Even though I still can't run, I've been taking advantage of the glorious fall weather for cycling on the weekends. For the last three weekends in a row Sam and I have headed over to the famous 9W for some cycling. 9W is the highway on the other side of the George Washington bridge in New Jersey and New York. On the weekends it is the post popular place for local cyclists because you can "easily" get there without a car. Easily is in quotes because it requires going over the GW bridge which has a very, very technical on ramp. I have a fear of biking in traffic and scary places and have managed to avoid the GW bridge for the last two years. For the first two weekends in October we drove to 9W, but after last weekend and terrible traffic that resulted in a 2 hour drive home (12 miles), Sam told me to suck it up and get on my bike. So I did!
Saturday morning was quite chilly so we waited until about 11am to head out. The temps at that time were in the mid-40s and it did warm up a bit as the day went on. First we rode through Queens and over to the Queensboro bridge. We took the bridge into Manhattan, rode up First Avenue, across 72nd Street and into Central Park. I think my closest chance of having an accident was actually in the park when a group of 10 foreign tourists were spread across both lanes and decided to just STOP their bikes with no warning (I may or may not have screamed some profanities as I narrowly swerved through them and avoided a serious pile up). We went through Central Park and exited at the North end, rode through Harlem and Northern Manhattan, and then we arrived at The Bridge.
Getting onto the GW bridge is very tricky. There is a very narrow access ramp that makes a 180 degree turn. It is the same ramp that cyclists and walkers/runners use so it is narrow and crowded. I'd heard horror stories about going up this ramp and I was very scared. I found this video of a cyclist going across the bridge. You can see the footage of him going down the ramp near the end (5:50).
To my great relief I managed to make it up the ramp and over the bridge without any trouble. We stopped at Strictly Bikes in New Jersey for a quick bathroom break and a mental rest after riding through the city and across the bridge. It is 13 miles from our house to Strictly Bikes and it took us 1:26. Then it was time to get in the real riding and head up 9W to Nyack, NY. The ride up was beautiful. The fall colors are magnificent, the air was fresh and smelled like leaves, and I was just happy to be alive and well. After riding through the city 9W felt so liberating.
The Official Garmin Stats: Distance: 59.26 miles
Average Speed: 11. 9mph (city traffic will do that to you)
Climb: +5,115 / -5,152