Sunday, May 19, 2013

Another Week in Brooklyn

The hotel in Brooklyn does not have a kitchen but I've requested a fridge and they threw in a Microwave... I don't have much use for the microwave but the fridge has given me the ability to live off Müesi; Yogurt with cocoa, nut-butter, and rolled oats (thanks to Krista's blog); salad and store roasted chicken. So I stay nice and healthy. Eating like this does make the desire to get out to eat even more imperative and I went over to a Thai place and had a Basil Udon with Duck, for a change on Thursday night. The hardest thing with going out to eat in this area is do you walk over two blocks West and choose good food or do you walk three blocks East for good food? Oh its such a difficult issue... And I know so many people feel sorry for me... HA!
Just behind the hotel is Brooklyn Boulders, which is a warehouse that has been converted to an amazing climbing "community". The hotel has a free pass per week for each resident so for my Friday night entertainment I headed over to climb late afternoon.
I managed to get up all the "0" climbs but could not get up the "easy" "1", it gets even harder, and you can climb the Brooklyn Bridge, it's for the "advanced" certified regulars.
There is also an exercise room where you can develope your grip, pull-ups, and tight rope. I went for the tight rope, it takes concentration and balance, I got up to one minute and a few steps. It's a lot harder than it looks (kind of like Yoga).
After four (4) hours my forearms and back was worn out, I was tired. I then went back to the hotel and went to bed early for an early morning ride.

The majority of weekday riding in Brooklyn is in Prospect Park. Though I wanted to say I rode through Manhattan during rush hour. Tuesday I took off over Brooklyn Bridge and hit rush hour, which was safer riding through than Saturday riding down King George Street in Brantford.... which is a bit of a sad statement. I also went over Chelsea to get a closer look at the greenway, which I want to walk on before I finish up, and "got to" ride on the Pavé there... 
Thursday night was training intervals in Prospect Park, it is easier to do intervals when you're limited to just going around circles rather than explore roads. Thursday after dinner I had walked into a bike shop and had started talking to a young rider, that belongs to a group that meets at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge every Saturday at 7:30 a.m. for a fast ride. It's a "no drop" ride but it is a very fast ride, we stopped several times to regroup, there were 5 of us hammering up and over hills, and on the sprints... on roads that are "not on the map". Last year I was on that side of Manhattan and I had ridden up 9w, and had been on the main roads, not knowing all these little side roads (not that I know them now), makes riding with locals so much fun. We did stop at the halfway point for coffee and it was a town that I had ridden through. 

This was one of the first rides that I finished and NEEDED a nap afterwards, and felt much better for it. I then chatted/texted with my daughter Céline while she was watching a Dr. Who marathon, then used my Skype to phone home and talk to my wife, after all the news from home went and picked up my laundry, then I did go out and have a good burger and fries for dinner, I figured I earned it. 
Today it is pouring down rain, and I have to say I feel for all the cyclist who paid good money for the NY Grand Fondo, it's a cool wet day which is not my favorite to ride in, and I do avoid it if I can. A good day to catch up with reading and podcasts.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Giro de Manhattan

Today I decided to make it a point to ride around Manhattan. It's easy to get from the hotel to the Brooklyn Bridge and over into Manhattan and I had wanted to ride the Greenway last summer but never got to it. 
Going clockwise around the the city covers a majority of the greenway and the first stop was off the bridge and before Battery park where there were two tall ships.

Going around the tip of Battle Park I noticed that the bike path was not as clearly marked as I would have liked, there is work going on and they are marking out parts of it much better, I got through and onto the west side. As I passed Chelsea I could see the Greenway and it looked very pedestrian, and full so that looks like another Sunday afternoon project. Next to my left I could see West New York, NJ and the condo complex where I stayed last summer. I then came to the end of the West Side of the greenway, if I had gone straight over on Dyckman I could have gotten to the east side of the greenway but I wanted to cross over the river into the Bronx, at my turnaround point I got a little confused as about eight streets come together and when you're on 3 of them they all have signs "Bronx Zoo" so I was not sure what road I was supposed to take, I finally figured out one road that looked to head south, and chose that one. It lead me through a neighbourhood that I was quite happy that I did not get a flat in... as I'm not sure a tall skinny guy in lycra would be a normal sight. I then headed back over to Manhattan Island and through Harlem, making my way to the East side of Central Park past the Guggenheim. I decided to make a loop around the park as long as I was there. It was not fast at all between the kids, people on slower bikes, people out for walks, people out with their dogs, etc. Then on to Times Square and the over to the United Nations.Now somewhere after the United Nations I wanted to get back onto the East greenway but I failed to find the way that passed over/under the FDR. So I just headed down 2nd Ave. buzzing down to the Brooklyn Bridge and back home.
Once home I had a good shower and went out for Pizza on 5th and it was very good way to end the day.

