Word of the day: Cormorant
from Old French cormaran, from medieval Latin corvus marinus ‘sea raven’
Definition: a large diving bird with a long neck, long hooked bill, short legs, and mainly dark plumage. It typically breeds on coastal cliffs and is noted for its voracious appetite.
Before leaving for our first ride of the season, we made sure that everyone had a water bottle, a bag to put their belongings in, and a helmet. Every bike’s tires were double checked and we were ready to roll.
East River Ride
Today was our first ride of the season! We started out at the Beacon School and walked our bikes down 96th St. to the East River Esplanade. We then broke off into two groups. Participants who needed a little more practice walked to Randall’s Island with JiaMei to continue practicing and to become more comfortable riding. Others got our bikes and traveled south towards 59th St. Along the way we looked intently for our mascot, the cormorant. Despite the fog and the drizzling rain, we were able to spot a few along our ride! We continued south along the East River towards Carl Schurz Park, near Gracie Mansion where the Mayor resides.
On the way, we stopped to find out first geocache. Using the clue “step 8, ground level” we eventually found the cache just as the rain started coming down. We signed it quickly, and by this time the rainfall had gotten so heavy that we were all drenched!
But that did not damped the riders’ spirits—they were unstoppable, cruising around Cat Bird Playground, essentially playing water polo in the sunken area that had become a de facto swimming pool. And the playground slide had become a water slide!
After lunch under the roof of the maintenance shed at Cat Bird, Cappy showed us how to repair a flat tire. The valve had ripped instead of having a hole in it, so we had to replace it with a new tire. Once the rain calmed down, we rode to find another geocache, but unfortunately no luck. We continued our journey on the bike path, and arrived at the end near the Queensboro Bridge, where our first hill challenge awaited. Many of our riders were able to ride all the way up the steep hill without stopping.
We turned back north, as the sun started warming us up. We looked for another geocache that we found last year, but it apparently was muggled! We took to the streets another former find was gone as well—we’ll have to start making our own caches. We continued north past our starting point to reach the terminus at the Triboro. Looking across the East River, we learned why Randall’s Island and Ward’s Island have two names, when it looks like one landmass. It turns out that they were two different islands, until connected with landfill; the small inlet and tidal marsh are what remain of the Little Hell Gate channel. We rode down south again to meet up with Jiamei and our other riders, who had returned to the school to avoid the rain. While we waited for Jiamei’s group on the CVII pier, we played ninja and enjoyed the sunshine. We then rode back to Beacon and worked on our door decorations again.
We are off to a great start! This is going to be a great season! GO CYCLOPEDIACS!
Alberto Rivero, Cappy Collins, Jiamei Huang, Judy Lee
Miles biked: 8.39
Program time (hours): 5 hrs
Ride time (hours): 2.5 hrs
Calories burned*: 373
Estimates based on 100lbs, 5′ 2″ ht, 13 yo, average between male and female.