Thursday, November 1, 2007
July 2007 I was in the best shape to date. I biked to work in Brooklyn almost every day it didn't rain. I did laps in Central Park two mornings a week before work, around 6:30 aM, with Susan K., whom I met on the 5BBC Hudson ride. She rides a road bike, its tough to keep up on my Gary Fisher Tiburon hybrid but I still managed to turn in 15 mph laps. t the end of July I rode the 55 mile route of the Bike New York Harlem Valley Rail Ride on my hybrid. It was challenging and fun, a pretty ride on country roads. To one accustomed to NYC drivers and the antics I'd seen from some of them as a marshal on the Tour de Brooklyn, the way that the Dutchess County drivers patiently waited as I came down the road and went through a turn was amazingly nice.
On the evening of July 31st on my way home from work on my bike, after getting up early to do 2 laps in Central Park at 6 am and then putting in a 12 hour shift at work, I blacked out and crashed. Fortunately, the fractures were all non-displaced and healed with just splints. I awoke in the emergency room as they cut my Team One Family jersey off despite my protest that it has a zippered front. Fortunately they didn't feel the need to cut my bike shorts off.
Right on schedule per the orthopedist's forecast I was able to ride the 55 mile route of the Transportation Alternatives New York Century on September 9th. At the Canarsie Pier rest stop, I met up with Sammy Zack of Team One Family. He was riding captain on a tandem with a blind friend of his riding stoker. After chatting, they headed off on the 75 mile route and I continued on the 55. A great day with really good weather. The route was pretty good, though its hard to make a decent pace up Eastern Parkway in the midde of the day -- even if you're in a car you end up stopping at almost every traffic light. Still, I was really happy to have full independent mobility again and to have enough strength and stamina to do the 50 miles despite the concerns of my wife and my Mom to take it easy. Easy's not very interesting/fun, got to challenge yourself or you don't move forward in life.
Urgent gall bladder removal the Thursday afterward put a stop to my riding for a while. Even laproscopic abdominal surgery takes a lot out of you.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Even after all the riding on her steel frame mountain bike with 24" wheels (mind you, triples helped some though the 5 speed cassette wasn't such a big gear in 1st), she still made an 8 mph pace to the subway station where we caught the D train back home to the Upper West Side.
Monday, July 2, 2007
I made new acquaintances, we'll see if any of them get in touch to ride together. A really nice day for a ride, not too hot with little wind and puffy white clouds in a nice blue summer sky.
I rode with the 5BBC to Hackensack, NJ to the WWII Submarine museum. That was an interesting destination and many of us went on the tour. The ride back was of course hilly as we climbed Ft. Lee road and came at the GWB from the south.
The next Sunday ride was with hazon.org for their Bike to the Beach. I joined their "advanced" group and rode with Sammy Zack and others from Team One Family as well as the ebullient leader from Hazon, Tobi. The route included the entire length of the Brooklyn shore greenway. I'd only seen this view on the 5-boro bike tour as we zoomed by on the BQE. This was betwee the BQE and the water, very nice with nice cool breezes. Not too crowded but with plenty of folks using it, I was able to get up to an 18mph pace.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
I rode to work a few times this week, after taking off the week after the Montauk Century. Minor bicycle repairs, I had to do a serious amount of chain lubrication with help from Eddie at Eddie's Bicycle shop, who adjusted my rear brakes as well. I recommend him highly. Eddie's a real nice fellow with over 40 years in the business; he's the owner and chief mechanic and when you need a repair you talk to him directly.
odometer: 69:36:15 1826 total miles 796.23 this season 11.4 mph average
Sunday, May 20, 2007
We headed out at about 6:40 AM. It was a great ride with some really nice scenery. The rest stops were great and we kept the time there as short as possible.
Somewhere around the 60 mile mark, Alex blew out a tire (not just the tube, there was a hole in the sidewall) so we had to leave him for SAG and pedal onward.
I tried to keep an average 15mph pace; sometimes it was a bit tough, others somehow it seemed I was able to push up to 18-20 mph with not to terrible resistance on the pedaling but that didn't last more than a few miles at a time then I dorpped back to 15 or 14 as the terrain became hllier.
