Monday, June 28, 2021

Riding Home from New York - Day 1 - Staten Island Ferry to Martinsville, NJ

 Back when Debra and I were dating, she lived in Brooklyn for awhile, and I would drive up to visit her. I'd take the Jersey Turnpike, and go over the Goethels Bridge, then over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Sometimes I'd stop off and visit my friend Bob, who lived in Port Richmond.

The Goethels Bridge used to be a rickety old horror show with super heavy traffic at all times. Since it was obviously about to fall down, they tore it down and built a new one.

With a bike lane.

You know what that means.

Today's ride starts with a lovely ride on the Staten Island Ferry. On Sunday morning there were three other people on bikes, and about a dozen passengers total. No social distancing concerns today.

I'm riding along the waterfront on Richmond Terrace, which is the same gritty mess that it's always been, except now it has a bike lane! With people riding bikes! So nice! But wait OMG WTF THAT DIDN'T USED TO BE THERE!

It's the biggest crane I've ever seen in my life. I spent the rest of the ride wondering what on earth you would do with such a crane. When I finished for the day, Wikipedia informs me that this is the Left Coast Lifter, also lately known as "I Lift NY", and it's on a barge and they use it to do stuff like build the new Tappan Zee Bridge. The boom is 328 feet long and it can lift 1699 tons. Zoom in on the picture to check out the teeny-tiny catwalks to get a sense of how unbelievably huge this thing is.

Then I went by Bob's old house (actually his mother's) to find that it is not there any more. 

My first dog, Nipper, was born in that house. I am sad now.

You think I don't like change? Fine. Get off my lawn.

Anyway, continuing on around on Richmond Terrace, the next sight is the renovated Bayonne Bridge, which has bike lanes now! Both the Bayonne Bridge and the Goethels Bridge are part of the East Coast Greenway.

I could actually see people riding bikes way up on that bridge.

And then you cut over to the ever busy Forest Ave, which now has a bike lane, so NBD, and you get to the incredibly fabulous new Goethels Bridge.

I love it so much. It is just amazing. You don't even hardly have to climb much to go across.

And it has a great view of Manhattan.

That's all the pictures, because it started to get really, really hot and humid and my brain started melting too much for me to operate the camera. Luckily, I only had to go forty miles for the day to get to my destination, which was my friend Lyn's house. It's 10 miles to the western New Jersey end of the bridge from the ferry terminal, so I had 30 miles to go through central New Jersey.

I had some trepidations about this, since my only real experience of this part of Jersey is what you can see from the turnpike. Will I be gassed by fumes from the refineries? Will I be run over by a container truck? Will I catch fire?

Turns out none of those things happened, and it's a really nice ride through small railroad commuter towns. I followed the ECG map as far as I could. Low traffic, nice shoulders, really easy riding.

Until I got to Lyn's. She lives in a valley between two mountain ridges. The road choices over the ridge are really steep. I picked Washington Ave. It was shortest.

Lyn's 18 year old son Elliott lives with her. He rides his bike a lot, all over.

Elliott: What road did you take to get over the mountain?
me: Washington Avenue.
Elliott: <laughing> I've never ridden up that one.
me: Me neither.

I couldn't make it. I ended up pushing the bike up the hill during the really steep parts.

Here is the Strava Track.

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