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  1. #1
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    Central Park Loop

    Who does this regularly? I try to do the loop at least twice a week. I live on the UWS so I can do a loop or two after work and it usually isn't too crowded. I usually do the loop in around 20 minutes (only been riding for a short amount of time) and it's amazing to see the serious riders in the city just fly by me.

    On the weekends the park is too crowded so I've been on 9W in Jersey, and last weekend I took Metro North to Greenwich and did a 20 mile loop up to Bedford, which was awesome. I also want to go up to Bear Mountain one weekend.

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    I did the loop around 8:30pm last night when the park was pretty empty. Still did the 6.2 mile loop in about 20 minutes, 18.5mph average. I got passed by a group of about 10 guys all wearing the same jersey, they must have been doing about 25mph on flat ground. It was very impressive. I guess drafting really helps when you're going that fast. I just couldn't keep up.

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    Yeah, I used to ride the park loop all the time, but it's just too crowded during the times I can get to it (ie the weekends). I'm figuring it'll calm back down come late October or November--good for winter training. In the meantime, I'm trying to go further afield.

    I've been exploring the South/North County Trail a bit (slightly boring, but good for just flat-out sprinting), and also the palisades ride with a return on 9W headed south. Thinking about taking the palisades to 9W to the ferry to ossining, then maybe catching the metro north south again.

    I'm in my early thirties, reasonable shape (not great), and I enjoy road riding for distance at a pretty good clip (I think I do the CPW loop at roughly the same pace as you). I'm looking for some cool, chill people around my age to ride with. I'm not a team fanboy or would-be racer, though: just looking to go further out from NYC and get fit doing it. PM me if you're interested in riding at all (no worries if not).

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    Apparently you need 50 posts to send a PM.

    I assume you live in Brooklyn since your location is the A train?


    I'm 30 years old. I didn't get the appeal of riding on 9W, I took the train to 168th st, rode across the bridge and rode 10 miles north on the road. Maybe it gets nicer the farther up you go. That' why I want to go to bear mountain one weekend and get some fresh air. I have a monthly metro north pass for work so it's free for me to go up to bear mountain. Or it would be like 5 bucks additional.

    Also under the GW bridge I think there is a nice road with no traffic but it may be only 7 miles long.

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    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    I did it last thursday afternoon. Too crowded with tourists and too dangerous down the southern end of the park to get a decent ride in, so I bailed and went over to the greenway where I had less of a chance of crashing into a tourist on a rented bike. FWIW we saw one rental with a trail a bike that looked like it was about to fall off the bike it was attached to. Unless you can get out early morning or late evening its better to steer clear of the park loop, at least until October.

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    Lots of good info in this thread.
    @Gramercy

    Glad to see you active on the forums, I hope to be too. Just trying to take in all the info that is already on the forums is tough!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gramercy View Post
    Apparently you need 50 posts to send a PM.

    I assume you live in Brooklyn since your location is the A train?


    I'm 30 years old. I didn't get the appeal of riding on 9W, I took the train to 168th st, rode across the bridge and rode 10 miles north on the road. Maybe it gets nicer the farther up you go. That' why I want to go to bear mountain one weekend and get some fresh air. I have a monthly metro north pass for work so it's free for me to go up to bear mountain. Or it would be like 5 bucks additional.

    Also under the GW bridge I think there is a nice road with no traffic but it may be only 7 miles long.
    Nope, other end of the A: Inwood.

    9W comes and goes, but generally I like it because of the wide shoulders. I'm not sure how it gets north of Alpine NJ (basically state-line), but I understand it's supposed to be nice. I've been trying to build up to riding to Bear (and back, maybe, if I'm feeling it). Would definitely like to hit that up.

    Under the GWB you're right, there's a very nice road called either River Road or Henry Hudson Drive, depending on who you ask. It's car-free, mostly, (though rough in parts), and has a somewhat-killer mile-long climb out at the north end (I've never done it north-south, but that climb-out has to be pretty rough, too). I like it for hill climbing and patches of all-out speed.
    @dendawg, definitely right. I've imposed a ban on the park until at least after the marathon.

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    I crushed my old time last night, did the loop in 18:59. 6.22 miles for an average around 19.5 mph. The trick is to chase down all of the guys on tri bikes and try to keep up with them. Next up I'll try to do 2 laps and see how much my average speed drops.

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    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SvenSurly View Post
    Nope, other end of the A: Inwood.

    9W comes and goes, but generally I like it because of the wide shoulders. I'm not sure how it gets north of Alpine NJ (basically state-line), but I understand it's supposed to be nice. I've been trying to build up to riding to Bear (and back, maybe, if I'm feeling it). Would definitely like to hit that up.
    9W is nice most of the way to Sparkill. There is a section through Englewood Cliffs from Palisades Ave to E Clinton with no shoulder, and its pretty wide from there. At Sparkill you need to turn right on Rockland Road to take the road along the river up to Nyack where you can make a left on Old Mtn Rd to get back to 9W. Heading north you want to follow Bike Route 9. 9W is narrow and has no shoulders between the Sparkill Viaduct and Nyack. There are also no shoulders between Haverstraw and Stoney Point, where the bike route again takes you down along the river.

