I’ve gotten a little behind on entries. I had drafted this account of the ride of Saturday, July 21, but while waiting on bit more content to finish a week went by as well as another neat ride this entry will look back at both.
On the 21st a gathering of some of the Crankees (Dan, Suzanne, me, Coach Bob Cohen, Jeff, Rachel) held court with the longest ride this season, around 70 miles. I decided to add a few more miles to build up my distance so I rode over to our Upper West Side meeting point from home in Brooklyn a little after 6am, riding the side streets of the lower Slope over to Atlantic Avenue, a couple of turns and on to Boreum Place headed for the Brooklyn Bridge bike ramp leading to a scarcely populated but pleasant crossing over to Manhattan. I rode across lower Manhattan via Chambers Street and on to the Hudson River Park bike path. Made good time and was up to the traditional Crankee meeting point of the Riverside Church at 122nd street, awaiting arrival of the others.
Coach Bob charted a course with our now familiar trek starting at the Riverside Church, over the George Washington, down to the Henry Hudson Drive ergo River Road, up to crest at Alpine, out on route 9w headed for Piermont NY, on to Nyack and then new turf, continuing up 9w to the Rockland Lake State Park. Rockland Lake was the destination and return point but before return we rode an @5 mile loop around the park.
We exited the park turning left on 9w up the long hill we had previously sailed down. Once up, had a nice descent to our main stop for r&r, at Toga Bikes in Nyack. From there we cycled back through back streets of Nyack coming to downtown, passing the popular bike and other passerby hang the Runcible Spoon, turning left Main, then right on Piermont Avenue taking the short 4 miles or so back to Piermont passing the Hudson, boating and Tappan Zee Bridge area before turning in to town.
We pedaled along Ferdon Avenue, along the European like canal to me, leaving town, making a left on 340 to Highland Avenue and then on 9w for the first of several climbs ascending up to Alpine. The return on this route has a certain sense of jubilant and accomplishment on having crested the final climb to this point in the return. From then on it’s a moderate rolling road in to Fort Lee and taking a final rest, replenish water and bathroom break at Strickly Bicycles before heading across the GW back to Manhattan.
At the more or less finish of the day crossing the GW and back in the Upper West Side we were now three due to others having time commitments and needs. We decided to celebrate the day as well as cheer Dan on as his JDRF Ride event, the first in the season of the JDRF rides, was the following weekend in Burlington, VT, before going our ways so we found an outdoor cafe allowing close to our wheels, had a round of beers and super nachos, not the healthiest albeit tasty and satisfying after the warmth and distance of the day.
With that Bob and I said goodbye to Dan and pedaled our way down the west side and on to the Hudson River bike path headed home which for me on reaching home in Brooklyn about an hour plus later totaled 85 miles – a good feeling of hitting that benchmark.
Saturday, July 26th, marked two JDRF events. One the first of seven national JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes events the Vermont ride in Burlington which from our group Dan Vogel, Jeff Kauflin and Rachel Nayman Kauflin, participated, and two, locally Coach Bob Cohen, my wife Ann Jeffrey, myself, Lauren (forgive loss of last name) and a couple of other Crankees I am remiss of names, joined in with veteran JDRF riders Joe Mure and Angelo Gurino who organized a joint riding event supporting New York Families for Autistic Children and JDRF in Howard Beach, Queens circling through the Rockaways.
For starters congratulations to Dan, Jeff and Rachel and possibly some riders from the Jersey chapter on their participation in the Burlington ride. I have mainly heard Dan’s account which rang that it was a wonderful inspired and life changing day which brought 260 riders together from all over the country to further the cause through cycling and fund raising supporting JDRF and a statement towards raising awareness for the work of turning type 1 to type None. Here are some images from Dan’s account of the day https://teamari2014.shutterfly.com/pictures/8 and an inspiring video which was shown in the pre or post ride’s ceremony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj41KVxZNHQ.
For my account of the local ride in the Rockaways, ‘the Loop‘, supporting New York Families for Autistic Children and JDRF, Ann and I began by meeting up with Coach Bob at Dean and Vanderbilt Avenue to ride out to the event in Howard Beach. We followed Dean street in a back street parallel following Eastern Parkway and with a few other street turns, Rochester, Mother Gaston and Liberty leading us to South Conduit which would take us on to the Cross Bay Boulevard and to the NYFAC location at 164-14 Cross Bay, all about 9 miles from home in Park Slope.
We rolled in to NYFAC parking lot @9am where the activity was buzzing and you’d have thought it was a national! I don’t know the actual count thus far on how many cyclists came out for this but guesstimating 200 plus which was inspiring. Ann and I were #108 and #118 respectively and when start time came in the second wave of riders.
We parked our bikes along with the growing numbers and walked around to registration/check-in. There was all kind so activity, police escorts, emergency medical, JDRF volunteers including our own Julia Briggs and Deborah Cox from the NYC chapter and Alecia Wesner from int’l, yellow t-shirted NYFAC volunteers, beginnings of a post ride cookout with charcoal starting to fill the air, our organizers Joe Mure and Angelo Gurino, just a plethora of lovely spirited people.
