont.

Going to Piermont at this point is three fun downhills taking you to the entrance of Tallman State Park which a quite little country road leads you in to the quaint Hudson Valley town.

We rolled in to town, had a nice little break for some nourishment at the local coffee/muffin shop, made a group picture by a really big version of our nations flag and hit the road south to back to New York. Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 11.22.57 PM

A prologue shot along the Hudson River Park bike path as I entered the park to cycle down Manhattans west side and on to over the Brooklyn Bridge and home in Brooklyn.  I will add that in my current ‘cycling’ education I have been enjoying a couple of neat audio podcasts on the subject.  This one from the UK on Resonance FM which I highly recommend, the Bike Show with host Jack Thurston.

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This blog is about my progress preparing for a cause based distance ride taking place in Tucson AZ on November 22, 2014.  The cause is to bring awareness and raise money for furthering of funding research work in finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.  The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) is the organization that I am riding for.  Each year JDRF hosts 7 cycling events across the USA between July and November.  Though my family and I have a history raising support for JDRF through their Walk for the Cure series this is the first year that my wife Ann and I are doing one of the Ride to Cure Diabetes events and we are most proud and excited to be taking part in.  You may donate to our participation in raising support for this cause by going to 2014 Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes and helping to make Type 1 Type None!  Thanks very much.   Jim

Last few days…

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The rains lifted and I had three days in a row of progressing miles.  I think this was the first time that I rode each day without skipping for a rest day.  Friday was short just a couple of loops in Prospect Park, @7 miles.  Biggest challenge of this park is one climb that is longer than steeper and I feel like I’m getting stronger on it.  I’ve never had to stop but when I first started 5 or 6 weeks ago it was lowest gear on the bike all the way up.  I now can take it about two gears up on the back cassette and feel like I’ve got more pedal rotations.

On Saturday the Crankees had a training ride on Long Island beginning in Westbury and looping north towards the shore.  I got up early, cycled over to the Atlantic Terminal to catch the LIRR.  I had gotten my tickets and bike permit night before, knew had to switch in Jamaica (Queens) to the Westbury train.  I got off to switch and then unfortunately hesitated as I couldn’t tell whether the train on track 7 was headed to Westbury – then the doors closed and I soon realized I missed my option.  The next train would be an hour and leave me well behind the group riding so there wasn’t much of an option but to head home sadly.  I caught the next train back to Atlantic Avenue learning my lesson ‘he who hesitates….’, grabbed some coffee to heal disappointment, sobered up and pedaled up to Prospect Park do at least log some miles for the day enjoying one of the benefits with doing this, that being the time with oneself in kind of silent muse.  The whole experience of cycling for me is both a realization of community and that aloneness, both equally neat.  Short clip from the morning…

On Sunday my wife Ann and I set out for Manhattans Upper West Side again to give her a few more miles up and around the George Washington bridge.  Was a beautiful day and we got away from the house at about 8, headed down 9th street to Smith over to Atlantic, Jay Street, up Tillary and on to the Brooklyn Bridge bike/runner/walker access path.  Crossing the popular tourist podium early leads an easy journey over the East River to lower Manhattan.  We came down the path turning on to Chambers and a few blocks later entered on to the Hudson River Park bike/runner/walker path.  I knew when I introduced this path to Ann it would be special as it was so much familiar territory from years gone by living, working and running.  It’s just a great way of visualizing the city scape in what feels so separate from the connected buildings and intersected streets, in between the peaceful Hudson and the blur of the West Side Highway.

Heading up the path and bypassing the various sections of Manhattan all rather quickly.  Very soon we were entering the 79th Street Boat Basin which is separation point from the mid-town area and the neighborhood beginnings of the Upper West Side.  We rode along passing our old neighborhood from years ago before kids and the move to Brooklyn.  Last week we had done this ride and gone all the way to the park area underneath the George Washington Bridge by the bike path so we decided to go the variation route shown to me by Coach Bob.  We cut off the path at 132nd and went up to Riverside Drive a somewhat quiet residential street that leads past apartments and across a couple of overland bridges and up to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center at 165th Street.  We turned and cycled up Fort Washington headed to 177th to catch the entrance to the George Washington Bridge bike/walker/runner pathway.

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Looking south – photo, Ann Jeffrey

Along the way as we were headed up Fort Washington a surprising familiar voice came from back of Ann.  We were surprised to see Coach Bob who came along at a good time as I was slightly confused about where to turn off the bridge so timing is everything :)  He guided us on to 177th and turning right on Cabrini Blvd to get on the pathway.  We said goodbye and headed towards the narrow lead up to the bridge.  We walked up to a point and mounted to ride through the gate and on to the beginning of the bridge.

This was my second time over the George Washington on bike and still amazing to me and was cool to be showing my wife the cyclist way over the some 4,000 foot span.

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We rode over to say hello to Fort Lee and made this our loop point to cross back and head back, saving New Jersey adventures for next weekend.