Packing and Brooklyn

The Ritchey Break-Away has been a blessing, just like a suitcase through the airport, it is a lot easier to handle, but the packing has been a pain (last time it took me 1 hour 45 minutes plus!). This time I went outside at home with a cup of coffee and took to it. I figured the order to put everything in and it fit I was done in just under 45 minutes (still not the "claimed" 20 minute pack). Some time would have been reduced if I had my supplements right there and my kit already packed.
I'm in a hotel, and I requested a fridge so I could eat salads yogurt and the like, and I found another GREAT grocery store (I wish I had a kitchen to cook) Fairway Market. The apple isle and the olive oil/balsamic vinegar tasting section is just a little sample of the store!

And in front of the store is some Pavé, I also saw some in SoHo and further downtown.
The hotel has bikes to check out and I took out a single speed bike and ventured around the "hood" and got my bearings on where laundromats, substations etc. were and how to get back to my hotel. Then that night I put together the Ritchey and the next day I was at work on scaffolding at 5:00 a.m. The Statue of Liberty is just outside the window of Restaurant, and I can see he from the staff cafe. Last month I could see the Golden Gate from the staff cafe. 

Thursday night I went to Prospect Park to pick on the locals and ended up getting my Butt handed to me on a platter by one guy doing sprint intervals (it was great). Best I did all night was 2 bike lengths behind him, If I had lighter bike, maybe I could have held his wheel a little bit longer but I've lost a lot of my kick.
Friday work and early to bed, then Saturday I hopped the train into town and at the terminal there were "real" break dancers. And they were just too fast for my silly little camera phone.

Once outside I started at the Empire State Building where I took photos of a bar that I had site dimensioned using the virtual space in AutoCAD, digital measuring device and laser level, along with CNC'd templates (a lot of technology for 2004). The bar fit perfectly, that is also saying a lot for Erk's cabinetmakers which were and still are some of the best I have ever seen.

I walked down 5th ave. and had lunch at Madison Square.. I spent 30 minutes walking between the booths trying to decide what to eat! All that good food!
Then around Washington Square, Greenwich Village area (heading south) it started to rain, and like all good New Yorker's I had my umbrella at hand, but I decided to dive into a pub to get out of the torrential downpour, I was in the packed little place called The Malt House and had a pint. As the rain let up a bit, still using my umbrella, I headed through SoHo stopped in to get a coffee to offset that pint, and on my way to ground zero. Because of the rain and a water line break, the memorial was being worked on and was going to reopen in an hour... and there was an Irish Pub just across the road with happy hour. I stopped in and had a cheap pint of beer and talked to several tourist, and that hour flew by. I got into see the Memorial there are two identical waterfall units, with a spotlight in the bottom that shines at night.

 I then went down to Battery park, and over to Wall street... Hopped onto a Subway up to Little Italy and Chinatown (Chinatown was not so much), and decided to have dinner in Little Italy, There I found a place call Paesano's where I had a nice Salmon Pasta and visited with the young couple at the next table who were from all places the (SF) Bay Area! After dinner you have to have a Gelato, and there just so happens to be a stand just around the corner, Hazel nut mmm...

And then at the end of the day I found a vendor who gave me a good deal on a shirt so that my daugher can expand her wardrobe of places I've been.
Then back to the substation and back home... I was a little bit tired by the end of the day.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In Brooklyn

I've arrived in Brooklyn, and I have work, and I have my bike. The trick is to find where to ride?
Today it poured rain, twice, but the evening turned nice.
I borrowed one of the Hotel's bike, a black, inexpensive, coster braked, single speed and put on my flashing lights (which probably cost as much as the bike). I headed out on the town, to take a look at Prospect Park, and over to Brooklyn bridge, which it looks like the bike overpass is on Manhattan bridge.
after Sandy damaging the vending machines, Citi bike stations are up, no bikes yet but soon... these are just a great idea.

Tonight I got the Ritchey put together and I'll be buzzin' on it tonight.