Back in the UK, I’d been commuting by bike seriously for most of my thirties – by Brompton at first then from Brockley to our lovely bike racks at BERG most days on my Roll-1.
I’d done a few big rides in the past with the BRIG CC, including the Dunwich Dynamo.
However 2014 was the year that I seriously got the cycling bug, and NYC not London was where it happened.
Bought a road bike
I was quite daunted by this – my first long ride in NYC. It wasn’t that big, about 40miles. It’s a fantastic leisurely ride however, with no cars and access to places bikes aren’t usually permitted like the BQE and Verrezano Narrows bridge. Great fun.
Riding to the rockaways
From Brooklyn in the summer there’s a great ride to be had down to Coney Island from Prospect Park and then further out into the Rockaways.
The city falls away quite quickly to suburbia, then nature then seaside surfurbia again.
And the reward at the end is the sea, juice and tacos!
NYC Century Bike Tour
The NYC Century Bike Tour was the big one though – and I’d thought I’d built up enough confidence riding through the summer to take it on.
It’s a bit of a challenge to follow the course, and you can get led astray in some of the sparser sections where the crowd of cyclists thins out to one or two hoping the person in front knows where they are going… As a result, got back to Prospect Park and realised I still had about a mile to go to make the 100! So, a lap of the park it was before I could really finish…
Palisades, 9W and River Road in Autumn…
Undoubtedly however, the 9W and River-Road route is the reason I’ve taken to road cycling so heavily in NYC. It’s simply beautiful, especially in Autumn.
From Brooklyn it’s a bit of a shlep to the start of the route at the GWB, but get over the Brooklyn Bridge early enough and even that is a treat.
You can’t really complain when you’re on the dedicated bike lane of the West-Side Highway for most of that either… But there’s a certain relief when you reach the little red lighthouse and you know the good stuff is about to begin.
Once over the GWB you can opt to head deeper into New Jersey and then back into New York State via the 9W, or more usually in Autumn to take in the colours of “The Fall” as they say in these parts and ride the rolling hills of River Road.
The other culprit for getting me deeper into road riding was of course Strava, and the ‘gamification’ of rides, competing with myself and friends. Also possibly the camaraderie of cursing Strava when it crashed or didn’t record your ride properly…
In all seriousness though, Strava (and my community there) does keep me riding and seems to help me incrementally improve my riding. I’m starting to get deeper into exploring new routes and possibly one day I’ll actually commit to some proper training through it…
Finally – I think the cold but sunny and dry nature of most of the winter in NYC really appealed to me – the 9W got quieter, and I started heading out further.
My favourite destination quickly became Rockland Lake.
Massive thanks to Kim Granlund for acting as personal coach and guide through 2014!