Hither Hilss was indeed quite hilly. I managed to coast down one hill standing in my pedals and pulling my elbows in; I managed to coast up the next rise and then down again so that was great...and then came one long hill. After that were were pretty much ome free and I zoomed down that one's backside with glee and enjoyed the fabulous ocean views.
Start of day mileage (in Dix Hills):
56:01:26 riding time
616.63 miles this season
10.9 mph average
End of day, after pedaling home from Penn Station up the Greenway as usual:
733.15 miles this season
11.3 mph average this season
116.52 miles for the day
8.33 hours riding time
14 mph average speed for the day
Thursday, May 17, 2007
After munching on bialy and lox, I had a look at the Ansel Adams exhibit in the art museum. That was great, to see the master photographer's prints in person is so much better than a book or poster.
Afterwards, I parted ways with the rest of my extended family and went for a ride up to Lloyd's Neck and around and down to the Cold Spring Harbor station. It was really pretty riding near the water on West Shore Road and I didn't have too many killer hills when I made the turn to West Neck Road (which becomes Woodbury Road when it crosses 25A). About 10 miles of riding for that leg.
Tuesday I took a long ride down to Sears at Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a new toaster oven I'd ordered online. It was quite tricky to get the box secured to my bike rack; the fellow at the Sears merchandise pickup helped me supplement my bungee cords with twine. I made it back home without a problem.
Along the way home, I met a fellow named Mike who was riding his single-speed race bike. We rode up the Greenway together for a while, until he got another flat and had to walk out to the subway, and chatted as he extolled the virtues of the single speed. Mike says he goes up the back hill in Central Park at 18 mph! The catch is that downhill, he can only go as fast as he can pedal: there is no freewheeling with this type of bike. Mike is going to ride the Montauk (I think the 100, or was it the 145) on his fixed-gear bike; the mostly flat terrain is well-suited to it and the rolling hills of Hither Hills State Park are not so long and steep that he can't pedal fast enough to keep up. He's never done the Montauk on the fixed-gear before. I hope to see him at the finish line and find out how it went, should be interesting though I don't see myself getting a fixed-gear bike anytime soon.
Odometer: 55:05:05, 11.0 mph average on the odomoter, 609.86 miles this season 1640 total on the odometer.
The early morning was chilly, I wore my red long sleeve jersey and leg warmers.
I ride a hybrid: that's a ATB ("all terrain" AKA "mountain" bike) frame, with front suspension, and road wheels. Over the course of this last month or so, I've been riding downhills in a more sort of mountain-bike style where I stand on my pedals as you see in this photo of me coming off the Queesboro bridge. Usually, I do this with my knees flexed and try to lean forward while pushing my weight back, keeping a very light touch on my handlebars. The idea is to streamline myself more than hunching forward while seated because I have more flexibility when standing. It also lets me flex with vibration and shock as I go over rough road surface.
At the Astoria rest stop, I changed to my Team One Family blue short-sleeve jersey.
Leaving Astoria, we passed under the Queensboro bridge.
Not quite sure where this was taken.
I managed to get and stay relatively near the front of the tour. I found a Flick group with photos other riders took on the tour which only reinforced to me the imperative of pedaling hard and staying ahead of the massive mob epsecially when you get to steep hills like the Queensboro bridge approach, where a thousand weaker riders in front of you can bring things to a halt for you no matter how good a rider you are as they struggle up to the bridge (never mind the great funneling of folks from the broad Sixth Avenue into the narrower Central Park East Drive). yomamali's collection of photos from the Commerce Bank 5 Boro Bike Tour 2007.
I had a great ride but next year I'm going to pay more attention at Astoria so that when people start heading out before the posted end time for the mandatory stop, I'll be with them. Not that my position in the tour was so terrible leaving Astoria at 9:55 AM -- I certainly was not delayed by mobs of slow riders ahead of me, I had plenty of room to ride as hard as I could.
