First word of the day: Beacon
Old English bēacn ‘sign, portent, ensign’; related to beckon
Definition: a fire or light set up in a high or prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration
Second word of the day: Palisades
early 17th century: from French palissade, from Provençal palissada, from palissa ‘paling,’ based on Latin palus ‘stake.’
Definition: a fence of wooden stakes, iron railings, or a line of steep cliffs fixed in the ground, forming an enclosure or defense; a ridge of high basalt cliffs that line the western side of the Hudson River, in New Jersey and in New York, beginning across from New York City in New Jersey and extending north to Newburgh in New York.
Here we are on our eighth ride of summer 2017. Wow, we are more than halfway through the season already, and every ride is getting more and more interesting and challenging. Our destination today was to the Palisades in New Jersey. The Palisades look like a fence of rocks from afar, and on our Inwood Hill Park Ride, we saw it across the Hudson River. JiaMei told us that the Palisades was created when the a thick wedge of molten diabase, a type of igneous rock, forced its way between layers of sandstone and shale around 200 milliion years ago. Over time, the molten diabse cooled and hardened, basically creating a wall of stone beneath the sedimentary layer. The layer of sedimentary rocks eroded by over time, revealing the hard igneous rock layer underneath. The visible layer of igneous rock is what is now called the Palisades Cliffs, with its distinctive vertical columns.
In order to get to the Palisades, we had to somehow bike from Manhattan to New Jersey, and there is one bridge that allowed us to do that – the George Washington Bridge! Before the George Washington Bridge was constructed, the Little Red Lighthouse that we visited on our Inwood Ride was one of the main and most frequently used beacons on the Hudson River. However, after the George Washington Bridge was created, other beacons became less frequently used, because of the bright lights that the bridge provided. As one of the busiest motor vehicle bridge in the world, it carried over 103 million vehicles in 2016. OK! Now that we know where we’re going and how, we were off!
George Washington Bridge Ride:
Just like many of our other rides that required us to head north, we began by walking up 95th street and riding in Central Park to 110th St. From there, we continued heading north onto St. Nicholas Ave. And up, Up, UP we went! We followed St. Nicholas Ave all the way to 169th St. and headed slightly west where we took a quick stop at J. Hood Wright Park. Here, we refilled our water bottles and looked for a geocache. This geocache was so well hidden that everyone passed by it multiple times without giving it a second thought! Eventually, Destinee found the geocache stuck on the side of the “squid.” We recorded our names and were quickly back on the road.
The way to the George Washington Bridge was so much fun because of all the downhills! We were definitely not thinking ahead about what that meant for the way back, but at least it was fun in the moment. The George Washington Bridge turned out to be a very flat bridge. Once we were on it, the Cyclopediacs cruised past The Little Red Lighthouse, across the Hudson River, and onto the Hudson Terrace. From here, we headed toward Fort Lee and to the Palisades Interstate Park.
The Palisades Interstate Park was a beautiful park with tall trees and, of course, the Palisades. Riding alongside it made us feel the wonders of nature and its creations as the wall of solid rock towered over us. With the Hudson River on oneside and the wall on the other, the breeze and the shade provided our riders with the perfect weather for biking. We continued heading north until we stopped near the Englewood Boat Basin to eat lunch. While eating our lunch, we could hear a variety of sounds. There was a creek nearby and from somewhere, we could also hear an “arf-arf,” as if there was a seal nearby. In addition, the birds were singing and the geese were running around. Omar was trying to convince them to be his pet, but they were just not about it. We made sure not to forget and collected our water sample of the Hudson River.
Before we left for the road back, Yuehao and Alberto wanted to have a pull-up competition. And after they were done, suddenly everyone wanted to do pull-ups! We even convinced Cappy to show off his skills. It probably wasn’t a good idea to use our energy for pull-ups considering we still had to make our way back home, but it was a lot of fun. We made our way to another geocache, but it looked like someone had removed it, which was a huge bummer.
Filled with energy and water, we began our trip back! We traveled back exactly the way we came BUT UPHILL. Oh dear those uphills~! Most of us were on lower gears, but some wanted to take the challenge and stayed on high. Across the George Washington Bridge we went. We headed south on Haven Ave, which connected to Fort Washington Ave. From here, we took our regular, the Hudson River Greenway and then across Central Park on 96th. Home Sweet Home to Beacon!
Today’s ride was one of the longest and hardest rides we have had so far! With all the uphills toward the end of the trip, everyone was so tired by the end, but everyone made it. GOOD JOB CYCLOPEDIACS!
Georgia Bancheri, Cappy Collins, JiaMei Huang, Judy Lee, Alberto Rivera, Yuehao Wong
Miles biked: 21.8 Miles
Program time (hours): 7 hours
Ride time (hours): 3 hours
Calories burned*: 576
Water Quality Monitoring Results
Estimates based on 100lbs, 5′ 2″ ht, 13 yo, average between male and female.