Claire’s Journal

Claire’s Journal

Practice Ride Day: June 23, 2015

Intro lesson
Today’s Intro lessons was…well… the whole day was an “Intro Lesson” of sorts!

Word(s) of the day
Practice: “repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.” (google…)
origin: practicere, to ‘perform, carry out,’

Today was our first day out on the road! We met at P.S. 198 on 3rd Avenue between 96th and 95th street at around 10 o’clock. After a few tune-ups to our bikes, we were ready to hit the road. We biked down 96th Street and crossed under the FDR driver to access the Bobby Wagner Walk – a pedestrian path bordering the Harlem River. We cruised up along the path until we reached the Wards Island Bridge to cross over the Harlem River and onto Wards Island. Halfway across the bridge (and after the inclined portion!) we stopped for a quick lesson from Cappy. Orienting us geographically on the bridge, Cappy pointed out some landmarks in the distance. We pedaled down the bridge and onto Wards Island, where we were greeted with a “HELLO” sign made out of leaves. After filling up our water bottles (with some tasty tap water!) we headed south down the Island. We biked under the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and began to head up the Island. After not too long, we reached Hell’s Gate meadow path – a garden kept up by the Randall’s Island park alliance. We were lucky enough to meet the gardeners working and get a tour of the meadow and a mini botany lesson! We saw a variety of herbs and grasses, as well as the flowering Echinacea, formally used by Native Americans to treat the flu. We also learned that the caterpillars becoming Monarch butterflies only feed on Milkweed leaves, and were lucky enough to see all three types of milkweed in the meadow. After a nice break at the garden, we continued up north on the Island,

Our next break was for some mulberries along the side of the road—yum! We continued up into Randalls Island all the way to the edge, where the Bronx Kill separates the island from the Bronx by just a stone’s toss away. Unfortunately, the pedestrian bridge that connects this tiny strip of water was still not completed. Proceeding around the top of Randalls Island, we found another great mulberry tree for a snack break – and these berries were even riper! We now were heading south down the other side of the island, along the Harlem River Pathway. To get back to Ward’s Island, we had to cross Little Hell Gate Bridge. Walking our bikes across, we found some Staghorn Sumac growing alongside the bridge. The fiery-red cone-shaped flower can give water a lemony taste. Some of us plucked a flower or two to make some of our own delicious Sumac tea! After crossing the bridge, we biked down back to exact place on the island we began. Turning back around, we headed back up the island along a slightly different path, passing Icahn stadium along the way. We reached the Triborough Bridge, down-shifted our bikes to make it up the ramp to the bridge, and biked over and off Randalls Island.

Back onto Manhattan, we biked up 126th Street up to 2nd Avenue, and then across 2nd Avenue heading south. Cappy pointed out Poor Richard’s Playground, where we meet for our Cada Paso walks, as we headed up 109th Street. We took a quick stop at a bike store on 3rd Avenue between 110th and 111th and Cappy got us all NYC bike maps. We took a small (half-a-block!) detour and ultimately found the community Herb garden on 111th street, between Lex and 3rd. We met Bunny who opened up the garden for us, and were able to enjoy our lunch inside. After quickly looking about the garden and finishing our lunch, we continued biking the last leg of our journey. We biked up 111th street and down Lexington avenue. After one, last, steep uphill, Cappy stopped to point out the street that Holly Whyte, a man who studied the use of public places, decreed as the most ideal public space. Reaching 96th street, we turned down to get back to P.S. 183 to finish our day! Inside the school, we looked at some of the other bikes in the fleet, before officially ending our first practice ride day.

Miles biked: … miles
Miles walked: … miles
Ride time: …3.5 hrs

..and soon to be Co-leaders: Cappy Collins, Jude Appiah, Georgia Bancheri, Claire Castellano, Stella Chong, Katie Litman, Katelynn Pan

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