Monday, May 7, 2007
I once complained to some NYPD officers standing around in the plaza doing nothing much; they said they were on CounterTerrorism patrol and couldn't do anything. Of course, they don't realize that in an emergency (including a terrorist incident) the narrow road is narrowed further by the illegally parked cars so emergency vehicles would have great difficulty getting past all the regular traffic snarled in the area. Indeed, this row of 12-15 illegally parked vehicles would make a great site for a car bomb but you don't see them checking underneath the cars for explosives etc. nor looking in the back of the big moving van that was parked there the day I complained directly opposite all the city offices in 1 Centre Street (and directly in front of the northernmost fire hydrant on the block).
Jay Street in Brooklyn, which is one of the streets bordering the Metrotech campus, has on several occasions had an officer posted to keep the bus stop clear and keep an eye on the numerous vehicles double-parked in back of the Marriott (which is the entrance to NYCERS and next to the entrance of the Metropolitan Credit Union which also has something related to NYPD in the same building). I was told by one of the officers one day that he'd had a busy morning chasing off numerous vehicles including an NYPD Captain in his official car. When I came back at lunchtime I saw him busy at one end of the block chasing off someone while a hundred or so feet in back of him someone in civilian clothes pulled up in a car and parked, leaving some photocopied sheet about NYPD mug shot division (not even an official NYPD parking placard) and disappeared into the Marriott. The uniformed officer on bus stop duty noticed, and when I left was looking over the car while grumbling about the nuisance this car was creating. I don't know what happened but I suspect nothing official like ticketing much less the well-deserved towing a car with no claim to NYPD affiliation would receive.
Odometer: 45:32:38 / 504.89 miles this season / 1535 total.
That makes 17.17 miles today, which includes walking my bike to Eddie's Bicycle Shop for a replacement inner tube for the rear wheel after the valve stem broke while inflating it this morning, and despite my pedaling home vigorously up the West Side except for having to stop for a red light (and indeed doing a decent clip of around 12 mph on most of Chambers Street) at 15-18 mph this is an average speed of 10.28 mph today.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
38 hours 41 minutes 16 seconds riding time
10.9 mph average speed
425.60 miles this season
1455 miles since I got the odometer in summer 2006.
At the end of today, including my ride back up the West Side Greenway home,
43 hours 52 minutes 25 seconds riding time
11.0 mph average (when I got on the ferry it was 11.1)
487.72 miles this season
1518 total miles
A bit of calculation shows that for this interval, which includes riding to work (Chambers street really drags my average down) my average speed was 12 mph.
I managed to keep up about 18 mph for much of the tour, with some bursts to 20 and on the shore parkway I had an exceptionally smooth run of about 25 mph for a while. Of course, the lead riders were 5+ mph faster than whatever I did.
We had a mandatory stop at Astoria for a half hour (it was supposed to be until 10:05AM but we actually left about 9:55 AM).
The ride down the FDR drive was a lot of fun. When we went through the long underpass everyone went "wooo", it echoed and reverberated as we zoomed through.
My bike is a "hybrid", ATB ("mountain bike") frame but only front shock absorbers. Its heavier than most road bikes even though I have reasonable road wheels on it. There were quite a few places, though, where the road surface was pitted or almost as bad, patched, that made for quite a bit of vibrations...which I didn't feel at all as I coasted downhill standing on my pedals crouched forward as much as I can -- the classic mountain bike 'jump' position. With a light touch on the handlebars to keep control and my knees flexed and loose I took great glee in zipping down at 20-27 mph past many people on road bikes who had to slow or damage their bikes. Of course, once we came to the next hill some of those people passed me as my speed dropped to 12 mph.
The Veranzano bridge was the most difficult climb. Not the steepest, it was definitely the longest. No matter how hard I pushed and switched gears down to where I had just enough resistance I just couldn't get above 9 mph on the way up. While I think my speed up the Queensboro approach ramp was 7, that was a much shorter run.
After a brief stop at the festival I pedaled over to the Staten Island Ferry hoping that if I made the 12 pm boat I could just about make it up to the parade. I made the boat but we didn't sail until 12:20 PM so I couldn't make the parade. My wife Golda did make it there in plenty of time from home; she saw Shira and Shira saw her so they both were happy.
