Friday, July 30, 2010

I am in Potsdam! I stayed in Burlington last night and took the ferry this morning to Port Kent and then mostly followed the Port Kent and Hopkinton Turnpike to 11B then cruised into Potsdam. It was a a tough ride as my legs were sore and I faced a stiff headwind for much of the day. But as I got closer to home my excitement kept my legs spinning. Time for some rest and home cooking.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Treehouse

Dan and I just finished our journey to my camp in Vermont. Just under
170 miles in 10 hours of riding culminating in an epic sunset during a
thunderstorm. Just enjoyed a great meal cooked by my cousin Jess and
looking forward to a much needed rest day.

NYC -> Home

Home after the last day of biking in the tour.

As the city was driving me a bit crazy, I decided to take a short day of riding on Monday up to my Aunt and Uncle's (Jane and Ralph) in Irvington, NY. Without a map, I took off riding from lower Manhattan up along the westside bike path. After following the Harlem river east, I crossed a bridge, and began wandering north, eventually ending up in the Bronx. Riding through the bronx was some of the most extreme city riding I've ever undertaken. I did not see one person on a bicycle, and I could see why. Almost got hit several times by people opening doors, pulling quickly out of side streets, and others trying to frantically make it through yellow lights.

Relieved that I was finally out of the bronx, I began my roundabout journey through eastern Westchester county. I'd never been here before, but I soon learned that the county is essentially one town in itself with no distinct border between yonkers, new rochelle, pelham, or eastchester. Making it even better, no county or state roads ever had route number signs, so I was left in the dark. Eventually I stopped at a pharmacy to look at a map, and found out I was much further east than I had intended. I finally found Yonkers Rd, which was a busy, winding 6 ln rd, terrible for biking, but cut over to 9, so I got through it as fast as I could, found 9 only after asking for directions as there were no route signs, and the rest of the ride for the day was relatively much better. Made it to Irvington after 50 miles (should have been 20), where Jane and Ralph made me a delicious dinner and gave me a very comfortable place to crash for the night. I planned out my route back home, and slept relatively early for a long day back home.

The next day I woke up around 4:30am, and was on the road by 5. The first 50 miles were somewhat slow as I was still waking up, and after 60 I was out of the 2 most difficult part of the ride, Poughkeepsie and Peekskill, where 9 turned into highway with no shoulder. For the whole ride, I took 9 and varients of 9. 9 and 9a in the morning, then eventually 9d which was very scenic right along the Hudson, then back onto 9 with a bike lane north of Poughkeepsie, and eventually 9h, which took me back to a very unfriendly 9 just south of Albany. I crossed the Hudson on a bridge sidewalk and began heading Northwest on Madison ave. I cut through SUNY Albany Campus to Fuller road which I took to central ave, (RT 5). I hit this just around the beginning of Rush hour and killed it to keep up with traffic (22 - 23 mph) all the way to scotia. Eventually I made it home at 4:30 after 153 miles for the day thus far. I laid down and ate alot and drank alot of water and realized I still had plenty of daylight left. I wasn't feeling too tired so around 5:30I decided to go for a 47 mile ride through charlton and ballston lake for the double century. The evening was perfect for cycling and I ran into several people I knew on the way. I made it back home with 3 miles to go so I did a few loops around the neighborhood for the complete 200. The ride today was just what I needed to destress, and helped me relax after a few hectic days in the city.

As a closing note, I'd like to add what an incredibly inciteful experience the past 8 weeks have been. We've all seen many parts of the country we'd never seen before, and even so we've biked the sections we may have seen in a car. Tour cycling is an incredible way to really learn about the places and people you're passing through. We've stopped at most little towns on the way, and just in the process of grabbing a quick meal or even filling our water bottles, learned about the history, geography or even natural history of the immediate area. Being in these places firsthand really shattered most of the stereotypic ideas I had about many of the places and people of the regions we passed through. The tour also restored much of my faith in humanity, as we hardly met a single person who didn't want to help us out in some way or another. So many people offering us a place to sleep, food, or even just simple directions, local knowledge, and good luck. We were always greeted with a smile.

A special thanks goes out to all the people who provided us with places to stay all throughout the trip. Also thanks to family and friends of everyone who rode for giving us so much support, including my parents who made it possible for me to get out to seattle and eat food during the trip. Most of all, to Will, Dan, Peter, Aidan, David, Carrie, and Ashley all who made the trip worthwhile and added to the dynamics of a tremendous group do be with for 8 weeks. As Peter mentioned in the previous post, this has been an experience I'll never forget.