 

 

 

 

The view from the span is really quite something as you look down the Hudson with Manhattan sprawling on the left and Jersey on the right leading in to the open world. IMG_0399

We crossed back over through the first long straight section to the first suspension tower for lack of better words, where the path makes a hard right then left then left then right outlining the tower, then another long straightway leading to the next suspension tower doing the same angling and then the last section leading to the narrowing descent down to street level.

We got back on Cabrini and rode towards 177th turning right then left on to Haven Avenue as a back street route back to the medical center and on to 165th street, down the hill and on to Riverside.

We rode all the way down Riverside which was still quiet to Sunday morning sleeping in neighborhood, taking the 79th street entrance in to Riverside Park and back on to the Hudson River Park bike path.

The path for such a beautiful day was not overly crowded as we pedaled along from the Boat Basin through mid-town, Chelsea, the West Village, Tribeca and finally ending in the financial area and crossing back over to the Brooklyn Bridge, all pretty uneventful until my wife mentioning one frustrated pedestrian who got annoyed by a cyclist ahead of her and attempted to give a kick to Ann’s bike to which my wife proudly yelled ‘Bastard!’ – a good beginning to crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge by bike now with the anticipated swarm of tourists.

But I will say the bridge too though busy was not overly nuts and only minimal amount of ‘on your left’ and ‘biker biker biker’ required.  :)

We crossed over to Brooklyn and down the curving path towards Adams Street, crossing over Tillary getting on the bike lane over to Atlantic.  I missed Dean, took us to Bergen and up to Court.  We took left on Court to Wyckoff taking it to 3rd Avenue and on towards another rewarding lunch to the mornings ride at the now familiar Dinosaur Barbeque on Union Street.  Home about an hour later logging just at 34 miles for our day!

Wet today

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Some rain coming down this morning.  I was planning to ride this morn and get in some loop time in the park.  I’m trying to stay in an off/on day cycle through the week to keep momentum going and consistency.  The rain seems lite right now but confidence is low for riding on wet pavement which is my newness.  This weekend a long training ride is scheduled for Saturday and my fear vibe is I’ve not been consistent enough this week and will feel it on Saturday but hope not.

This post brings to mind something my coach said a few weeks ago about being too much in my head re anticipating something which at the time seemed daunting.  It’s a historical habit of trying to be prepared for all possibilities which is a real energy as well as confidence drain.

I have a lot of excitement for biking in this chapter, finding it both self communal and outward interaction with others in ways I have not known in other things I have been in to.  Additionally just the daily or every other daily stimulation from even a short ride particularly in the morn sets a nice sense of good feeling in me for the day and hence missing this morning in the rain :)

On the positive to pass along, listened to a really positive podcast interview last night done by host Ryan Correy with Canadian politician and bike advocate John Scott about the influence of a return to riding in his own life, the positives from it that he is trying to bring in to make cycling on the open road safer in his part of Canada which is Ontario I believe.  The cast link is http://www.ryancorrey.com/?feed=podcast and the podcast is called The Adventure Cycling Podcast.

A casual post but time to get on with the day… look forward to brighter skies by the weekend hopefully.  Cheers.

Off we go!

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This morning I took my wife Ann who recently signed on to the JDRF Ride series with me, on her longest cycling trip to date, approximately 30 miles, with a nice ride from Brooklyn over to Manhattan and up the west side via the Hudson River Park bike path which has become familiar to me in this cycling journey.  The approximate 13 mile stretch bike/jogger/walker path from the Financial area to the George Washing Bridge at 177th has become one of my greatest discoveries during this time shared with me early on in my training with the Crankee group.  IMG_0373

We left the house a little after 8 and made our way towards Cobble Hill/Brooklyn Heights and to the Brooklyn Bridge which at that hour was only slightly populated so great for crossing.  Crossed lower Manhattan on Chambers Street, over the West Side Highway and turning on to the bike path.  The early hour has its pluses as was only sparsely occupied.

Weather was equally perfect, nicely cool and not yet showing much of summer humidity coming.  Hudson was peaceful and no sign of yesterday mornings wind when I rode in the park.  Just a perfect course now familiar to me and I was excited to introduce it to Ann as it’s just a great way to move along at a good clip and catch the river on the left and neighborhoods and buildings she had known for years on the right.  As I recalled a few weeks ago when I was first introduced to it by Crankees Jon and Cary it’s a wonderful confidence builder for some distance to those of us new or returning to riding.

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We soon passed through mid-town and into the 79th street Boat Basin and the George Washington Bridge looming in the distance.  The 80th and 90th streets rolling by which was home when I first moved to NY in the early 90′s and home for my wife several years before so neat to see it from this perspective.  For years I wanted to leave this area for smaller quaint places and more natural beauty and now it’s interesting enjoying re-discovery of it through biking from different angles and time changes all :)  Beginning to see all this as well my own neighborhood from two wheels is giving a whole different value to me.

So we passed on up in to the 100th’s and getting closer to the GW which still amazes how fast this path brings that so quickly.  Like I said it’s an encouraging ride to new legs.  IMG_0381

Don’t have any in-between shots as trying for most part to photograph from moving wheels.