I hope the Brightroom folks got some pics of me, I certainly passed them several times. If they did, I'll post them here.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
The finish line on the 5 Boro bike tour at Staten Island opens at 11AM. The tour organizers state that the front of the line moves at a 15 mph pace (and the back at 6 mph). I know there is mandatory stop at Astoria for the lead riders. I'm not any sort of official lead but I hope to maintain that 15 MPH pace and be among those who are on the first Staten Island Ferry back to Manhattan then hustle back uptown and over to 5th avenue to reach the parade and see my daughter. While a bicycle isn't as fast a subway train when both are moving, I don't have to wait for my bicycle to arrive nor spend time getting on or off a train nor do I have to stop every 10 blocks to pick up passengers.
I'm looking over the route to find the subway stations in Brooklyn that we pass near so that if I'm short on time I can bail out. My experience is that trying to get up or down the East Side on a bicycle without interference from special events is a frustratingly long and slow trip because the East Side Greenway ends at 23rd street; trying to get uptown on the roads will get me maybe 8 mph average speed. A subway ride to Herald Square is probably a good compromise on a bailout.
Most of my riding now is up and down the West Side Greenway to Chambers Street to the Brooklyn Bridge to Tillary St. to Jay St. to the bicycle rack at Metrotech. I am trying to keep a 15 mph pace on the Greenway and to go up the bridge the best I can which is as low as 7 mph in the steeper uphill parts.
Odometer now at
37 hrs 38 min 36 sec
10.9 mph average speed (seems to fluctuate between 10.9 and 10.8 depending on how many red lights I hit on the Greenway)
1442 total miles
411.81 this season
Monday, April 23, 2007
After eating our lunch on the easternmost end of the boardwalk, we headed back toward NYC with some rather tough hills. Things got somewhat confusing when we came to Round Swamp Road. Since the reality of day rides is that not everyone can keep the same pace and ride as a pack at all times, the 5BBC day rides use a "point-drop-sweep" system to supplement the directions ("cue sheet") handed out at the start of the ride. One leader rides point and another rides in the back as sweep. At turns, an experienced rider is left to give direction to those following. At Round Swamp Road, the "drop" told me to turn left and I thought I heard "turn right at the [first] [traffic] light". I rode along for a while with no traffic light in sight until after going through the Northern State Parkway underpass. At that point, I stopped to check the cue sheet which indicated a right turn on Manetto Hill Road. Since I grew up on Long Island and lived and drove there for many years (and my 2nd job was located in a Plainview industrial park off Old Country Road and I used to take the Round Swamp Road exit from the LIE and go south to the office so this area was familiar from 25 years ago), this sounded familiar but I couldn't quite recall where Manetto Hill Road was, it didn't seem to me that I remembered it crossing Round Swamp Road. I saw nobody else from the group as I kept going to the LIE. I didn't have a map with me (arrogance, relying on memory of where I used to live and work) and this seemed too far. I went back up to the Northern State underpass and still saw noone. I called my Mom who checked a map for me and after I reviewed the cue sheet with her I came up with an alternate plan.
I headed back down Round Swamp past where it joins Old Country Road. Eventually I found Manetto Hill Road, made my right turn and then found Washington. Suspiciously, the cue sheet says left on Washington but Washington was on the right. I went up Washington and found the Executive Drive intersection marked on the cue sheet. I looked at the very steep hill and decided to follow my Mom's recommendation: skip Washington, take Manetto Hill to Sunnyside instead. After stopping for refreshment and a map at a gas station on Manetto Hill, I realized that in fact Manetto Hill ends at Woodbury Road so I skipped Sunnyside, hoping to catch up to the group at the rest stop, I continued on, picked up the route at Angel Way and made my way onto the LIE North Service Road. Now I could pick up speed the route was more level with gently rolling hills and I got my pace up to 15-17 mph. I eventually got to the rest stop, where the counter clerk told me that the group of cyclists had left about an hour or hour-and-a-half before. I headed out again.
As I passed Old Westbury Road, it was getting late and I had no bike lights with me to ride at night. After pulling off the road, I checked my new Nassau County map and the cue sheet. I decided to head for the Alberton LIRR station and take the train to Penn Station. I turned down Glen Cove Road then IU Willets and soon found the LIRR station where someone waiting in his car told me the NYC train was due at 7:04. I tried to buy a ticket from the ticket vending machine with 3 different credit cards and my ATM debit card. None of them worked and I hadn't enough cash. So much for bailing and taking the LIRR.