Happy Cycling!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ahoy from Westchester

Although our cross continental excursion is done and the crew has split up, Will and I are still on the road riding from NYC up to North Ferrisburg, VT and Potsdam, NY respectively. We have so many more stories to tell on the blog including the epic last few days into the city and our epic visit to the Atlantic at Rockaway Beach. For now I will give you a quick recap of Will and I's journey out of the city today and save the description of our journey from Bing to NYC for when I have more time and energy. Our day began with a delicious breakfast at Andrew Carmellini’s Laconda Verde. Will interned with Carmellini and his staff a few summers ago so we knew we were going to get hooked up with some dank meal. Afterwords we packed up our stuff and Carrie's old apartment in the east village that we stayed in for the last two nights we headed over to Continuum Cycles. We met the owner, Jeff, the day before on our ride to Rockaway. He told us to come over the shop the next morning for some bike maintenance. While we waited for their expert staff to help heal our broken bikes, we talked with the knowledgeable staff, admired their selection of vintage bikes, and observed the interesting patrons and their bikes that flowed through the shop. Our destination for the day was Mohegan Lake, where Will has family. Although we had the gusto to cross the continent, Will and I met our match today when we tried to navigate through the suburban jungle of Westchester County. We took the Westside bike path and then navigated ourselves to Van Cortlandt Park, where I used to race xc in high school. From there we thought we could take a bike path almost all the way up to Mohegan Lake. At first the bike path was a dirt trail that was manageable but sketchy in sections. We got excited when it turned into a newly paved path up through Yonkers through the Forest, but then it turned into single track and we forced to walk our bikes and change a flat. We got of the bike path and figured out where we were and then found another bike path up along the Bronx river. This curvy path was enjoyable but got sketchy again and just as it ended we were forced to change another flat. At this point we were left with little daylight and still 30 miles to ride. We booked it through White Plains and Greenburgh and thought we had found our jam with route 100 but as the sky turned dark the road turned sketchy. We did some super sketchy riding on a 60 mile an hour divided highway with no shoulder at night, but thankfully we had some sense and put safety first and called will's family from Pleasantville and asked for a ride. We chilled at a 7-11 and did work on some slurpees, and then got driven to Mohegan Lake from Will's Dad's cousins Reb's wife Cathy. Reb is an experienced bike racer, and Reb and Cathy treated us to some fine meal as we talked about the Tour and some of Bike racing career. I sit hear now awaiting tomorrow, when Reb will guide us to Route 22, which we will take to Will's camp in North Ferrisburg. If this post is spaint, its because I am really tired, as the last couple days have been exhilarating but draining. But my spirits are high and I am excited to ride again in a more rural setting instead of Westchester, which from what I can tell is not very easy to navigate on bikes. Hey Westchester County, how about some shoulders?

Adios from Obi and Aidan (with photos from our last short day)

the Jersey Shore, and the beginning of Aidan and I's last 20 miles of riding

Part of a big bridge was being pushed on a barge up the East River today. Some of you may have heard about this. It went right by our ferry!

The Manhattan bridge. We crossed this last night and went under it this morning. Shout out to Brooklyn!

The famous Brooklyn Bridge. We never got to cross it but we went under it this morning and got this sweet view.

Aidan and I got up early this morning to catch a ferry from Manhattan to Atlantic Highlands, NJ. We met my brother at Asbury Park where we got to do the last few hundred miles home in a car for a change. We made it safe and sound to good ol' Virginia. Looking forward to kicking it in the relative peace and comfort of home. Just wanted to say thank you to everybody who followed us, helped us, or even talked with us. This whole experience wouldn't be the same without you.

I hope we have inspired others to have similar adventures in this awesome country (or anywhere). Stay tuned on this site for useful information about what roads are good, where to camp, and maybe what to pack. We are planning on posting this info for the good of anybody who is inspired to do some touring.

With that, we bid you farewell for now. Peace and Love.

P.S. Thanks to DP, Goody, Wiley, David, Kruse, and Atiyeh for countless adventures and good times. I'll never forget it.

The end of team werk

This morning marked the end.
We all pedal our own paths now.
We have grown ourselves and those we encountered.
Thanks to all who supported our adventure in the biggest or smallest
Hopefully the blog will continue to get updates and maybe even be
helpful for tourists in years to come.