  10. #10
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Don't really ride the CP loop that much, just use it
    sometimes on my commute to work. Prefer riding
    with my club on 9W to Nyack, Piermont. etc.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXsWfHKmrTo

  11. #11
    vol
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    Do any of you occasionally ride clockwise for part of the Central Park loop? Sometimes I needed to when going south on the east side. When doing so I ride slow and stay to the rightmost side. I had met only two cases when someone stopped walking, stood still and tole me "you are in the wrong lane!" (there's no right lane for me )

  12. #12
    Senior Member Ferdinand NYC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Do any of you occasionally ride clockwise for part of the Central Park loop? Sometimes I needed to when going south on the east side. When doing so I ride slow and stay to the rightmost side. I had met only two cases when someone stopped walking, stood still and tole me "you are in the wrong lane!" (there's no right lane for me )
    Ugh. Please don't do this.

    The avenues immediately adjacent to the park conveniently go in the direction opposite to the park loop. So, if you need to go south on the east side, use Fifth Avenue. If you need to go north on the west side, use Central Park West.

    (Edited to add: of course Central Park West is a two-way avenue. But the bike lane is on only on the northbound side, which is the opposite direction of the Central Park loop on the west side.)
    Last edited by Ferdinand NYC; 08-31-13 at 12:04 PM.

  13. #13
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I've ridden that loop hundreds of times, but that was a hundred years ago. We moved back into Manhattan last week, and I guess I'll do it again for fun when I can't get out farther. There used to be a couple of places bike nuts would hang out, one near the boat house and one near Tavern on the Green.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Do any of you occasionally ride clockwise for part of the Central Park loop? Sometimes I needed to when going south on the east side. When doing so I ride slow and stay to the rightmost side. I had met only two cases when someone stopped walking, stood still and tole me "you are in the wrong lane!" (there's no right lane for me )
    Yeah, I'm really sorry, but I yell at people like you when I do happen to be in the park. It's WAY too crowded now, and there are too many unpredictable novice cyclists, as well as tourists playing human Frogger, for anyone going the wrong way. Unless there's an emergency situation, the loop is unidirectional for cyclists.

  15. #15
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Hey, folks, I'm planning to start an anti-salmon-ing campaign here in NYC. It's long overdue. The city has done a lot to promote cycling in many ways, but they have not stated strongly enough that wrong-way cycling is NOT OK. I'm thinking of making a youtube video and posting it on as many blogs as possible. Thoughts?
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Ferdinand NYC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Hey, folks, I'm planning to start an anti-salmon-ing campaign here in NYC. It's long overdue. The city has done a lot to promote cycling in many ways, but they have not stated strongly enough that wrong-way cycling is NOT OK. I'm thinking of making a youtube video and posting it on as many blogs as possible. Thoughts?
    Great! Send your video to Streetsblog. While that's not a bicycling blog as such, it is read by many bicyclists (many of whom defend bad bicyclist behaviour such as wrong-way riding and red-light running). Also, that site is read by many legislators.

    I suggest that you widen the scope of the video to include red-light running, and that you make two points: 1) wrong-way riding and red-light running are often dangerous, creating a hazard to pedestrians and to other bicyclists; and 2) even when this isn't dangerous, it always does the cause of bicycling a disservice by portraying us as arrogant and lawless.

    Many cyclists who defend bad behaviour fall back on the self-serving arguments "I ride the wrong way / run red lights only when it's safe" and "drivers routinely break laws, too".

    Even ignoring the obvious flaw in the first argument (namely, that the cyclist may be mistaken in his/her assessment of the safety of the manoevre), you should point out that this is a terrible attitude from the standpoint of bad public relations.

    With respect to the second argument, about drivers' law-breaking, it would be worthwhile to mention that the automobile is already firmly entrenched in American society and in the consciousness of Americans; and so the expansion of auto infrastructure is in no way endangered by the irresponsible and harmful behaviour of drivers. Whereas, bicyclists are still in some sense the "other"; bicycling, while increasingly popular, is not yet a mainstream activity. Our bike infrastructure can be safe from removal only when bicyling goes from the "other" category to the "mainstream" category. And whether that happens is largely down to the behaviour of bicyclists.

    I suggest that you emphasise the fact that every bicyclist, whether that bicyclist likes it or not, plays the role of "the public face of bicycling" to a largely hostile general public; and also the fact that we bicyclists thus have it in our power to decrease the widespread animosity against us, by behaving in a lawful manner.

    You can take your camera to any intersection and count the number of bicyclists who stop at the red light as compared to the number who blow the light; then ask other people (pedestrians and drivers) what they think about what they have observed.

