I’m going to go a bit out of order here and post about today’s ride. I still have two more trips in my queue, but I want to write this adventure up while the news of the blizzard is still fresh in my mind (and maybe in yours). At this point, I may save my arrival at Orient Point for last, as a sort of culmination of this challenge, even though they were not the last miles I rode. But anyway:
If you have not read the news in the last few days, the northeast United States got hammered by a large storm over the weekend. Somehow I’ve managed to ride every day except for Sunday. My trip to work today took me through what may best be described as a post-apocalyptic New York, where cars are either stuck, in the process of getting stuck, or trying to get unstuck. Whole streets were unplowed and closed, and if you didn’t have anywhere to be then staying home was the wisest thing you could do. Some of you more northern people would scoff at the mild temperatures and relative lack of snowfall, but the blizzard was not what crippled NYC yesterday. We just needed a little push over the edge.
I am not wise. I packed clothes for the next few days into my pannier and set off toward Manhattan. I decided to take my commuter because it has no derailleur to break if I fall over, and a disc brake on the front. Unfortunately it also has 32mm slicks. Hey, they were fine during the last blizzard!
Two blocks after departing, I was greeted by this sight:
Oh. Ok. So what now? There is supposed to be a street there. Well, I found my way around and–like the idiot I am–continued down the same street instead of seeking out a larger artery.
Well, I was supposed to make a right there, but the street had two feet of snow on it. Eventually I made it into Queens over the surprisingly well-kept Pulaski bridge. I had to take a few detours off my usual route to avoid unplowed streets, but I eventually reached the Queensboro bridge… and saw what the bike path looked like.
There was no bike path. It was just snow. In my momentary panic, I neglected to take a photo. I was sort of focusing on just getting to my destination at this point. After walking up the path for a few dozen feet, I said “screw this,” and jumped the railing onto the main automobile roadway with another cyclist. I put it in a big gear (for my commuter bike, at least) and hustled up the bridge as quick as I could. It was surprisingly painless, except for the ramp coming off the bridge. Nevertheless, I kept it shiny side up.
I had one treacherous section left: a cross street to Central Park, in which I would finally be free of automobiles for the remainder of my journey. At this point I was just hoping that the park roadways looked alright. Luckily they did. I couldn’t see the road, but the hard packed snow was fine as long as you didn’t commit any sudden steering input.
My plan was to do a few laps of the park and get my mileage up, and I almost bailed on that idea. After two laps and a lot of air out of the front tire, I was flying along. After three laps, I was glad to have my collar bone intact and a decent ride under my belt. The worst thing to happen to me was an icy glare–on two laps–from a Cruella de Vil looking woman walking her dog on the Upper East Side. I mustered a smile the second time around, but it was for naught.
Now I just have to do this twice more to hit 500km. The blizzard has caused me to think about not how fast I can get to that mark, but how I can do it at all and not break any bones. Well, tomorrow I can take my cyclocross bike with knobby tires. Hopefully the worst of the miles are past!