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Word of the day: Bicycle
from Greek bi = two + kýklos = wheel
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 of Cyclopedia 2015! Twelve looney Looney Tunes, four Tweens, and a big group of volunteer leaders were eager to go for a ride!
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 its swimming. Noor spotted a cormorant perched upon a post spreading out his impressive wings! We continued along our way after some photography time of our trusty mascot 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. Our sample device got stuck under the pier, but thanks to Alberto climbing over the pier ledge (don’t do this at home kids!) we were able to reel it back in!
As we hopped back on our bikes to head towards the Queensboro Bridge, it began to rain! First a light drizzle and then a pouring rain that left us soaking wet and unable to see where we were biking, but that’s okay because we will all receive the biking in the rain badge for it! We did find refuge on the underpass at the E 96 St. esplanade entrance. We kept our fingers crossed for the rain to subside, but it kept pouring! Co-leader Katelynn took the reins (pardon the pun!) and began teaching her much anticipated tae kwon do lesson! Thanks to Katelynn time went by quickly as we waited for the rain to become a drizzle, and when we finished the lesson we were off on our bikes again.
We traveled south towards the Queens Borough Bridge. Along the way there was a massive puddle that we took some gleeful and some not so gleeful turns biking through! We passed beautiful, colorful gardens along the way. 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! Down the hill, we practiced using our brakes and ever so slowly creeped down the hill keeping our balance all the way down!
We rode back to PS38 and headed into the cafeteria to gather around Cappy as he tested the water for bacteria, pesticides, nitrate, nitrite, hardness, chlorine, lead and pH levels. The water was positive for pesticides but negative for lead. Nitrite and chlorine levels came back as 0 and nitrate at 0.5. The water had a pH of 8.5 meaning it was basic. Its hardness was 425. After 48 hours, the results of the bacteria testing were in! The test kit vial, originally purple, turned yellow and therefore confirmed E.coli, a bacteria found in poop that typically causes food poisoning, to be present in the East River! Ew!
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 Looney Tunes! We are off to a great summer!
Miles biked: 8.1
Miles walked: 1.9
Program time (hours): 5.25
Ride time (hours): 3 hours and 45 minutes
Calories burned*: 460 biking (road cycling, low intensity) + 86 walking + 77 Taekwondo (aerobic cross-training) = 623
Water Quality Monitoring Results
pH : 8.5
Nitrate : 0.5
Estimates based on 100lbs, 5′ 2″ ht, 13 yo, average between male and female.