|Date||May 12, 2012|
|Hosts||Wendy Samuelson and Jeff Winick|
|Where||Palisades Park; West Side of Manhattan|
|Who (else)||Caren and Mike Bianco, Marji Brandriss and Dave Kristol, Beryl Brodsky and Tom Fritz, Deb and Al Cudworth, Barb Flint and Neil McPhee, Pat and Ed Gifford, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, Nancy Robarts and Howie Southall, Linda and George Wells|
The DOGS had their first urban version of a Dusty DOGS ride. Many thanks to Jeff and Wendy for organizing and hosting this ride.
Participating were Teams: Gifford (Ed and Pat), Cudworth (Al and Deb), Bianco (Mike and Caren), Isherwood (Larry and Brenda), Wells (Linda and George), Cook/Prudhomme (Mark and Cheryl), McPhee/Flint (Neil and Barbara), Southall/Robart (Howie and Nancy), Kristol/Brandriss (Dave and Marji), Fritz/Brodsky (Tom and Beryl) and Winick/Samuelson (Jeff and Wendy) -- our leaders for the day.
We assembled at the Ross Dock picnic area just below the George Washington Bridge (GWB) (on the Fort Lee side of the Hudson River). Driving down into the park amid the myriad of bicyclists gave us some pause to consider the climb out of the park to start the ride. After our "Meet and Greet" and signing in (thank you, everybody), we assembled for the pre-ride picture, as well as some necessary instructions from Wendy concerning the navigation of the GWB and streets of New York City to get to the West Side Multi Use Path (MUP) that would take us to Battery Park and back.
Getting out of the park was easier than we had anticipated although Team Wells was in the "granny" for the initial climb up from the picnic area, as well as the bike/walk way that led from the park to the bridge. Team Wells had negotiated the GWB about 15 years ago when we were new to tandeming (and 100 pounds heavier), so we already knew about getting around the uprights on the Bridge, which weren't easy then, and, all these years later, there was no change -- still difficult to get around. Negotiating the streets was something different but, we all successfully made our way through various hair-pin turns and made it to the MUP.
Our first stop, before we even started heading towards Battery Park, was to see "The Little Red Lighthouse" (of children's book fame), and then on our way south. The West Side Greenway was filled with people -- lots of people on this beautiful day of completely blue skies and temperatures in the low 80's. There were lots of cyclists -- all shapes and sizes, riding everything from well-used fixed gears to some of the fanciest high-end carbon frames on the market, as well as some rental bikes and beach cruisers. Of course 11 tandem teams in a pretty solid group did get noticed and we would get the inevitable question: "Are you guys a club?" George has to admit that he bit his tongue and let Linda answer, proudly: "Yes, we are -- the DOGS -- the one and only tandem-bicycle club in the entire state of New Jersey!" George's response to that question would have been: "Eleven tandem teams, almost all of whom were wearing the same jerseys, riding in a pack, just happened to have shopped in the same store and met by happenstance in the park on the same day at the same time! Yeah! Sure!" Actually, for a small part of the ride, as we headed towards Battery Park, there were 12 tandems, because we picked up a couple from Ridgewood who were out riding their tandem and told us they would look us up on our website, which is when George gave them one of our DOGS business cards. Hopefully, we will receive an e-mail from them.
As Jeff had noted, a lot of what he would be doing would be "defensive" tandeming. The path was filled with walkers, joggers, and roller-bladers, and sometimes things got really close but, thankfully, no crashes. We passed the Intrepid as well as a host of sailboats anchored off-shore. Linda remarked to George how huge the Intrepid is and he responded that the aircraft carrier he was on, The Constitution, was even larger. The pace was very moderate most of the way because we just couldn't take the chance of going too fast on a bicycle with a mass over 300 pounds and have to make a sudden stop.
A lot of this ride had the feel of a "Spring Classic": the crush of the crowds, the sections of "Pave" (yes, there were many small sections of blocks/cobbles), while weaving in and out of the crowd. We made it to the beginning of Battery Park, viewed important sites such as The Statue of Liberty, took another picture and headed back. Once we returned to "The Little Red Lighthouse" and began our climb away from The Greenway we came to a daunting, very steep (albeit short), climb back up to street level, re-negotiating the bridges and streets back to the park for our picnic.
As usual following a DOGS ride, there was a lot of wonderful food and talk among the DOGS. It was another great day of tandem riding. If you weren't there, you missed an adventure. But you haven't missed the season. Next weekend, there are multiple DOGS rides starting on Friday, the 18th with a leader-led road ride, then on Saturday and Sunday (19 and 20 May), two back-to-back Dusty DOGS rides, exploring the paths around Blairstown. These rides are tailor-made for those DOGS members who prefer slower, off-road rides where the group stays together for the entire ride. So, mark your calendar and join us next weekend. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous!
As we say to everybody: Stay Upright!
Linda & George Wells
Leaders -- Doubles Of the Garden State (DOGS)
Mike Bianco's Picassa photo album
Mark Cook's Picassa photo album
Team Breeze's (Isherwood's) Picassa photo album
Team Snot Rocket (Pat and Ed Gifford) video