I remember when I was a child and my parents used to give my brother and me $5 a week for an allowance. Once a month, they would take us to Toys R Us…. usually on a Saturday all the week before, I was trying to think of what I could get. Running ideas through my head of what action figure I would like (I was really into GI Joes and also in cars). My mind would change daily and then…on Friday night, I couldn’t sleep. My mind kept going and going and going and then the anticipation set in hard core. Before I knew it, I couldn’t sleep and it was time to wake up.
Well… Saturday night was just like that for me. So much anticipation a few weeks leading up to that night and then when the night came, I had the best intentions of going to bed early but it didn’t happen. Well, I strike that. It did happen but I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking of what we would see, the cool people we would meet and more cool stuff we would see. I know for some folks, being in New York City is nothing but for me, not growing up here, it was something to look forward to. Yes, I have been to NYC a few times before BUT never on a bike. See, things change when you are on the bike. When you walk, you can only cover so much ground. When you drive, you can’t see all the fine stuff but on a bike…YOU GET IT ALL.
So Sunday morning quickly came. Amazing how fast 2 AM rolls around when you went to sleep at midnight. Hopped in the shower, got dressed, and the drive was on. Took some time to get to Middletown but I met Jim so early and it was soooo cold out. You would pretty much freeze your hands off trying to load the bike on. Then we picked up Jim B and then drove into Jersey to pick up Peggy. A full car of fun, anticipation and bikes. What else could be better?
The drive to NYC was flawless. Not much traffic and before you knew it, we were at the starting point which was at Staten Island Ferry. This is a neat place because riding the ferry was free for bikers and walkers. A nice little perk! It was great to see other riders too from other clubs. Makes you really appreciate other riders who share the love. Plus it’s neat to look at their bikes, scope them out and see what neat modifications they did on their bike.
Anyway, we loaded up on the ferry (which was a site to see in itself…aka: a lot of bikes) and headed to the city. The ferry was scenic (and cold). The day started chilly and overcast. The cold kept on being cold throughout the day but it turned sunny later.
At the end of the ferry ride, we gathered outside the docking area. I bet we all looked funny… a bunch of bikers in lycra on a cold December day. We got some instructions from our ride leaders, mounted our cold behinds to the saddles and off we went.
Zig zagging in and out of different streets, hopping on the bike path, riding between cars, merging with traffic, looking back to see a sea of taxis behind us while we rode…. All exhilarating! A little prayer goes a long way when trying to cross four lanes of traffic with taxis up and down the streets!
Some of the places we saw (not in any particular order and I apologize if I miss any)
World Trade Center: This was special to me because I was attending culinary school at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY when everything happened. I remember the day as if it happened yesterday. A week after the terrorist attack, some friends and I went down to ground zero (as close as we could get) and the smell was terrible…. You could smell the burnt hair and death was in the air. It was sad. But to see it today, the rebuild, the life around it, the memories…. was amazing. I am so glad to have been able to see it.
Rockefeller Center: Crowded place but by bike, it was easy to get too and we find a small little place to park so we could take a look and take pictures. I have heard many things about this area and have seen it on the news so it was extra special to see it, especially this time of year with the Christmas tree and the skating rink. Pretty neat.
Time Square: I have walked down to this area a little bit when I visited but never by bike. We did have to dismount to be able to walk through all the crowds. It was cool to feel the vibe of the people and see all the happens in Time Square.
Macys: Glad my wife didn’t come because she would be GLUED to the windows! When I got back to work on Monday, I told a coworker where we went and she told me that each year, Macys picks someone (a company) to decorate their window fronts. That’s neat.
Hudson River Greenway: I think of this as a really freaking cool bike path. It runs along the Hudson River and it was great be on. The paths were wide, well kept and it seems like everyone that was walking were used to bikers. Can’t say that for every bike path!
Central Park: What a beautiful place. Imagine a park where no cars could go and just bike riders, walkers, runners, etc. The park is really big, great roads and a wonderful place to be!
Harlem: It was amazing to just say I rode in NYC but also to ride in Harlem was something special too.
Bridges: We got to see the Brooklyn Bridges and the George Washington Bridge. FYI…. Pictures of those turned out great!
Greenwich Village: I have a few culinary friends that live there and I have visited that area before. It’s a wonderful place to be in and even better to ride in.
We visited many more places and got to see other wonderful things. The thrilling part for me was to ride in traffic, learn from other people with more knowledge about riding then me, meet new people, and to just be in NYC by bike!
If you want to see some pictures, go here:
If you want to see some of my friends pictures, go here: