Saturday, February 25, 2006

26.1 miles from South Beach to Golden Beach

Another early morning ride up Collins, this time a bunch further to 191st Stret. Very fast riding! I'm not sure whether this qualifies as the southern tip of Golden Beach or the northern tip of Sunny Isles Beach; I turned around right before the road became an elevated causeway that did not look safe at all.

Later, looking at the maps, it seems one could detour around the causeway by bearing right - that the causeway's purpose is to get off of Miami Beach, which nobody in their right mind would want to do.

Friday, February 24, 2006

17.2 miles from South Beach to Sunny Isles

After waking up early, took Collins Avenue up through part of Miami Beach somewhat past Sunny Isles -- to 101st Street. Collins Avenue is Miami Beach's main road - and sometimes its only road. Fast and clear riding north - I was over 20 mph much of the time.

Hit traffic going south - I was able to pass most of it by going on the shoulder or between lanes of stuck cars, but it slowed me down somewhat. Nice little ride. Averaged 16.4 mph.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

52.6 miles, South Beach to Fairchild Tropical Garden

I've rented a Trek 5200 for the week, which is an all-carbon fiber bike that has a fast and smooth ride.

Headed out to Key Biscayne, via the Venetian Causeway. At the end of Key Biscayne there's a park with a lighthouse and scenic ocean views. Soaked in the sun, returned through Key Biscayne and crossed back into Miami. Turned further south and passed through Coconut Grove with its fun coconut trees and huge houses.

Continued south past Coral Gables but not inside it, through a friendly Main Street-type road, and continued down Old Cutler Road into Msomething Park and the Fairchild Tropical Garden. That's home to beautiful flowers, but they don't allow bikes (you can lock them up theough) and they charge $30 admission at night, so visit when you have a bit of time.

Returned as it was getting dark. Back in South Beach, passed Lincoln Road where some woman was handing out samples of beer to passing pedestrians (!) and went to dinner with K at Osteria del Teatro, a nice Italian restaurant here.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

46 miles to Far Rockaway

and back. Cold but fun - it's 19 degrees now, and supposedly the windchill brings it down to -4!

I started by crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, and in what is becoming a trend, it started to snow! Near Prospect Park I detoured toward a bike shop to buy some goggles for visibility. The first bike shop didn't have them, but I overinflated my tires there and my back tire ripped shortly thereafter. So at the next bike shop I replaced it with an Armadillo tire which feels super strong, even stronger than the heavy duty Bontrager tire! It stopped snowing so I didn't get goggles or shades.

I continued to Coney Island and went to the end of the boardwalk and back. Then continued to Far Rockaway, stopping for a takeaway bagel with egg salad. Had lunch on the Far Rockaway boardwalk in the freezing cold, tossing an inch of the bagel to a pretty white bird with a limp, who nabbed it instantly. Its friends were jealous but they weren't limping and I was hungry.

The boardwalk and ocean are nice, but don't compare to their warm weather counterparts. The gray water, devoid of the people and spirit of summer, reminded me of Steven Spielberg's movie A.I., when the boy is in an abandoned city.

I got off the boardwalk on B-94 street, which is close to halfway into Far Rockaway, and returned returned home along the Cross Bay something, which spans two bridges and turns into a highway. There's a bike lane for most of the distance. After the two bridges I stopped at a Starbucks to warm my freezing toes - hot chocolate with whipped cream in a comfy chair by a little fireplace. Not bad!

I headed to Liberty Avenue, then to Broadway, and after a detour crossed the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan. K and I were meeting DG for dinner and a play in the East Village, but there was no time to change, so I biked right over to Little Frankie's, locked my bike outside, and joined them in my ridiculous looking bike getup! (Slick black overalls that block the wind.) Get togethers with DG are always fun. After dinner we saw the play R.F.K, on Bleecker Street, which is a 90-minute one-person show. It was excellent. (It's closing in 10 days so get your tickets now.) Then I biked home in the below-freezing cold ... I think a warmer hat and warmer socks would do wonders.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

33.5 snowy miles to Coney Island

It didn't start snowing until after I had gone over the Brooklyn Bridge. I headed down Ocean Parkway, which has a separate bike lane (though it's intersected by avenues every few blocks), and it wins Capybara's path-across-Brooklyn award!

At Coney Island I went along the beautiful boardwalk and then returned. What a treat to ride along the beach and the ocean in a season that's so frosty! I tried to memorialize it on digital film for you but alas, Bearette's disappointing Sony camera had sapped up its new battery after a good 24 hours of being off. Bad Sony!

I had wanted to extend the trip by detouring along Shore Parkway and then returning along Bergen Street, but the snow had gotten too heavy -- not enough visibility as I had to blink a lot to keep snow from getting in my eyes. So home I went, again along Ocean Boulevard.

Back on the Brooklyn Bridge, some tourists were walking seven abreast with their backs to me, taking up both the pedestrian lane and the bike lane. I exclaimed "Careful!" and braked and turned, but apparently my tires have no traction in rain or snow while turning, and down I went in a little spill. The oblivious tourists were apologetic. Luckily I fell well and aside from scraping my shin a bit I was okay and returned on my merry way.

Biking in snowy traffic is not the safest recreational activity. There are some careless drivers on the road and if they turn in front of you and cut you off, one's ability to swerve is limited by these tires with no traction! Let's hope the weather improves.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

28 miles to City Island Road via the Bronx Zoo, and partway back

The Bronx Zoo does not let bikes in! Bad Bronx Zoo. They have a bike rack though.

City Island Road is a different world - a beautiful woodsy trail! When I have more time, I definitely want to continue all the way to City Island. It is either in or near the Bronx. The road that leads there is Pelham Parkway. It's a pretty nice road - somewhat bike friendly if you stay to the right.

On the way back I took a wrong turn. Eventually I hopped on a subway to get home in time. The Bronx is really gritty and run down. I don't know how people can stand to live there. I'm sure there are areas I haven't seen, but I did pass through a bunch of the borough. No M, I'm not counting Riverdale as the Bronx :-).

Tonight K, her mom, H and I had an early dinner at an Italian restaurant. Then they took us to see the spelling bee play which was fun!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

29.4 rainy miles to Corona Park, Queens

I have some nice photos but we're waiting for replacement batteries!

Had trouble getting out of the park - apparently you turn right onto 126th Street and go 10 or so blocks to Roosevelt Avenue, turn right (?) there til you reach Northern Boulevard and turn left onto it, following it almost to its end.

The rain wasn't bad at first, but eventually my socks became wet and I got cold. Bearable though. Afterward, K, A and I had a tasty dinner at Surya and saw a disappointing movie, Something New. From the trailer we had thought it would be a dumb comedy, but instead it was a dull drama. Neither funny nor interesting, though it took itself very seriously!

Speaking of intellectual feats, I'm so hard up for a book that I'm re-reading Dan Brown's worst novel, Digital Fortress. I strapped it to the underside of my bike bag and it got soaked! The front cover fell off.