The brief respite at the LIRR station helped me recover a bit and I was able to cycle a bit quicker as I headed west following the cue sheeet back to Cunningham Park. As I crossed New Hyde Park Road headed West on Union Turnpike, the Sun dipped below the horizon but I felt that -- though they weren't on yet -- the street lights would provide some margin of safety as it got darker. It stayed light for quite a while and I made it past Cunnigham Park and back to the F train before it really got dark.
The F train wouldn't take me home easily so I switched to the E and after changing again at 42nd St/Times Square made it to my apartment building at about 9:30 PM. A long exhausting day. But, overall, fun. Losing the group was not good though, and in the future I'll make sure to get cell phone #s so I can rejoin the group if I get separated.
I have a membership in Eastern Athletic Clubs which I originally purchased because their facility at the Mariott Brooklyn Bridge is across Jay Street from the Metrotech campus where I work; I use it to shower and change when I bike to work. They have some additional locations all of which are much better equipped.
I tried two spin classes, one "high intensity" and one "low intensity". They were fun, and the music was great -- I haven't heard anyone playing the 80s Michael Jackson hits ("Billy Jean", "Thriller") in a long time and there were even better songs. None of the ultra-modern "Techno" or "House" that I can barely listen to (I wonder if my parents felt the same about ELP, ELO, and Yes much less the artists like Jethro Tull I added to my tastes in college....so far my daughters like listening to their Daddy's old ABBA and Moody Blues tapes when they're not singing the latest choral pieces from school). Most importantly, I feel I got a decent workout in 45 minutes and some good stretching techniques as well. The main issue in regards training for cycling is that while I rarely stand on my pedals for more than a few pedal strokes as I get moving from a full stop, both classes had a lot of standing "climbs" (turn the resistance knob up).
I did like the variety of the Wednesday "medium intensity" class whose insructor is more of a mountain biker so he had us simulating jumps. While it has you standing on your pedals rather than sitting, its different from a standing climb in two key aspects: you don't turn up the resistance and you are bent forward over the handle bars. Of course in a *real* jump on a real mountain bike you'd also pull the front wheel up. I'd never tried jumps, since I don't do off-road riding.
Spinning class seems only useful as a fall-back when I can't ride outdoors. There is of course no breeze from your motion and a room full of people spinning away gets quite warm. Most of all, it just doesn't have the right mix to train one for real cycling on a real bicycle up real hills. I will continue to use spinning class here and there because its fun once a week anyway and has some overall cardiovascular training benefit -- and some leg strength benefit too.
Friday, April 6, 2007
I got a Team One Family jersey the other day from Sammy Zack. The day was quite nice and warm so I wore it that evening -- and the temperature at 7PM was cold. I thought I would get warmer after crossing the Brooklyn Bridge but while Chambers St. was a bit better the West Side Greenway was quite cold. Its a nice jersey but its not realiably warm enough to wear it.
Last Sunday, April 1, I joined the 5 Boro Bike Club (5BBC) on one of their Montauk training rides. We met at 9 AM at Columbus Circle and then headed uptown to the George Washington Bridge and over the south path (which closed for construction the next day through June 2; now cyclists and pedestrians have to share the north path with its stairs instead of ramps). I managed to get through the fairly hilly ride through suburban NJ to the Westwood Pancake House. While I was not the slowest up the hill, those who were slower were also at least ten years older. Though they were on road bikes and I'm still riding my "hybrid" Gary Fisher Tiburon ATB frame with road tires (though not slicks) I was still barely 1 mph faster up the big long hill -- and at least 3 mph slower than the rest of the group.
The next day, Monday erev Pesach I managed to get time in the afternoon to ride up the West Side Greenway to the area under the George Washington Bridge down by the river. The "Little Red Light House" section is still under construction, no idea what they're up to but they've been at it since at least last summer. This is a mostly flat run though its got that tricky on-road connector at 135th st going out onto the street and around Fairway to the new bike path built last year outside the sewer plant. Its a very nicely built path and i was pleased to see that it has been maintained, with some walls put up to keep the hill from sliding onto the path and last year's slides cleaned up.
