What use is a bicycle? Today we discussed the differences between riding a bicycle, walking and driving. The kids noted that when they ride in a car, the things they notice most are what’s inside of the car—like driving around in a bubble. When we walk, we see a lot more of our surroundings, but we go much slower than when we drive. Biking is a happy medium: you are able to go much faster than walking, but you also are more engaged with your environment.
We learned that a bicycle is three times more efficient than walking, so riding a bike gives us the power of three people! We also learned that a gallon of gas takes a car about 25 miles, but that same gallon of gas when converted into food energy would take a cyclist 1000 miles!
Word of the Day: bicycle
(from Greek bi = two + kýklos = wheel)
Today marked the first official day of Cyclopedia 2013! Six Speed Dusters and their intrepid leader, Luz, arrived eager to go for a ride!
After the lesson, we walked our bikes to the East River around 96th Street and caught our breath for a brief refresher on how to stay safe while we ride! Then we finally mounted our bikes and followed Cappy single-file heading north on the East River. Our first stop was at the CVII Pier, where Cappy asked who could tell him where north, south, east, and west were, and Michelle used the fact that we were next to the East River to correctly orient him! Then our riders were each given a camera and the task of capturing a few meaningful photos from the ride. Afterward, they were expected to choose their favorite picture and discuss why. Cappy also taught us about the cormorant, which is a water bird that swims with its body below the water with only the head visible. They’re common on the East River, but can be tough to spot! Whoever saw a cormorant received an extra badge and points for the ride.
We took our second break at the northernmost point of the ride. Cappy asked the students the name of the bridge we were facing, Kathy correctly answered the RFK Bridge, more commonly called the Triborough. All six budding biologists took this opportunity to search for a cormorant swimming in the River, which meant that everyone got extra points for this ride! The bird was black with a long, slinky neck and about the size of a duck. We re-hydrated and ate oranges to stay energized.
We then headed southbound on the river and stopped to observe Gracie Mansion, where the Mayor of New York is supposed to live. But, as the kids noted, Mayor Bloomberg does not, in fact, live there. Gracie Mansion lies at the top of a hill, which was daunting at first. But, everyone persevered and made it up the hill with “grace.” To continue our ride, we had to walk our bikes down a steep flight of stairs overlooking Roosevelt Island. It was definitely a challenge to walk our bikes down the ramp, but our riders couldn’t be stopped!
After another mile of riding, we came to the first dog park where we filled up on cold water and watched the dogs playing. In order to reach our final destination before heading home, we had to power through a very steep incline—the biggest hill of the ride. Despite the concern and self-doubt, we all pedaled our way up the hill and were satisfied with ourselves for having done so. We cooled off with a hose in the dog park at the top of the hill, and began the ride back to our starting point with a little more confidence.
We walked our bikes to the Stanley Isaac Neighborhood Center where the Speed Dusters uploaded their pictures and commented about their favorites. The task was to discuss why they chose the picture and describe one thing that challenged them while on the ride.
Overall, the Speed Dusters did an amazing job! They were both determined and disciplined on the ride, allowing them to reach new levels of success. The East River was a great first ride, and gave us good practice in staying in our lanes to avoid other cyclists and pedestrians! This will come in handy when we cross over the Queensboro Bridge to go to 5 Pointz!
After the Speed Dusters’ first ride, they have 1512 points! Great job!
This trip was on July 16, 2013
Programming time: 4 hours
Ride time: 3 hours
Ride Distance: 7.1 Miles
Walk Distance: 1.1 Miles
Calories Burned: About 612 Calories
Leaders: Cappy Collins, Luz Felix, Emma Bick, Jenne Ingrassia, Dan Piening
View Speed Dusters East River Ride in a larger map