Word of the day: Aqueduct
From the root “aque” meaning “water”, combined with the root “ducere” meaning “to lead”. Hence, an aqueduct is a channel for directing water.
The riders had already learned about networks under the streets of the city thanks to the spray paint and asphalt tags that show where electricity, gas, communications and sewers are running. But most important, this network includes water! Without water and the aqueducts that carry it, New York City could not function and people would die from disease!
Remembering Typhoid Mary and the island she was held on for quarantine, the riders learned that typhoid is a disease caused by a bacterium in dirty water (when you don’t wash your hands after going to the restroom). Lots of people in New York City used to die from dirty water. So, we built the Croton Aqueduct to bring and give people access to clean water. This water comes from 30 miles upstate, through the Bronx, and across the High Bridge. The big water pipes are located underneath the High Bridge, directly below our biking route.
In addition, water has to flow downhill. But, as the riders knew from the Inwood Hill Park ride, the northern parts of Manhattan are mostly uphill. So, how can we get water to flow uphill? We have to pump it up to the top of a water tower! From there, it can flow downhill to the highest parts of Manhattan thanks to the water pressure. This idea of water flowing upwards was made clearer as the riders learned how to draw diagrams of the aqueduct and the direction of water movement. So, thanks to this aqueduct system, New York City still has an amazing water quality as the largest city in the country!
High Bridge Ride:
Today was the 7th ride of the season! Just as we did yesterday, we walked our bikes from the Beacon school down to the bike path on 1st Avenue. We went over our usual hand signals and calls, and quickly got on the road to ride up towards East 111th Street. As soon as we reached our pit stop at the Heavy Metal Bike Shop on 3rd Avenue, we said hello to Orlando and Pete and took a fun group photo! We continued riding on up to St. Nicholas Avenue and towards East 155th Street. We quickly crossed the street to the north side where the bike path began and went east down to 155th toward Macomb’s Dam. After crossing the dam, we headed north onto Ogden Avenue, which proved to be a sweaty yet rewarding uphill battle.
After conquering a few hills, we finally crossed the Washington Bridge, rode south on Amsterdam down to the entrance to High Bridge Park on West 174th Street. At the park, we made a quick rest stop at the Recreation Center for a bathroom break and water bottle refill. After, we continued riding down Amsterdam to West 162nd Street where we reached the Morris-Jumel Mansion!
The riders learned that this mansion, the oldest house in Manhattan, was actually used by President George Washington as a lookout point for his army during the Battle of Long Island with British forces. We sprawled out on the expansive lawn to eat lunch, and recuperated nicely by playing Ninja, volleyball, yoga, kickball, and other fun games and activities. Aside from the occasional tourist, the site was relatively empty and blissfully quiet as we relaxed in the great day’s weather.
Saying goodbye to Washington’s old headquarters, we rode south on Amsterdam Avenue onto Convent Avenue, taking a left on West 141st Street to the Hamilton Grange National Memorial! As the riders recalled from a video they were shown during the intro lesson, Alexander Hamilton’s house was physically lifted and relocated from its previous site to where it is now. Not only had his house been relocated once, but it had actually been moved twice throughout its history.
We continued riding down on St. Nicholas Avenue all the way until we reached the most northern border of Central Park on West 110th Street. Riding East, we rode down the lovely promenade of 5th Avenue until we reached East 96th Street. Making a left, we rode back to the Beacon School on 96th and 3rd Avenue. We made it back safe and sound, and all of the riders exchanged high fives for a day’s ride well done!
Alberto Rivero, Akeem Williams, Lauren Lee, Celeste Matsui, JiaMei Huang, Emera de los Santos
Miles biked: 12.74 miles
Program time (hours): 6 hours
Ride time (hours): 4.5 hours
Estimates based on 100lbs, 5′ 2″ ht, 13 yo, average between male and female.