What does explore mean? “to find things!” “to walk around!” were some of the answers shouted out by the Hot Wheelers during the morning lesson. Juleon introduced our trip today, where the Cyclopedians learned that they’ve been explorers for weeks now! He emphasized that exploration was looking at our surroundings purposefully, and seeing things that you wouldn’t see without paying attention. And when we find it, of course we shout, ” Eureka!” Each rider was tasked with finding three things (pictures, places, ideas, animals, anything!) on the trip that they wouldn’t have seen without looking for it.
Word(s) of the day
Latin: ex from + plōrāre to cry out; probably orig. with reference to hunting cries
Greek: heureka “I have found (it)!”
Inwood park ride:
The past few rides have all taken our Cyclopedians up, down, and across the East River, but today our intrepid explorers ventured westward towards Central Harlem and all the way to the West Side Highway. We began our trek by cycling up the 1st Avenue bike lane, watching our local surroundings change from Yorkville to East Harlem. The Hot Wheelers were full of energy this week and as we traveled westward on 111th St they sped along, not taking a real break until we reached the fork of St. Nicholas Ave. and St. Nicholas Place (about 4 miles into the trip!). Despite few bike lanes for our riders, the Hot Wheelers conquered Central Harlem with speed and safety, marveling at the beautiful pre-war buildings that still line the street. The further north we traveled, the more trees we saw and we knew we were headed in the right direction.
Leaving the loud city streets behind we rode through Hamilton Heights making sure to check out Alexander Hamilton’s house before hopping on the somewhat secret bike path next to Harlem River Drive. After a teamwork-building session under the High Bridge the whole fleet rode up the path together under all three bridges that connect northern Manhattan to the West Bronx (High, Washington, and Hamilton). The view across the Harlem River was beautiful and the riders took the opportunity to stop along the route and take some excellent riverfront photos. We emerged from our greenway in the Inwood neighborhood and after traversing one small hill we arrived at our destination, Inwood Hill Park. We stopped here and munched on some lunch while looking out on the tidal marshland around Spuyten Duyvil Creek.
After a relaxing lunch (and some racing around a track created by Tymel), our riders continued their exploration of the Park, and with the help of master tracker/trip leader Cappy, we found the Indian Caves! Every one of the Hot Wheelers eagerly climbed the rocks and got to explore the nooks and crannies that were once used by members of the Wiechquaesgeck tribe as a summer camp. With still some time left to look around, the Hot Wheelers tried tracking down an old spring by tracing the water marks on the ground. Unfortunately the search was unsuccessful, but that is the life of an explorer! When everyone’s fascination had been sufficiently satisfied the group decided it was time to head home, but instead of backtracking down the East coast of Manhattan on the Harlem River sped down the Hudson on the Westside Greenway in record time.
To help everyone with their exploration goals, Cappy told the group to look for three things on the way back along the greenway: a Greek pavilion, a pumpkin house, and a light house. With our fine-tuned exploration skills we found all three, leading to shouts of “Eureka!” echoing across the bluffs of New Jersey. After a quick break at the West Harlem Piers and getting some more riverfront photos (this time looking East at New Jersey) we crossed back to the East Side re-tracing some of our tracks from earlier. Our seasoned explorers cruised through Jefferson Park before coasting back into the Stanley Isaacs Center to complete our longest ride of the season thus far!
Miles biked: 17.16
Miles walked: 0.51 miles
Programing time: 5.5 hrs
Ride time: 3 hrs
Co-leaders: Uche Adegbite, Emily Bai, Cappy Collins, Justin Downs, Juleon Robinson