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Intro lesson: Practice
Our crew is ready to roll! Today Cappy and the Communitology interns set out on a tour of Randalls/Wards Island to see what we can see and practice our mapping and photo skills in preparation for the upcoming 4th season of Cyclopedia in East Harlem.
Word of the day
Greek: prāktikós = action
Practice Ride to Randalls/Wards Island
After wrestling with the bikes at our home base (P.S. 198 for now…) we finally hit the road around 11 and heading straight down 96th to the East River Greenway. Hot, sunny, humid but great to feel the breeze along the water. We quickly spotted a cormorant (our mascot) diving for lunch as we approached the pedestrian bridge. Our crew got a chance to practice their gear-shifting as we wound our way up the ramps to the main span. A quick geography lesson on the East River landmarks preceded our descent to the Wards Island bike path, where we took a water break, then headed south around the bend and under the Queens span of the Triboro Bridge. A quick climb up the hill to the Native Plant garden in view of the Hell Gate train bridge brought a chance meeting with members of the Randall’s Island Park Alliance. Jill gave us a thorough tour of the flowering plants and insects, including milkweed, echinacea, heliopsis, bees, monarchs, ladybugs and aphids.
We thanked our guide and headed northeast under the Roman aqueduct-like arches of the train bridge, onto Hell Gate Circle Drive, circumventing the wastewater treatment plant, and back under the bridge where the proper bike path lies. We spotted the telltale purple splotches on the path indicating a mulberry tree and stopped for a quick harvest.
At the northern terminus of the path, we were disappointed to see the the pedestrian bridge to Port Morris in the Bronx was still incomplete—looked about the same as it did this time last year.
We continued on the Bronx Shore Road path around the north end of Randall’s, stopped to refill our water bottles, and descended south past the Police marina into the set-up for a music festival in the event space, just north of Icahn stadium. When we arrived at the Little Hell Gate boardwalk we were pleased to see staghorn sumac cones in reach. Cappy broke one off and stuffed it into his water bottle to make sumac tea—tastes kind of like lemonade. At the other end of the boardwalk we passed our Native Garden friends in their golf cart, just coming from the ornamental garden ahead of us, behind the Manhattan Psychiatric Center. The riding stables were next, and before we knew it we were back at the foot of the pedestrian bridge we crossed to get here.
Happy suggested we do a little more riding, so we doubled back, took the path along what’s left of Little Hell Gate and cruised past the front of Icahn Stadium, wending past the golf center and eventually making our way past Robert Moses’ old headquarters to find the Triboro bike access.
Back in Manhattan we cruised down the 2nd Avenue bike lane, with a quick stop to say hi to Mac Levine at the Concrete Safaris garden in Jefferson Houses, followed by a visit to our friends at Heavy Metal Bike shop, before walking over to the Herb Garden. It was closed, but we had an in—Cappy made a call and soon Bunny Sheffield appeared with the key and a guided tour of the garden. Jude had stopped to get some food at the Cuban place on the corner; after quite a while he was able to join us for lunch under the arbor. We saw several crops coming along: corn, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, et al. (We’ll have to come back…)
The last big challenge of the day was cranking up the Lexington Hill from 103rd to 102nd. Most of the crew made it without stopping, but once you lose momentum it’s tough to stay on the bike. At 101st Street Cappy stopped to point out the block mentioned in the Holly Whyte classic: “The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces.” Then back to the school—a great trial run! Our fleet master, Justin, joined us for tuning up the fleet in the afternoon and we seem to be in good shape for the upcoming season. Stay tuned!
Miles biked: 9.81 miles
Miles walked: 0.54 miles
Programing time: 5 hrs
Ride time: 4 hrs
Co-leaders: Jude Appiah, Georgia Bancheri, Claire Castellano, Stella Chong, Cappy Collins, Katie Litman, Katelynn Pan
View 2014.08.19 HW Staten Island in a larger map
Calories burned: 984
About 3 hours riding at <10 mph x 281 calories/hour = 843 calories About 1 hour walking at <2 mph x 141 calories/hour = 141 calories Total = 984 calories