Got the new Cat Eye computer the other day along with a few new Planet Bike water bottle cages in my favorite color, black. I was really surprised by how easy the whole thing was to set up. I was worried when I first ordered it that the install would be a pain in the ass since there is only one button. I could just see myself trying to reprogram it using morse code. Instead, I pleased to discover that there are actually three (very small) buttons on the underside that allow you to set the time, mph/kpm, wheel size, and custom odometer settings. It was also incredibly easy to install all the pieces and parts. The wheel measurement was also surprisingly easy but does make me a little nervous. It was the one place where I could potentially screw up all my data in one little step. Moving on ahead, rather than spend hours on Google Maps entering in all my rides to date and figuring out my mileage to date , I decide on a nice easy 100 mile odometer entry. It’s likely a little low but who cares when you’re planning on spending thousands of miles in the saddle.
Now armed with my new toy and plenty of hydration, I set out on my most ambitious ride to date. I’ve been getting a little tired of the NYC bike trails with all their stop and go, preplanned routes, and heavy traffic. I needed something new for such a ground breaking ride (not really, but who cares?). With that in mind, I decided I would finally tackle my next major bridge into Manhattan, the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey.
I set out over the Williamsburg bridge and made a quick stop at Irving Plaza to pick up a few tickets tocal H just to make sure, no matter what happens, the ride is already a success. Then, it was on up to Central Park for a quick half loop before continuing on up St. Nicholas to the GW. It was a beautiful Friday afternoon and people were out en mass to celebrate the coming weekend. I managed to miss most of St. Nicholas Ave. on my last ride round Manhattan so I was fairly pleased to discover another new and beautiful street. With the help of some fellow bikers, I found the entrance to the bridge and was quickly on my way. It’s a weird crossing, the GW, with all the stairs up and down, and a few sharp corners as you work your way around the towers. I didn’t research the ride at all so I was little confused when I got to the other side as to which way was the best. After a few moments of internal debate, I decide to just follow the next group of riders off the bridge who headed north. Good idea. Turns out that you can pick up a popular, well marked bike route along Route 9 that takes you all way through the New Jersey Palisades and in back in to New York. It was a busy road with a fair amount of traffic but I was pleased to note how many other cyclists were going back and forth. I like to believe that the more riders on the road, the more drivers are aware and prepared to go around.
After getting off the bridge, my computer said I had already done about 15 miles. Not bad at all! I decided that I would follow this route for another 10 miles out before I turned back. I think it was the perfect plan. A littler further on, the road opened up with a nice, wide berm to easy separate me from traffic and actually feel quite peaceful as it wound through the woods. As I approached the 10 mile mark, I wound down into a valley reaching some very exilirating speeds. This took me down into the nice little town of Piermont, NY. Looking for nice place to stop and grab a bite to eat, I quickly came across a coffee shop with plenty of bike parking out front some other cyclists enjoying the day. Turns out, according to the newspaper clipping in the window, this is a favorite stop of Lance Armstrong when he’s in town. After a quick little lunch, it was time to turn back. I stopped by some small waterfalls on the way out before tackling those fast hills on the way in. I was definitely glad for the energy boost as I slowly wheeled my way back home.
The ride back home was starting to get a little chilly for the t-shirt and shorts I had so eagerly donned on the way out. Perhaps I was also bit too eager for long ride because I was definitely exhausted for the rest of the day and into the next. The Brooks is getting better but is still a long way off too. All in all, it felt great to finally put in a good long ride and some real hill experience.
Next goal: Get back in the saddle soon to keep the body moving and used to the work.
Total time: 4:18
Total Distance: 58 miles
Average Speed: 13.5
Max Speed: 36mph
New Odometer Reading: 159 miles