At this time, my odometer is 205.39 miles (effectively, all the miles I've done this season) 10.8 mph average speed (37.3 maximum, achieved on one long steep downhill in NJ on Sunday, bent over as flat as I could get; managed to get most of the way up the next hill coasting n that one) which I rode in a total of 18:56:26 hours (i.e. 18 hours 56 minutes 26 seconds). I mentioned my relatively low average speed to some folks on the ride and they assured me that since most of my miles are commuting in Manhattan I'm doing pretty well. Its true that riding to work across Chambers street I have to stop at least every other block for the traffic light and even if I sprint up to 18 mph mid-block I soon have to come to a complete stop then wait and accelerate back up. I probably make an average 5 mph across Chambers.
Going home at night is better I only stop once usually and then again waiting to cross West Street to the Greenway.
Now that it is shortly after 10 AM and I'm off to ride around Central Park. Weather report says 34 degrees. I'm going to wear my winter jePublishrsey and my long sleeve jersey and of course my insulated bib tights. This afternoon is my LASIK surgery no more riding outside for a week.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Odometer reading (cumulative):29.86 miles (a reading called "odo1" says 1060 miles), average speed 10.9 mph maximum speed 23.7 mph.
Off to work by bike again gotta pedal FAST this morning!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
So last Wednesday as you should know we got a dcent amount of snow here in NYC. I managed to get all dressed up in my cold weather bike clothing, fetch my bike from the bicyle storage room in the basement of the apartment building and make it to the front door just as the freezing rain that became snow started to fall. I turned around, put the bike away and changed back to regular clothes then headed to the gym. I belong to the Eastern Athletic Clubs (primarily and originally because they have a facility a block from where I work; weather permitting I bicycle to work, lock my bike in a rack and take a shower and change clotes at the gym then walk over to the office) and there's a couple of weeks left in our family membership at the JCC Manhattan.
When I go work out on a weekday I'm either heading to or from the office so I stop at the Tribeca facility of EAC; on a weekend, I use a guest pass (our membership is a pool rather than fitness membership) at the JCC fitness center. In the last week its been twice Tribeca, where I ride a recumbent bicylce trainer as hard as I can for about a half hour then do some situps and maybe lift a little weights, and once JCC. The JCC facility is MUCH nicer I must say and has better weekend hours. I can't really afford both but the occasional guest pass is worthwhile. JCC has actual Schwinn bicycle trainers in the fitness center (EAC has them only in the "spin studio in Tribeca where they can only be used in a "spin class"). Most cool is that one of the 2 trainers at the JCC has clipless pedals (dual side, one side is a decent toe clip 'box', the other is for cleats and the pattern is SPD, which is what I have on my bicycle and in my mountain bike shoes). Wish I had found that earlier but with spring here I'm going to start biking to work again. Hopefully the slush on the street corners will have been removed or melted by 9 AM tomorrow when I have to leave. Then of course there's the condition of the greenway path, I guess I will find out the hard way.
No gym tonight, stuff to do at home but I managed to get in 20 situps. My daughter Shira held my feet down (by standing on them) and counted repetitions. No joy on pushups, I couldn't manage more than 2; I'll have to do a bunch of chest presses at the gym to build up strength.
Monday, March 12, 2007
I only had time for one loop around Central Park before work this morning and when I got home I noticed that the mileage on my bike odometer (Blackburn Delphi 2.0 had gone past 1000 miles (since I had reset the thing back in July while troubleshooting) -- and rolled over back to zero, resetting my average speed history and leaving no indication of the past :-(
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Last Sunday I got my bike cleaned up and relubed. Today I got on my cool weather cycling clothes and went off to Central Park to do some laps. Its been almost 2 months since I was out riding and even that was in Florida. Still, with judicious use of gears I made it through 2 laps on my "hybrid" bicycle (Mountain bike frame with front shock absorbers, only, and regular road tires) no problem.
Back home now, I've got to get ready for tonight's Manhattan Day School dinner. This is my daughter Shira's 1st year performing in the MDS choir so Golda and I are eager for that part of the presentation tonight.