Archive for the ‘Central Park’ Category

Central Park? Nah!

Tomorrow’s CRCA Club Race will be the third time I’ve taken a ride in Central Park in less than a week. That’s more than the entire rest of the summer this year! Since moving up to Washington Heights, my typical morning ride is the loop over the GWB, through the Palisades Interstate Park on River Road and back down 9W. That 20-mile loop is the perfect morning ride, and it has mostly kept me out of Central Park.

So how did I end up in the park three times in six days? Well, there’s almost always a Monday evening recovery ride that I usually cannot join, but this week I could, so that was one. Then I decided to mix it up for my morning ride on Thursday and go to the park instead of River Road. Things went sideways, fast. First of all, the 30-minute ride to/from the park means less actual “riding” since dodging potholes, trash and cop cars in the bike line – plus traffic lights – doesn’t make for much of a “ride”. That first photo is just one example, but all down St. Nicolas Ave the buildings toss their trash into the bike lane instead of on the sidewalk like everyone else.

But this really takes the cake. Why the city thinks it is OK to create a bike lane and then let the local police precinct park perpendicular instead of parallel is beyond me. If they need to park this way, fine – but let’s acknowledge it and paint the street markings accordingly. Not to mention the parking signs that contradict this behavior as well. And at least in this case there’s enough room on this street to move the lane further out. But I digress…

After finally getting to the park I rode two laps and, while I really do enjoy riding the Central Park Loop, I ultimately hate riding in the park. The biggest reason is that the traffic lights make no sense and really cause way more confusion than help to everyone involved. Cyclists don’t stop, pedestrians don’t stop, and cars, well, for a newly “car free” park, there’s still an awful lot of them on the loop!

The worst incidents, though, were caused by my “fellow” cyclists who I’m ashamed to be associated with. At any red light, I’d slow down and at least make sure there were no pedestrians passing through. And if there are any, I’d stop. Then the pedestrians would begin to cross only to get nearly creamed by some other cyclist barreling through. Running the light is one thing, but not paying attention to others in the road is simply negligent. And then in one case the pedestrian yelled at me for their behavior. I tried to be patient, but as this person had a dog, I shot back, “I saw dog crap a few blocks back and you really need to go clean it up.” My point was completely lost on this soul.

I do enjoy the park, but perhaps it’s no longer a place for bikes except during organized events. The park has lots of lovely things and on this fine morning, I spotted one of the “local” bald eagles. I saw several folks pointing cameraphones into a tree, so I slowed, stopped, and saw the majestic creature perched on a branch seemingly posing for the cameras. As I reached for mine from a safe viewing distance, two cyclist saw the bird and rode right off the road to get a closer look. The eagle took flight and all I got was a wing as it passed behind a tree.

I guess even the eagle was fed up with rude cyclists in the park.

Back on the Bike, Y’all!

This morning I awoke early for a ride in Central Park before going to work. Normally, that’s not a big deal, but other than a brief ride to test out some new gear, I haven’t been on the bike for over a month. This wasn’t the plan, but between illness, travel and an impending move…

2013-10-17 07.33.09It was cool and foggy as I was preparing to get started. At 60F it wasn’t bad and I’d normally go with a summer jersey, but after my illness I wanted to stay warm. And I had a great new long sleeve GFNY jersey just waiting to get on the bike with me, so long sleeve it was. And it was a good choice. First, it never warmed up. Second, it rained a bit on the ride. Third, and most important, this jersey is really comfortable! I was warm from the start and as my body warmed up from activity, I never felt too hot (and that was a definite concern.) The jersey was definitely “breathing” and I really appreciated it.

From where I live (for another week, anyway) I enter the park in the middle of Harlem Hill, so it’s an immediate effort. But being fresh, that small bit of hill always feels nice. My concern this morning was that I’d be sluggish from the time off. Instead, I powered up that part of the hill, around the park 3+ times, and felt terrific! It wasn’t a day meant for PR’s (although I actually got a few) but a day to appreciate that any ride can be a great ride.

Since it was dark and wet when I entered the park, the flashing red lights zooming around the loop were in full force. And since my first lap was pretty slow, plenty of those lights went zooming by as well. But during the second lap, right around 7:15 AM, I noticed that the lights had practically disappeared even though it was still dark. “Oh, right, shift change!”

Overall, it was a great ride. Even after the time off, it was just like riding a bike.

Dear Central Park Runners (Part 2)

Dear Central Park Runners,

Please don’t spit over your right shoulder as that would be me in the bike lane.

Sincerely,
Flywheel Fred

Dear Central Park Runners (Part 1)

Dear Central Park Runners,

Please LOOK before veering right into the bike lane. Sure, I can almost certainly avoid you, but that heart rate spike really messes with my Strava stats.

Sincerely,
Flywheel Fred