Sunday, March 26, 2006

57 miles to the Garden State Plaza mall with Mike

and back. The mall (and much of Paramus) was closed as the good townspeople of Paramus want to encourage Sunday church attendance and respite. They don't close the restaurants, perhaps worrying about parched parishioners, so Mike and I - trying to relive the glory days of last season's Philadelphia trip - ate at Chili's at the mall!

Let's rewind. It started to rain when we started the trip, so 10 miles in we detoured for brunch at the New Leaf Cafe in Fort Tryon park. Pleasant and rustic once you're seated, but it took an hour for that to happen despite their 15-20 minute estimate.

David: Omelette with ricotta and something
Mike ("Atkins Boy"): Steak and eggs

Tasty omelette - I actually prefer cheddar but these fancy places feel the need to mix things up, and only offered a choice of ricotta or goat cheese.

Now that it was sunny again, we crossed the bridge into Fort Lee and headed northwest. At first we tried Route 4, but the shoulder ended and the cars were whizzing by, so we hiked through the woods to get off the highway. Here's a photo of Mike in the woods - we carried and dragged our bikes around the brambles. We proceeded to get lost from there but were redirected by the friendly natives of northern New Jersey.

Hot on the trail, we passed the Bergen Mall and reached our destination, the Garden State Plaza mall, the largest mall in New Jersey.

In front of Chili's, the only place to lock the bikes was this lamppost, so we raised them precariously to fit the chain around and hoped for the best. This is me near our locked bikes. You can see my silly-looking Windbreaker bike pants, which did keep me plenty warm! What you can't see are the suspenders under the jacket which are part of the Windbreaker pants concept.

The odometer wasn't on for the whole trip, so the 57 mile figure is approximate. My fancy Polar device kept beeping so I turned it off to preserve Mike's sanity. The trip should have taken around 47 miles, maybe fewer, but we got lost on the way there and overshot the mark on the way back. Not a biggie, as more miles are better than fewer miles!

The return route was more straightforward - Passaic Street to Cedar Lane to Teaneck Road to (what should have been) East Tryon Ave to Palisade Avenue to Hudson Terrace to the bridge. I'm told that Fort Lee Road might be even more direct.

With this start to the bike season, Mike and I were thinking of possible concepts to link our spring and summer trips. Something tawdry, perhaps visits to all the malls or Chili's restaurants of the tri-state area. Feel free to share ideas!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

11.9 miles to 125th Street

Quick morning ride along the Hudson River bike path, before a daytrip by car to the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Good timing too, because it rained intermittently on that trip. We went to M&B's house, then headed out for dinner at an Italian place with just two vegetarian dishes. A bit mediocre but it's hard to make a pasta/marinara/cheese dish that isn't good to eat!

On the way back, popped into the Target across the street to look at their t-shirts, and picked up a few basic ones.

2.5 hours in the car each way is too long!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

28.7 miles to Englewood, NJ for lunch

And back, of course.

After perusing many menus, I settled on a tasty Lebanese restaurant called Bennies. It is is just a few blocks before the panini place I've gone to in the past. The food was surprisingly tasty! It is family run.

One of their lunch options was a pick-three-appetizers combo. I had the falafel, grape leaves, and yogurt with cucumber. It was all good, especially the grape leaves which were warm. The yogurt with cucumber wasn't quite as good as I had hoped but it was still tasty. Then I had a piece of spinach pie, which was a bit disappointing. But overall, a great lunch spot in Englewood!

Me: Is there a bookstore nearby?
Waitress: No, we don't have a bookstore here. They're building a Borders but it isn't ready yet.

Some other weekend it would be fun to ride to the Garden State Plaza mall, which is just another six miles each way. It is the largest mall in New Jersey - two million square feet! While most feet are not square, that's still a lot of feet.

Monday, March 13, 2006

11.6 miles to Fairway

Fairway fairway fairway fairway.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

30.3 miles to Edgewater, NJ

Another pleasant day, though not quite a yesterday - and it got a bit chilly toward the evening.

Headed out to the Palisades bike trail, and relaxed by the water.

A fellow at a picnic table behind me was telling his friend about his three children, two of whom heeded his advice and didn't get into trouble. He told the third that if he was sent to jail, the father wouldn't bail him out. Apparently his son did get sent to jail for some drug-related offense, and after much pleading from the mother, the father gave in and bailed him out, then made the son repay the $3,000 bail, bit by bit.

The son hadn't learned his lesson though and was sent back to jail. I didn't follow exactly what happened, but the son spent two years in jail and it broke him. That was around 1992 and his son hasn't gotten into trouble since. Go, prison!

On the way back I bumped into Joy, who was also biking. Small world! Went a bit further than roundtrip to pass the 30 mile point.

Friday, March 10, 2006

21.5 miles to Fort Lee, NJ

Magnificent, wonderful 68 degree weather! I hopped on the Hudson River bike path this Friday afternoon in a t-shirt and sweatpants and went to Mike's neck of the woods. Crossed the GW Bridge and came back, grabbing a diet Snapple on the return trip.

K has one of Human League's two well-known songs on.