Pink Flamingos and a Chocolate Fountain

That’s how we roll in Springsteen territory, baby. Both were on display at the last rest area before the finish of the Twin Lights ride, a tour of scenic New Jersey. Kudos to Bike New York and a team of hard-working volunteers for organizing a terrific day!

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Monty and I left home in the dark and subwayed down to Wall St., where a chartered ferry awaited. (Forgive the blurriness – I was undercaffeinated.)

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While everyone else jostled to park their bikes on the deck, I folded Monty, found a seat and a cup of coffee. It was a beautiful morning, and sunrise over the bay was lovely.

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So was the dawn-lit Verrazano-Narrows bridge.

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The ride started from a park in Highlands, NJ. I had some time to stroll around, eat a donut and chat with other riders, including the only other Bromptoneer I spotted all day. Monty drew a lot of attention and questions; I should start carrying some NYCeWheels business cards.

Bike New York’s communications manager snapped a photo of us.

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The 75- and 100-mile groups started first, and at 8:30 we 55-milers set off.

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I took a cue sheet, but one of the volunteer marshals (all very friendly and knowledgeable) assured me that I wouldn’t need it; the course was well-marked with bright pink arrows, and police were stationed at major intersections to wave us in the right direction. Even during long stretches of riding alone, I never lost my way.

The route was moderately hilly, mostly well-paved and beautiful. I crossed the Navesink River…

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admired the early fall foliage…

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and passed farms, ponds and lush green fields.

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There were rest areas every 10 miles or so, all offering a choice of snacks and a route map with encouraging you are here markers.

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I ran into the Bromptoneer I’d met earlier, and we rode together for a few miles. He’d had a flat tire patched by a mechanic but it flattened again; fortunately, I was able to give him a spare tube, and wished him well as he returned to the previous rest area for help.

Monty’s tires held up admirably. I, on the other hand, started to flag during the last 10 (steep!) miles, and had to walk part of the final big hill, as did many other riders. And therein lies the chief lesson of the day: Pre-ride training is important! (I knew that, but now I know it.) Work and life have been so hectic recently that I missed the long ride I’d planned for the previous weekend and didn’t eat/sleep/exercise as well as I should have. I finished my 55 miles but felt completely knackered by the end.

Second biggest opportunity for improvement: My hands, despite Ergon grips and gel-padded gloves, are still numb and weak a few days later. I tend toward a death grip when riding downhill or over rough terrain; I also clutch the brake more often than necessary. I’m working on behavior modification, keeping my hands looser and more open – and keeping in mind that the habits I develop during a daily commute must serve me during long rides as well.

This was my third big ride, and the most challenging to date. I have so much to learn! But I’m enjoying the journey. Next up: the Tour de Bronx.

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About Unfolded NYC

I live in Manhattan with a husband, two cats and a Brompton M6L named Monty. Contact me: unfoldednyc at gmail dot com (you know what to do)
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12 Responses to Pink Flamingos and a Chocolate Fountain

  1. Saul says:

    You and Monty make quite e striking couple.

  2. Saul says:

    …quite THE striking…

  3. Unfolded NYC says:

    Why, thank you, Saul! We’re very happy together.

  4. Saul says:

    It’s a beautiful thing when that happens, and he’s always ready to rock and roll whenever you beckon..

  5. Unfolded NYC says:

    Who says money can’t buy happiness, Saul?

  6. freshy17 says:

    That seems like a fun adventure for you and Monty. I’d like to give you an update on the reduced gearing issue that I had been considering for my M6L. Well, after some thought I decided to get the reduced gearing. Is not an expensive or a definite modification. Knowing I could go back if it didn’t feel right gave me some assurance. The folks at the Brompton headquarters here in my city gave me a hand with the mechanics. It was only a matter of buying the 44 tooth chainring (they had it readily available) and taking two links off the chain. The whole process took like 20-25 mins.

    I felt an immediate difference. The pedalling was softer so now I can start from standstill in 4th gear without ruining my knees and 5th has become my prefered gear. I’ve been using my 6th gear (the hardest one) like never before. And I feel like the low gears would allow me to climb walls if I needed to. It took me like a couple of days to get used to the new rythm but once I did I was riding comfortably as ever if not more. I’m very happy with the reduced gearing so far. Since my new 5th gear is longer than my old 4th, eventhough the chainring is smaller than the 50t original, it allows me to go a little faster with less effort. I haven’t lost any soeed on flats or downhills, so far I haven’t encountered a situation where I run out of gears and/or feel pedalling on empty. And there’s no slope steep enough to intimidate me anymore 🙂

    The main advantage is that now I can use the whole range of gears offered by my B. Instead of having the 6th as ornament.
    The only “downsize” is that shifting gears between 4 and 5 requires the use of both levers, while shifting between 3 and 4 is simpler. But it’s not a big deal really. Once I got the hang of it I’m happy as a clam.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post but I wanted to share my experience in case it proves useful to you and other fellow Brompton riders

    Cheers!

  7. freshy17 says:

    Hi, its me. I’ve posted on your blog before as Laura. WordPress messed with my password and logged me in under a different screen name

  8. Unfolded NYC says:

    I thought that was you, Laura! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with reduced gearing – fascinating, and definitely something I’m going to consider. The Big Apple and the DF have a lot in common, no?

  9. Quite some ride there, Ms UnfoldedNYC (& write-up). Well done & keep ’em coming…

  10. biker2012 says:

    55 miles on a Bromie definitely an achievement; a lot more legs spins needed than a standard 26″ tourer! I have a 58 to 9 gearing on my 22″ wheels on my Bike Friday folder – so it flies!

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