Word of the day: bicycle
mid 19th century: from bi- ‘two’ + Greek kuklos ‘wheel’
Definition: a vehicle composed of two wheels held in a frame one behind the other, propelled by pedals and steered with handlebars attached to the front wheel
Why do we use a bicycle? It seems like driving is the best way to go if you’re planning to travel. Cars can take you to lots of places, but because of the high velocities that it travels in, there is greater damage to the vehicle and the people inside it when an accident occurs. If you think of it in terms of impact and injuries, it would be best for everyone to simply walk, since a person can only go so fast when walking. But even if walking has benefits of its own like being able to talk to people and actively engage with the envinronment, we wouldn’t be able to go as far. So, depending on how far you want to go, it might be more energy efficient, engaging, and safer to ride a bike instead, because a bike is three times as efficient was walking. This means that you basically have the power of three people! Not only that, the structure of the bicycle allows for it to carry a lot of weight, because of the double triangle structure that dissipates the weight over the bicycle. If bicycles had rectangular or circular frames, they wouldn’t be able to hold up as much weight. Applying this knowledge to New York City, we made spaghetti and marshmallow bridges and tested which bridge could hold up more weight!
Randall’s/Wards Island Ride
Today was our second ride of the season! We had a few more participants join us today, which meant that we needed more bikes. So, after picking up two more bikes from the Heavy Metal Bike Shop on 111th and 3rd St., we geared up and headed out at around 11am to Randall’s Island. We walked on 96th st. towards East River, and once we arrived on the bike path, we rode up and across Ward’s Island Pedestrian Bridge. On the other side of the bridge, we met up with Rachel who gave us a tour around Randall’s Island.
As we rode north with Rachel, she introduced us to different habitats that were present on the islands. Wetlands, grasslands, and wildflower meadows were the three that we saw today. The first we saw on Wards Island was grasslands, and here we saw the plant smokebush that had leaves that smelled like sweet citrus fruit and mountain mint that smelled like toothpaste. We even saw big flowers that looked like it had strawberries on top of it called Allium flowers. They attracted lots of bees and pollinators. We also saw Solomon’s seal plants and hostas. After heading to the wetlands by the Little Hell’s Gate Bridge, we tried looking for the Great Egret, but unfortunately, we didn’t spot any. Still, we saw Sumac trees and made rhus juice with their cones! It was sour, like nature made lemonade. Apparently, after the Sumac trees lose their leaves in the Fall, the seeds in the cones stay and function as a source of food in the winter for the birds. We travelled up to Randall’s Island and in the wildflower meadows, we saw so many flowers and tall grasses. We even found out that there are hotels just for bees! Then headed to the Native Plant Garden.
After eating lunch at the Urban Farm, near the Native Plant Garden, we rode towards Bronx through a newly established connector. We rode until we were at the very top edge of the East River. Here, we saw Riker’s Island, North and South Brother’s Island, and the island where Typhoid Mary was quarantined in! Having seen so many things, it was time to head back to the Beacon.
Riding on a beautiful, sunny day was an amazing experience, and we learned so many new things!
Georgia Bancheri, Cappy Collins, JiaMei Huang, Judy Lee, Alberto Rivera
Miles biked: 9.4
Program time (hours): 4 hours 58 minutes
Ride time (hours): 1 hour 49 minutes
Calories burned*: 741
Estimates based on 100lbs, 5′ 2″ ht, 13 yo, average between male and female.