Around Manhattan

In preparation for the Tour de Staten Island, Monty and I set out to circumnavigate our island via the Greenway. We didn’t, quite, but an exceptionally windy day (why are they always head- rather than tailwinds?) gave us a good 20+ mile workout.

To balance all that legwork, first I biked to Tribeca and took a Bar Method class. It hurt. The instructor laughed at my pain-face.

On the way to the bike path entrance at Chambers St., I stopped at the Tribeca farmers’ market and bought a chocolate cherry roll from Hot Bread Kitchen. (Not the last carb/fat/sugar bomb of the day. Stay tuned.)

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Despite the gusts, spinning along the waterfront Greenway was lovely.

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We paused under the Brooklyn Bridge.

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The path got hard to follow after this – I’m so spoiled by its West Side cousin! – but soon I was at East River Park, a charming place. Aren’t these seal sculptures fun?

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The park’s Fireboat House, a historic structure that now houses the Lower East Side Ecology Center, has a green roof.

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Even more important, it has a reasonably clean public bathroom, with stalls large enough to accommodate a partly folded Brompton.

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I enjoyed riding up the East River. The path got lost to construction around 34th St. so I moved west to 1st Ave. for a while.

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Back to the Greenway, around 82nd St.

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We sailed along until the path was cut off at 116th.

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I had to backtrack and take a pedestrian bridge, thoughtfully equipped with ramps rather than steps, across the FDR Drive.

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I considered heading north and picking up the Greenway again, but decided to call it a ride and go home. Monty and I will make it all around next time.

I’m so pleased that my hands, which gave me such trouble last season, feel fine. With a lot of practice, my handlebar grip is now relaxed, even in high wind and on scraggly road. I’ve also learned that Monty and I can take ruts, potholes and other urban scree in stride, without falling.

Such an improvement in skill and confidence should be celebrated, no? Mr. Unfolded, bless his wicked heart, brought home a box of doughnuts from Dough. Both chocolates are mine; he knows me.

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Everyone needs a fashion signature.

My first adult bike helmet (maybe my first ever – I don’t recall wearing one as a kid) was gray. So was my second. The third would have been too, but the shop only had the Giro Feature in red, and the sales staff persuaded me.

As it turned out, I loved my newly red head. It looked great with the black Brompton and black/blue mini O bag, and reminded me of the kind of rider I want to be: bold, adventurous and fearless. It made me easy to spot, too.

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Helmets don’t last forever, especially when you fall and land on your head. New season, new helmet! I decided to stick with the Feature – I appreciate its coverage and comfort – and tried a few local shops before I found one in my color at Danny’s Cycles  in Chelsea. (Red helmet #1 came from their Canal St. location.)

This year’s model is a cool matte red, with an orange visor and camo straps.

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Sunday was cold but sunny, a good day for running errands. After picking up the helmet, I rode up 6th Ave. The bike lane is less crowded and in better repair than 8th Ave., but ends around Times Square.

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Central Park is still brown.

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And the lake behind Bethesda Fountain is still icy.

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Spring blooms are popping up at the farmer’s market!

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I bought some beautiful micro greens (pea shoots and radish sprouts), a head of garlic and a bag of Amish pretzels (Mr. Unfolded’s favorite snack).

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An odd, charming encounter: While I was waiting for a light to change, an old man with white hair and twinkly blue eyes shuffled up to me and smiled. He leaned down to pinch Monty’s front tire, gave me a thumbs up and shuffled off.

Maybe it was my red helmet?

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My first Strava

I logged my commute this morning!

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The free Strava app is a snap to use: just hit ‘record’ when you start, ‘stop’ when you end.

It captures details – distance, elevation, time and speed – on each ride segment.

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There are lots of other features to explore, as well as a premium version ($59 per year), but I’m happy with the basics for now.

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Windy. City.

I actually do get off the bike path! Last night I rode to midtown – against gusts that tried to move me sideways instead of forward – to watch our chef and his team teach a cooking class.

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They killed it.

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I didn’t get a shot of dessert. (That very young woman on the left is our pastry chef.) Caramelized milk bread, like a mashup of the best French toast and crème brûlée.

On the way home, I stopped to take a pic of Columbus Circle.

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Bromptons are perfect for city traffic. Monty is so slim and nimble that it’s easy to snake around cars and potholes.

As I rode to work this morning (again battling fierce wind) I wondered, not for the first time, why this poor little bear is hanging from a power line at the corner of Laight and Varick. And why he’s been there for well over a year.

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Snapping a photo prompted me to find an answer. A little Googling turned up this article, explaining that the critters are supposed to be urban art. I prefer my power lines unadorned, but that’s just me.

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Thawing

It’s still a bit soon to pack away my winter woolies, but the snow in this week-old pic is history.

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And the Hudson is no longer covered with ice. Woohooooo!

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Monty and I are back to our regular daily commute, enjoying blue skies

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and cycling home in setting sunlight instead of darkness.

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Let the riding season begin! I registered for the Tour de Staten Island, a part of NYC I don’t know well. Last fall’s Tour de Bronx was such fun that I want to do all the borough-specific rides this year, as well as the 5 Boro and the Century.

It’s a good incentive to get in shape. I skipped way too many Bar Method classes over the winter; the workout complements cycling, keeping my leg muscles strong enough to protect my troublesome knees. Time to get back to it.

Several friends in the fun Brompton NYC group on Facebook use Strava to track their rides. I’m going to try it too.

I’ll leave you with my favorite sign of spring,  painted by my dear brother-in-all-but-blood Dan Dutton.

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The last ride of winter

Yesterday was frigid but sunny enough to clear some of the white stuff from the streets. I rescued Monty from under my desk and we rode home from work.

There was still some light in the sky at 6:30 pm.

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Monday’s evening commute will be bright, even if it’s cloudy. Hello, DST, how I’ve missed you! Spring is still a few weeks away, technically, but the time change is my signal to come out of hibernation.

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Trust the Force

I took Monty to NYCeWheels  for his 6-month/1,000+ mile checkup. Izzy, the shop’s excellent mechanic, pronounced my boy healthy, fit and ready for spring.

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As I headed back across town, I realized Izzy had returned the handlebars to their factory setting, just beyond my comfortable reach. I should have returned to the shop for an adjustment, but figured I’d take care of it at home.

I found an Allen key and tried to loosen the handlebar. It wouldn’t budge. A shot of WD-40 didn’t help. I was nervous about stripping the bolt, and asked Mr. U. to try with his big man hands. He couldn’t loosen it  either.

Then my brilliant husband suggested we try the new and improved Brompton toolkit he picked up on his last trip to London. DUH. The large hex bit and ratchet handle made short work of the bolt, and Monty’s handlebars were back where they belonged.

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This bit of Brompton bling is as useful as it is beautiful!

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