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Climbing & elevation grade % for NYC bridges?

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Climbing & elevation grade % for NYC bridges?

Old 04-05-09, 01:20 PM
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Climbing & elevation grade % for NYC bridges?

Does anyone know the % grade one rides up when crossing the local bridges?

For instance, on the Queensboro bridge, it is listed as 130 ft high, and the approach from Queens is 984 feet, and 1182 from the Manhattan side.

assuming I am doing the calculations right (and I realize the height is less than 130 ft if accounting for the elevation at the onramps, which must be higher than sea level, I get grades of about 13% from Queens and 11% from Manhattan.

Of course, the Manhattan side climbs steeper early on...Those figures actually sound reversed - isn't the climb from Queens longer and less steep? It sure feels that way.

are there any DOT or other links to published grades for it and the other local bridges?
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Old 04-05-09, 02:29 PM
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Those grades sound too high for the amount of effort involved. A 13% grade is a killer grade, and the 59th st bridge is not a killer climb.

I don't know if the bridges are listed, but NYCC.org has a listing of the grades of many of the climbs in the NYC area.https://nycc.org/resources/re_regional_grades.html

They're not listed, but you get the idea.

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Old 04-05-09, 02:40 PM
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Yup, that's the link from the index thread.
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Old 04-05-09, 03:09 PM
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Isn't the pedestrian/bike path on the QBB the old trolley line? I am pretty sure that a trolley isn't capable of a grade much higher than a train, so something less than 8 or 9% seems about the limit.
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Old 04-05-09, 03:53 PM
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Yeah, I can't imagine the bridge being more than 2-3% on either side - if the north hill in Central Park is only 4.45. The Queensboro bridge is definitely easier than that, especially on the queens side.
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Old 04-05-09, 06:23 PM
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When I had my Garmin 705, it indicated the Manhattan bridge was 4-4.5%, if I remember correctly.
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Old 04-05-09, 07:49 PM
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Interesting - the Manhattan and Brooklyn eem to be the easiest to me. The QBB and the WBB seem harder....

I believe the Willy B is the longest; I think that is the hardest (esp. on the Manhattan approach). But I like that it has that nice easier section the middle. The QBB has that false flat as you approach the center and it gets really windy up there which doesn't help!
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Old 04-05-09, 11:03 PM
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The Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge has that winding steep slope that's a nasty setup for what's ahead but I keep my eyes on the prize and just keep pedaling.

It was really windy on Friday and the headwind was wicked strong but I still made in across and back over the Manhattan Bridge without stopping. So far, I haven't had to stop while going over any bridges yet... But I know once really humid, hot weather hits it'll sap the strength from me super quick... Not looking forward to the summer riding across the bridges again. Ugh.
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Old 04-06-09, 12:03 AM
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I always have a harder time riding east across the Brooklyn Bridge, from Manhattan to Brooklyn, than I do riding west, from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Is it the wind? By comparison the Manhattan Bridge seems much easier, either way, either side.
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Old 04-06-09, 05:39 AM
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On all the east river crossings I'm pretty sure it's steeper but shorter from Manhattan so on the way back the incline is much longer.
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Old 04-06-09, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Air View Post
On all the east river crossings I'm pretty sure it's steeper but shorter from Manhattan so on the way back the incline is much longer.
I agree - it's really pronounced and noticeable on the QBB.
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Old 04-06-09, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
I agree - it's really pronounced and noticeable on the QBB.
Especially after midnight, I swear they add like an extra mile to that bridge every night!
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Old 04-06-09, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Air View Post
Especially after midnight, I swear they add like an extra mile to that bridge every night!
LOL! Bridge Gnomes do it to keep you on your toes.
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Old 04-06-09, 01:47 PM
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I rode over the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges on Saturday with my Garmin 305 (with barometric altimeter), and looking at the maps & elevation/distance data in Ascent, came up with these numbers:

BROOKLYN BRIDGE

Manhattan side to tower: 86' rise over .47 mile -> 3.5% average grade
Manhattan side to crest: 100' rise over .63 mile -> 3.0% grade

Brooklyn side to tower: 92' rise over .46 mile -> 3.8% grade
Brooklyn side to crest: 100' rise over .60 mile -> 3.2% grade

MANHATTAN BRIDGE

Brooklyn side to tower: 79' rise over .45 mile -> 3.5%
Brooklyn side to crest: 98' rise over .56 mile -> 3.3%

Manhattan side to tower: 84' rise over .48 mile -> 3.3%
Manhattan side to crest: 106' rise over .66 mile -> 3.0%

The dots in the pics show where I started counting distance & elevation. In each instance, this was more or less the point where the data showed the elevation starting to increase.



