2015 AS: East River Ride

2015 AS: East River Ride

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Word of the day: Bicycle
from Greek bi = two + kýklos = wheel

Intro Lesson:
We started out the day with some geography talk. The bikers took turns labeling a map of NYC with compass directions and the boroughs. We were super anxious to finally get out on the road. Today, we explored more about just how fun and useful bikes are. We discussed how biking, like walking, is a personal experience, but it gets you farther than walking could– like a car! The best of both worlds! In fact, if a gallon of gas (which takes a car about 25 miles) was converted into food energy, a biker could go for 1,000 miles! So efficient!

East River Ride
Today marked the first official day for the “Tweens” of Cyclopedia 2015! The gorgeous weather helped us all – 15 Tween riders (including 4 who got a sneak peak of the ride on Tuesday!) and a big group of volunteer leaders – get excited for the start of the Cyclopedia season. The Tweens’ eagerness to ride may have contributed to their choice of a team name: the All Stars!

After the lesson, we walked our bikes from PS38 to the East River Esplanade where we then hopped on our bikes and traveled north towards the Triborough Bridge! We stopped to look for our mascot- the cormorant, which Cappy explained is a water bird that tends to peep its snaky head out of the water while it’s swimming. After some photography time of our trusty mascot, we continued biking along until we reached the Triborough Bridge. We stopped at the end of the northern part of the esplanade for a quick lunch to energize ourselves for the rest of the adventure. We learned that across the river on Randall’s Island, the fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt, broke the record at Icahn Stadium!

After lunch, we headed south the way we came towards CVII Pier where we collected a water sample to later test. Kelvin successfully casted off our sampling jar into the East River and a crew of All Stars helped reel it back in. With our water sample secured away, we were getting ready to leave the pier when we came across a visitor: a crab! Katie fearlessly picked up the crab and many All Stars bravely reached out to touch it, too. Jude surprised us all by letting our visitor crawl about his helmet!! Not yet convinced that a crab’s shell would be protection enough to replace a helmet, we decided to toss our visitor back into the East River, hopped back on our bikes to continue on our journey, heading towards the Queens Borough Bridge.

We continued biking south, passing beautiful, colorful gardens along the way, until we reached a cut-out in the path right outside Gracie Mansion (where the NYC mayor officially lives!). Here, Co-leader and Tae Kwon Do Master Katelynn took the reigns (pardon the pun!) and began teaching her much anticipated tae kwon do lesson! Thanks to Katelynn time went by quickly as we worked hard through our lesson in the sun! After a water break when we finished the lesson, we were off on our bikes again.
At the southern most part of the ride, we stopped to take plant samples that we taped in our journals for later identification during our weekly computer-lab time. Then came the hill challenge! A very steep hill lay before us and we all accepted the challenge, lowered our gears, and biked up the hill, which earned us another badge: the hill challenge badge! And if that wasn’t tough enough, Cappy challenged us to a “down the hill” challenge, where we practiced using our brakes and ever so slowly crept down the hill keeping our balance all the way down!

Unfortunately, Tatiana, Katie, and Claire never made it to the hill-challenge-site. They were working on fixing a flat tire on Tatiana’s back wheel due to the puncture from a fishhook !! After some creative attempts to repair the flat, Cappy came to the rescue to help fix up Tatiana’s tire. Soon enough, we were all back on the road and heading north again to finish our day.

We rode back to PS38 and were surprised to see some firefighters and fire trucks surrounding the school. We soon learned that the firefighters were just finishing up extinguishing a grate fire caused by a cigarette. After all commotion was cleared, we headed back inside the school and into the cafeteria. Though our ride was complete, we had one more thing left to check: our water sample! We gathered around Cappy as he tested the water for bacteria, pesticides, nitrate, nitrite, hardness, chlorine, lead and pH levels. You can see the results in the Water Testing Results below. (As a sneak peak: Our test for bacteria confirmed E.coli, a bacteria found in feces that typically causes food poisoning, to be present in the East River! Eek!

We learned many important things on this trip- including how to ride safely, how to ride as a team, and most importantly to NEVER drink or swim in the East River!! Great job All Stars! We are off to a great summer!


Jude Appiah, Georgia Bancheri, Claire Castellano, Stella Chong, Cappy Collins, Raven Lee, Katie Litman, Katelynn Pan,

Ride Statistics
Miles biked: 8.18
Miles walked:0.56
Program time (hours): 4.25
Ride time (hours): 4
Calories burned: 460 biking (road cycling, low intensity) + 23 walking + 77 Taekwondo (aerobic cross-training) = 560

Water Quality Monitoring Results
Nitrate: 1
Nitrite: 0
pH: 10
Hardness: 425
Lead: negative
Pesticides: positive
Bacteria: positive for E.coli

Estimates based on 100lbs, 5′ 2″ ht, average between male and female.

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