Get On The Bike, Goal #2

I am an advocate of regular (not obsessive) exercise.  I also firmly believe that you should pick an exercise that is enjoyable.  If it can be social, so much the better.  And if it involves stopping for beer along the way?  Sign me up!

When I bought the new bike this spring, Goal #1 was to bike 10+ miles without dying.  I managed that, and was able to up that to 15+ miles during my vacation in Maine.  Goal #2 was slightly more advanced – I wanted to do the full circuit of Manhattan, along both rivers.  Approximately 32 miles, give or take a detour.  Despite heat waves, travel, illness, and a hurricane…. today I did it.

Starting point: Inwood, NYC. Finish point: Inwood, NYC. Covered: nearly full circuit of Manhattan, down the Hudson River Greenway, through Battery Park, and up the East River Bikeway (yet incomplete, requiring us to cut across-town and finish up on the west side). We started above the George Washington Bridge, glorious in the clear autumn air, and rode past the sailboats anchored near the Boat Basin.

Picking up more traffic below 79th Street, we went past the cruise ships just come into harbor (and heard an exasperated staffperson say to the disembarking passengers: “please stay out of the way of the cyclists!”). Waving to the Intrepid, we continued down past the Lincoln Tunnel, through Chelsea and all its lovely riverside parks, past the Holland Tunnel, and along Battery Park City, where neither of us had ever wandered.  Wow it’s…manicured.  And very pretty.

Swinging along the southern tip of the island and the Battery Park Tunnel, we stopped for a drink at the Staten Island Ferry terminal (aka “South Ferry”), and then headed uptown along the East River Bike path (almost getting run over by a pack of clueless Boy Scouts at South Street Seaport – kids, “bike path” means there will be bikes on the path.  Please pay attention.)

From there, upwards past the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Williamsburg Bridge (the path being, in some places, slightly dodgy/under construction), along the Water Club, to the United Nations (a respectful 1-finger salute was raised to the Entitled Asswipes with DipCorps plates who make driving in NYC hell), and then – when we ran into a long section of unfinished path – across the city at 71st street, through Central Park

– a pause here to mention that we encountered the remnants of the German Day Parade, and I was not the only one in the Park to voice slight discomfort in hearing German being spoken through a loudspeaker, as troops marched up an avenue in my hometown.  It’s not pretty, but there it is.  Sorry, my German friends.    But the costumes were very pretty, and the crowd cheerful and having a splendid time.  There are other national pride day parades that have much worse reps-

and from there to the north end of the Park, up 109th to Broadway (you promised me there weren’t any more hills!), and from Broadway to Riverside and from Riverside back to the Hudson River Greenway up past the GWB and back to Inwood, where we had stashed the car.

At some point around E79th, my bad knee began to whinge.  By W115th, it was in full-on OW, BITCH! mode.  Several times, G asked me if I wanted to stop (he would then go ahead and come back with the car.)

“No,” I said each time.  And then finally “don’t you know by now I’m stubborn?”

“So each time I ask, you can refuse my wussy offer, and feel better about sticking it out.”

“Oh. Well-played, sir.   Thank you.”  (Damned man, you’d think he knew me, or something)

I made it.  Sheer stubborn bitch-mode.  I was so glad to see the car, I almost cried.

Total distance, 35 miles. End result: utter exhaustion, aching knees, and a definite sense of satisfaction.  And a desire to carb-load and drink wine until I pass out.  Which is what I’m doing, even now.

Goal III is to do a specific, slightly longer (much hillier) trip out of the City. It may have to wait until the Spring….


[my only regret is that I missed the money-in-politics protest down in Wall Street.  Had I timed things better, we could have managed to be there when it started…]

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