    When you get the inevitable negative response, you can mention that every public act of law-breaking (however safe in the estimation of the cyclist) creates hatred against us and encourages more anti-bike cranks to show up at Community Board meetings, thereby making the expansion of bike infrastructure more difficult, and making its cutback or elimination more likely. This behaviour also encourages the police to conduct sweeps, which typically snare only those law-breakers (usually red-light runners) who are operating in an otherwise safe manner. In other words, by routinely breaking the law, we are literally creating enemies and giving them free ammunition.

    So, I would say that you should not ignore the real safety hazards of wrong-way riding. But I strongly suggest that you anticipate the "I do it only when it's safe" and "drivers break laws, too" responses on the part of many bicyclists, and spend a good deal of time addressing the public relations disaster that we create for ourselves when we employ these justifications.

  17. #17
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    One campaign at a time. I don't want to talk about bike safety in general. I figure there are enough people doing that. The city is giving tickets for running red lights. My beef is with one thing. That one thing is wrong-way cycling. That one thing accounts for 58% of bike accidents, nationally. That one thing is something that lots of cyclists think is JUST FINE. There are probably many cyclists who know that running a red light is illegal but they do it at their discretion and at their risk, knowingly. Some know it's illegal but believe it is safe.

    Running a red light is not a cut and dry thing. I am not a purist. I stop at red lights because I want to set a good example. I agree that doing right as an individual will do good for our community and our rights, making us more mainstream. I don't think I can convince many of this, though, and it is not my direct cause. I want to tell people that wrong way cycling is not merely against the law, it is a bad idea for everyone.

    I have been told that in Latin America, people are taught to ride against traffic. So that is one force that feeds into the common practice here.

    I have taught cycling safety classes, and I start by asking the students if they think cyclists are supposed to ride in the direction of or against traffic. 50% of the students answer wrong. There is a perception that is 100% wrong, and it must be changed. We can't enforce a law if people don't know what the law and good practice are.

    I would like to see the police STOP enforcing the red light law if that's what it takes to enforce the right-direction law. It will do more good in changing perception AND in enhancing safety overall.

    Can you tell I feel passionately about this?
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Ferdinand NYC's Avatar
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    Yeah, I understand. And I agree that wrong-way riding is more dangerous than running red lights, in that a pedestrian can step out between any pair of parked cars and be suddenly in the rider's path.

    It's astonishing to think that wrong-way riding is often done out of ignorance; but, from your experience, this is evidently the case. So some informational materials are called for.

    Still, if/when you make your video, I hope that you will mention the public-relations angle as well as the safety issue.

  19. #19
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    Get's crowded but if you are looking for a leisurely ride, then it's all good!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dendawg View Post
    9W is nice most of the way to Sparkill. There is a section through Englewood Cliffs from Palisades Ave to E Clinton with no shoulder, and its pretty wide from there. At Sparkill you need to turn right on Rockland Road to take the road along the river up to Nyack where you can make a left on Old Mtn Rd to get back to 9W. Heading north you want to follow Bike Route 9. 9W is narrow and has no shoulders between the Sparkill Viaduct and Nyack. There are also no shoulders between Haverstraw and Stoney Point, where the bike route again takes you down along the river.
    People like 9W and Bike Route 9 because they have some challenging climbs, but other than the camaraderie that comes with being with tons of other cyclists, there's honestly nothing too special in the route until you get in northern Rockland County and close to the Bear Mountain Bridge. Personally, I think the best way to tackle that route is to start at Harriman State Park near the Reeves Meadow area and climb up from there. The climbs are steep in some cases (about 10 percent), but they average about half that and the lower part of Seven Lakes Drive was just resurfaced last year, so it's still in great shape. Using this route, you don't have to worry about commercial truck traffic and traffic in general's pretty light.

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    I'm thinking of going over the bridge and taking my first ride up to Nyack, anyone interested? I know a lot of the groups get out over the bridge by 8am, I'm not sure if I'm that ambitious.

  22. #22
    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gramercy View Post
    I'm thinking of going over the bridge and taking my first ride up to Nyack, anyone interested? I know a lot of the groups get out over the bridge by 8am, I'm not sure if I'm that ambitious.
    The bridge path is open from 6am to midnight. You can choose anytime in-between
    Last Sunday I left at noon and returned at 4.

  23. #23
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    Central is awesome, but the tourists really do kill it sometimes. I rarely do it partly b/c I have to first get to the city from Brooklyn, then ride up to the park through the trenches of 6th avenue, and finally start riding in the park.

  24. #24
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    I'm coming to NYC next month (first visit) and bringing my bike. If I enter CP from the north (we're staying around 135th St in Harlem), will the loop be obvious to find? Thanks!

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    Every road entrance to the park takes you directly onto the loop. Just make sure you're on an entrance to the park. There are the traverse roads that cut across the park underneath. From the north though, every entrance at 110th St/Cathedral Pkwy will take you directly to the loop.
    Last edited by zacster; 09-14-13 at 06:50 AM.

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