03 May 2010

Let The Bike Tour Begin!

After what felt like hours, it was finally time for me and the mass of people and bikes to move. We traveled up Church Avenue, which then turned into Sixth Avenue, all the way up to Central Park. Maybe because there still were too many cyclists bunched together so that we had to watch out for the riders in front of us, instead of taking in the scenery. It was not until around 23rd Street (Chelsea) that I started to look around at the surrounding. I missed the Barnes & Noble in the area. Before there was MacHeist, with its amazing Mac software bundle, I would occasionally pick up a copy of Macworld UK or MacFormat just to get the software that came with the magazine, not necessarily from this particular B&N. The software was never the latest version but they worked fine. Further up north I saw for the first time the pedestrian mall at the intersection of 34th Street and Broadway. I used to have time after work to go around to see what changed but nowadays it's just commute to work then head back home.

In Central Park we had to dismount to walk our bike. Years ago I used to do volunteer work for the Central Park Conservancy and knew the park well. It has been so long I didn't recognize the area that we passed through, although I'm pretty we went along the western bank of the Harlem Meer. Like the NYC Marathon, to make the event 5-boro, a small part of the Bronx was included. A reversal of the Marathon, we crossed into the Bronx via Madison Bridge and re-entered Manhattan via the Third Avenue Bridge. At long last, the bike route entered a highway - the FDR Drive South. No vehicular traffic, just us cyclists. I took my first break to have some food and get my water bottle re-filled. It was great that instead of passing out water in paper cups, or worse yet, plastic cups, the volunteers poured water from 1-gallon jugs into our bottles. Just a bunch of big jugs to recycle afterward, less garbage to pick up.

Alas, the ride along the FDR was short as we soon hit the exit for the Queensboro Bridge (or 59th Street Bridge for those Manhattan-centric people, no thanks to Simon & Garfunkel). Again, it was time to dismount and walk the bikes slowly off the FDR, wait for traffic on York Avenue to clear before we can get onto the bridge. So long, Manhattan, the next time we were back in Manhattan it would be at the end of the Tour.

A short stay in the Bronx. Hurry up and wait for vehicular traffic to clear. The Third Avenue Bridge is in the distance.

FDR Drive South is clear of cars, from around 100ish Street down to 60-something Street.

Waiting to get off the FDR to traverse the Queensboro Bridge, seen here in the distance.

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