As 10am grew near we started to line up on Cross Bay with our own Coach Bob Cohen leading off along with Joe and others.
A red start ribbon stretched in front of them ready to be cut and signal our launch. Ann and I were in the second wave and there was still a third behind us, this was truly for me jamming and exuberant and a mini-snapshot of what I think Tucson is going to be like though from what I’m told attendance to the national event numbers in the thousands from biking enthusiasts all over attending. Both daunting and gonna rock!
It was time, the ribbon was cut, helicopter flew overhead and the first wave was rolling. Destination a circle around the Rockaways, a chorus laid out by Angelo and Joe. Shortly after the first group it was our time, signal came and we were rolling, starting out with a gathering of other cyclists around which though I’ve ridden in small groups of riders this was neat as it was a forecast of the future ride in Tucson except the surrounding gathering there from all accounts will be big as life. This was much smaller scale but still good practice from the spectrum of getting used to starting off with a group of surrounding riders. As we pedaled along we began to spread out and the journey of a modest 18 miles circling the Rockaways was underway. Weather was great that day, bit overcast and pleasant, not hot.
Leaving mainland headed for the Rockaways first crossing was the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge which Ann and I crossed before when we came out on a ride a few weeks ago with the Five Borough Bicycle Club on actually a reverse of this loop plus to/from Brooklyn as today. Crossing the bridge led in to an island area between mainland and Rockaways, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, something I didn’t have a clue was there before I started biking in this area. Though I’ve lived in New York City for 20 years now seeing it on two self pedaled wheels has been eye-opening and in a sense a whole new experience of sometimes familiar though sometimes very new.
End of the island we came to the Cross Bay Bridge which connected to Rockaway. We excited off the bridge, did a circular loop under and got on to Beach Channel Drive. We took a hand full of turns along this route on the Rockaway strip that now I can’t recount the exact though I remember we were directed along the way by an enthusiastic orange t-shirt clad JDRF staffer pointing us in the way and to look for the occasional ‘orange arrow marking’ on the road.
We rode the through the island community in to the Jacob Riis Park heading for the Marine Parkway Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge just before Breezy Point. When Ann and I were on the above mentioned Five Borough ride crossing this bridge gave me a bit of the willies as the bike lane though ‘safe’ had an immediacy of the water and the span is a little less than the George Washington. So I approached with a slight bit of dread but in the end it was easy, just kept a look ahead and little with the open bay and it passed and was quite pleasant.
We came off the bridge descent onto a bikepath along Flatbush Avenue passing the Floyd Bennett Field leading to the beginning of the bikepath along the Belt and Shore Parkways. This stretch was really great and allowed really smooth asphalt sailing, couple of gentle rises and drops, a few drops of rain along the way.
This was really the ride of bridges and took us over several more than we had on the above mentioned trip. Next was the Mill Basin Bridge a historic ‘draw bridge’ built in the 40’s required a mandatory dismount and walkover by the organizers of the ride. The bikepath was poor and sections exposed to passing traffic. But the walk-over was pleasant and soon we were back on the bikepath passing the Jamaica Bay Riding Academy and coming close to suburban Brooklyn Avenue X and Y streets. We rode past McGuire Fields and were up on another bridge, the Paerdegat Basin Bridge, this one pretty short.
Coming across the Paerdegat we continued on the bikepath headed towards Canarsie Pier and the main rest stop Ann and I took. We were coming in to the last chunk of the ride nearing the NYFAC headquarter start/finish at this point. We got a cold water, exchanged little conversation over bike compliments with a couple of other riders we met and were soon back on the Belt bikepath heading for our next water crossing across a narrow end of Jamacia Bay, according to Google as I look at to refresh the journey, Fresh Creek. This one, two more peninsula and nook water crossings would lead us in to the beginnings of the return in to the Howard Beach neighborhood streets back to the New York Families for Autistic Children office, the start and soon the finish of the ‘Loop’, a ride for hope and the monies raised, for all those living with autism and all those living with type 1 diabetes. It was and is a jubilant, collaborative, day of inspiration and hope that in time both of these needs affecting so many will come to resolution, a fix, a solution for all those we love.
It was a wonderful ride and soon we rounded the corner in to 164th block and waved in to the parking lot and finish line of NYFAC. Time for post celebration with those we knew and didn’t know which the day brought together. Planned by the organization was a wonderful cookout and time to hang. And after that for those of us connected with the New York City JDRF chapter we decided to rally for a bit at nearby Lenny’s Claim Bar for some time together.
Please consider supporting me support JDRF in the 2014 JDRF Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes by donating at my fund raising page http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Ride/JDRFNationalRides?px=4654534&pg=personal&fr_id=3432 . With your help we can further the research work being done in juvenile diabetes so that one day ‘type one will be type None’!