We were soon in the tree-shaded area of the upper Hudson with our destination well near.   Arrived and hung out for a bit me trying to tantalize a trip across today and Ann was saying next time, next time.IMG_0376

We saddled up and were off back down the path, still with no real wind which was great.  Really was a perfect day. IMG_0382

 

I was anticipating as we cycled back down past the basin and in to the mid-town section that the path would get busier between cyclists/kids/tourists/joggers/walkers and gave Ann a ‘be on alert…’ but in the end the journey back was only moderate traffic surprisingly so there wasn’t much dodging or angling.

We soon passed through Chelsea (my favorite part) and the Village and on to the end in the Financial area.  I chose for us to cross over at the very end further down than the signs tell you for the Brooklyn Bridge at Warren Street, passing through at Ground Zero.  We crossed through the City Center park by the now defunct J&R Music empire and began making way up the Brooklyn Bridge beginning incline.

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Ann rounding the first pillar on the Brooklyn Bridge

Once again though more populated than when we crossed over at the earlier hour, it was still not the usual congestion and wandering all over the middle of the bridge bike/jogger/walker/picture taker path that I have all other times experienced.  It was rather amazing in this regard which was great for a first timer going over via bike.

We soon were on the bridge descent approaching Tillary/Adams Streets to lead us through the downtown Brooklyn towards Atlantic and home turf.  Traffic was lite and we made good time across Atlantic on to Boerum Place turning on to Dean to 3rd Ave, left on Union to our final destination of a lunch at the recently introduced to me Dinosaur Barbeque!

End of the ride Shiner at lunch ….

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Tally…

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Park_Composite

A composite from the park loop ride on Wednesday morning.  I had reason to tally up the miles I’ve logged over the month of May and it is right at 230 covering many loops in Prospect and Central Parks, West Side Bike Path and the Upper West Side area of Manhattan and a trip over the George Washington and up to Piermont NY for my first official open road trip in this chapter.  Special thanks to my fellow Crankees and JDRF coaches Bob, Cary and Jeff for getting me along.

This is loose thoughts this entry.  Purpose of TucsonBound is to journal my way up to the event in November when I’ll be taking part in being part of the cause in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in Tucson, AZ.  As noted in a previous entry my wife recently joined in the training and registered for the Tucson event which I’m very excited about.  She is a long time runner and marathoner.  Of late she has been looking for a variation from running and has begun to enjoy the allure of the wheels and spokes.

Part of participating in the Ride to Cure Diabetes series is to raise support to further JDRF’s work in research so that one day the mystery that causes a person to develop type 1 diabetes will be no more.  To date through donations of many wonderful people I have raised $1,950.  I have a projected goal of $5,000.  Please consider donating by going to my JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes support page.

I mentioned an entry or so back about a cycling podcast series I have been enjoying and learning a lot from, Cycling 360.  They recently did a wonderful show about the cycling program in Rwanda started by Jonathan Boyer.  The show featured a casual interview with Boyer, the first American to ride in the Tour de France in 1981, and two members of Team Rwanda.  It was an inspiring, humbling but touching overview of this program trying to help rescue a few chosen locals from the troubled country.  To learn more about Team Rwanda, TeamRwandaCycling.org.

That’s it for now.  It’s the weekend and will continue to log some miles this weekend with a ride on Sunday of the Manhattan west side again.  Peace out and thanks for following my journey to Tucson!

Jim

Nice day and few more miles…

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A great day was had.  Not only for me but my wife joined a training ride we had this morning in Prospect Park with ‘coach’ Bob and several other Crankees, Jon, Cary, couple of other new folks, Jeff and Rachel.  We logged some loops in my case I did 6 with one stop so set new range for me in the park which was nice.  I don’t think will be a new baseline and as it took more time for my mornings or weekday evenings that I may have and the number of 3 right now feels good.  Still it was good to get this many this morning which is bit over 18 miles so between yesterday morning on the Upper West Side and today I got in right at 55 miles.  Right at half way to the Tucson event which is both a great feeling and on some level a scary feeling as well but I’m getting there.

I’m really jazzed that my wife has taken interest.  She is a distance runner and after years things are wearing a bit and she has wanted to add cycling to our experience.  It’s one of the first commonalities we have shared which is cool and feels pretty neat.  I’m hoping she will commit to Tucson.  Right now she is getting in the cycling groove and warming up to the training.  She got in 4 loops today which was great!

So afterwards most of us in the group hung out for a bit to cool down and then relaxed to a great unplanned lunch at a local barbecue spot which was great – they had Shiner beer, excellent!  The Crankee group all shares the commonality of connection with type 1 diabetes and for most part all but me, well now my wife and other two folks mentioned above, are both experienced cyclists and have done one or more of the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes events, in some cases several are really senior having done 12 which amazes me.  I’m about 20 years late joining this experience but glad to be now and calling it my new muse.  Though physically daunting if I really think about it the community experience and then the aloneness of the road are both quite calling to me.  The connection of the disease is something that feels special probably the most important aspect of this experience.

So yeah it was a really great morning and day…

Jim

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