If you went out with surveying equipment you'd probably come up with slightly different #s, but this should be a pretty good representation of the grades & distances relative to one another.
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Old 04-06-09, 01:57 PM
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Nice work dude!
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Old 04-06-09, 02:05 PM
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Hey Brian, thanks for posting the data. It's quite a surprise to see actual numbers compared to how it feels crossing the bridges. Maybe the Manhattan Bridge feels easier (to me at least) because the surface is smoother than that boardwalk on the Brooklyn Bridge. Oh yeah... and lack of tourists blocking the way is also a real plus
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Old 04-06-09, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Stacy View Post
Maybe the Manhattan Bridge feels easier (to me at least) because the surface is smoother than that boardwalk on the Brooklyn Bridge. Oh yeah... and lack of tourists blocking the way is also a real plus
Yeah, I think surface, obstacles & wind direction make a big difference in the overall experience. All four of those "hills" do have shorter sections around 5% grade... but overall, pretty similar to one another.

I'll have to get out & try the other East River bridges at some point...
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Old 04-06-09, 08:07 PM
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That's what I always thought, enough to feel it on the way up, but nothing that is a struggle. It is only surprising that the BB is slightly steeper than the MB. The one thing about the Manny B is when the train goes by you feel it in your bones, and I ride a carbon bike. I wonder what that would feel like on steel.
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Old 04-06-09, 10:11 PM
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Thanks so much Brian!

Yeah, I'll be curious to see what the WBB and QBB are. I think the Manhattan side of the QBB seems steepest, for the first portion at least. But the Manhattan side of the WBB kills me the most....it just seems lonnngggggg
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Old 04-08-09, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
That's what I always thought, enough to feel it on the way up, but nothing that is a struggle. It is only surprising that the BB is slightly steeper than the MB. The one thing about the Manny B is when the train goes by you feel it in your bones, and I ride a carbon bike. I wonder what that would feel like on steel.
Feels just fine! I could live without the deafening noise though...
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Old 10-07-17, 12:41 AM
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Bike shop

I am looking for a down to earth bike shop with knowledgeable people. Can anyone recommend one.

The ones I have come are horrible in every way.
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Old 10-07-17, 01:07 AM
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We can thank marathoners because they do a great job documenting the elevation profiles of marathon courses, including the NYC marathon.

I can't link it, but search nyc marathon elevation profile and you'll have exactly what you're looking for.

The main reason for the apparent disparity in grades is that while the center is 130 feet high, you start from a hill of over 50 feet in height.
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Old 10-08-17, 03:14 PM
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Funny how 8 years later I remember this thread and posting to it. And it was resurrected by someone asking a different question. Now I use RidewithGPS and get every elevation on every ride. It gives grades too. These things shouldn't be a mystery anymore.
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Old 02-21-18, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
Funny how 8 years later I remember this thread and posting to it. And it was resurrected by someone asking a different question. Now I use RidewithGPS and get every elevation on every ride. It gives grades too. These things shouldn't be a mystery anymore.
So what was the final verdict on the grades for the 59th Street Bridge?
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Old 02-22-18, 05:28 PM
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This site https://www.transalt.org/sites/defau...urces/bridges/ has a lot of information about all NYC's bridges. At first glance, it doesn't seem to list the elevation grades, but the page for each bridge includes a bunch of additional links pertaining to that bridge. Check it out, and my apology in advance if this is a dead-end.

Follow-Up: Oh, jeez. I didn't realize until just now that this thread is older than my oldest granddaughter. Well, I hope the OP got an answer.
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