Word of the day: Community
A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. From the Latin root “communis” meaning common, public, general, shared by all or many.
The word of the day for today’s Bronx River ride was “community.” We first discussed the different communities that we are all a part of, such as the communities within our schools, cultures, and neighborhoods. We learned that one of our destinations, Starlight Park, used to be an amusement park that was enjoyed by families in the community. However, over time, the park was abandoned and became dirty and unusable. Lucky for us, the Bronx River Alliance decided to clean up the park to make it an asset to the community once again. Today, we are meeting members of the Bronx River Alliance at River Park (at the bottom of the Bronx Zoo) to learn about the different aspects of the river. Everyone was very excited to get on the road!
Bronx River Ride
Today was our fourth ride of the season! Our riders for today were Clarence, Noor, and Samyra. We were also joined by some special guests – Noor’s mom and 2 professors from Parson. After the lesson, we walked our bikes from the Beacon School, down 96th St. to the East River Esplanade. We then got on our bikes and traveled our familiar path north to towards the pedestrian bridge on 103rd St.. Switching to low gear, we quickly rode up the ramps and across the bridge onto Randall’s Island. We biked north towards the Triborough Bridge. After a steep journey up the ramps and across the bridge, we were finally in the Bronx!
The first stop off the bridge was Port Morris, a highly industrialized area. Cappy asked the kids whether or not Port Morris seemed like a place they would want to live. Everyone was in agreement that they would rather not live right next to bridge traffic and in a place without many trees or quiet spaces. We rode to the tip of Port Morris, where we were able to look out onto Rikers Island, North and South Brother Islands, and Laguardia Airport! We learned about Typhoid Mary, who was quarantined on North Brother Island. After a few minutes, we quickly rode away (most of us were overwhelmed by the smell of industrial plants and waste). Following the Port Morris detour, we did about an hour of street riding before arriving at our first destination for the day, River Park!
At River Park, we met members of the Bronx River Alliance to learn more about the fish and eel ladders that were built in the river. The fish ladder was created because the dam in the river made it difficult for herring to travel upstream to breed. Researchers also developed an eel ladder to help the small glass eels in the river. After the mini lesson, we were able to stand on fish ladder and observe the eel ladder in action! Then, everybody sat in the shade to eat lunch and cool off from our long trek up to the park.
After lunch we went on a different path to get home. We travelled along the river to our next 2 destinations, Starlight Park and Concrete Plant Park. There was a floating forest in Concrete Plant Park, but unfortunately, we were unable to enter the forest. We also did a geocache at the entrance of the park! Clarence found the cache a few seconds after Cappy finished telling us the clue. After leaving the parks, we started our journey back to the Beacon School. It was a tiring ride back to the Triborough Bridge, but on the way back, we were able to take the “easy” bridge, which was completely flat terrain instead of uphill. Once back on Randall’s Island, we quickly rode south to the Ward’s Island Bridge, back along the East River, and arrived back at school. Even though it was very hot (everyone earned their Heat Wave badges), we had a great time and are excited for our future rides!
Alberto Rivero, Cappy Collins, Akeem Williams, Lauren Lee, JiaMei Huang, Emera de los Santos
Meryem, John Sharp, Colleen Jacklin
Miles biked: 17 miles
Program time (hours): 7 hours
Ride time (hours): 5.5 hours
Estimates based on 100lbs, 5′ 2″ ht, 13 yo, average between male and female.