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Day 1: Queens, NY to Linden, NJ


Bit knackered so will keep it quick.

Set off from Jamaica, NY, way later than expected (they had a waffle maker, can’t say no to that). Only managed to get going at about 11.15am. But it’s all a learning curve – from now on days will begin a lot earlier than that and won’t, for the most part, involve waffles.

Goal one was to get to George Washington Bridge, to then get on to the mainland. Getting through New York was slow (Queens – Williamsburg – Manhattan). Stop start due to traffic lights. The actual traffic wasn’t too bad, just a case of keeping your wits about you. Basically like cycling in Manchester, it’s quite well thought out for cyclists in the main part.

Get over George Washington Bridge and it’ll all speed up, right? Oh how expectations can be deceiving. Here’s a video which shows the earlier part of today, leaving NYC. Wrong!

Just to explain, my plan was to leave New York via the fastest SW route (the GPS has a mode to switch to cycle-able roads), to then join the ACA Atlantic Coast route near Ambler, PA in a couple of days, where the roads are friendly and there should be some places to camp.

From GWB it got a bit more complicated. It got dark, so the lights came on to guide the way. Upon entering New Jersey there weren’t many places to stop. It was urban, the whole way. No parks and, unlike the video above indicates, no wooded areas. In a van or a car, being ‘urban discreet’ is easy, you can just park in a corner of a supermarket car park. It’s so tricky to be subtle in an urban environment in a tent with a massive bike though, so I kept on cycling until a good place was found. And it never came. The places I passed through weren’t places that would be conducive to a good nights kip in a tent. So reluctantly, and with the help of an awesome fellow lost-person, Jaquin (quite confident that’s not how you spell her name) finding the zip code on her phone, I used the GPS to point me in the direction of a room. Can’t be a regular thing as the budget isn’t there, but needed in this case. Finished cycling around 8.30pm.

 Anyway now that todays weird route is out of the way, hopefully the next few days will have a real impact on ticking some of the route off. After a late start and the stop-start nature of leaving New York (resulting in a low average speed), and still covering nearly 60 miles, it’d be good to tick off some bigger miles by setting off earlier and having a better plan. It was bloody good fun all in all, now it’s a case of keeping trekking on down the coast.

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13 comments on this post

  1. Jim says:

    Good job day one….NYC provided some unique challenges…your own “Escape From New York” experience. Keep on rollen…

  2. June Wheeler says:

    Cheering you on Dave – I’ve only done a fraction of the journey distance you are planning (1,400 miles St. Paul, MN to New Haven, CT in 2005) – I admire your spirit of adventure and your use of GPS – I’ve never gotten into that, still a paper cue-sheet gal. I look forward to each and every journal entry and only wish you were traveling through Minnesota!

    • Dave says:

      You should give it a try June. It doesn’t remove the need of maps entirely (so you can still be a paper cue-sheet gal!) but is a great aid and very simple to use. Thanks for your kind words, too!

  3. Nick says:

    The hardest part of doing anything is the start, so now you’ve started its all downhill from now on. Just a little concerned that in your kit bag you didn’t have a bucket of Sudacrem and a trowel. You’ll regret that. Good luck from a group of Cumbrian cyclists watching your blog.

  4. Rob says:

    Wow—cycling through NE New Jersey! And in November! And in the dark! No offense, but “where angles fear to tread” comes to mind. Had I picked up on your project/route a bit earlier I’d have suggesting SKIPPING Jersey City, Newark and their ilk and going further west (to the Glen Ridge/Montclair [where I grew up, now in CA :-)# ] area before heading south: the Mills Reservation, Mountainside Park et al would have offered some nice stealth camping. Will be following w/great interest. I envy you. (Well, except for the NJ/November/dark bit!)

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Rob. At times like that, maybe sometimes it’s best to not know a city’s reputation?! Just keep marching on and not think anything of it. Haha. On the other hand maybe the wisest thing to do would be to do proper research which after that day I have started to do!

      Cheers for being into the project!

  5. Tod Landess says:

    Congrats on Day One and good luck with Day Two and onward!! As a cyclist living in Florida for the past 30 years, I can’t even imagine cycling in that cold weather. I noticed you are skipping Florida. You may want to reconsider and cycle down the Florida East Coast to Key West and warm up a bit. I’m sure you would find a lot of people to interview for your documentary on that leg of the trip. Then you could take the Ferry from Key West to Fort Myers, Fl. and go back up the west coast of Florida. Just a thought. Good luck Dave.

  6. Deborah says:

    Looking forward to following you virtually as you explore our amazing country. You’ve inspired me to get in gear and back on bike. I have biked across the nation once but would like to do the east coast as you are right now. Stay safe.

  7. Ian Barker says:

    Well done David ,off at last. 58 miles very respectable for your first day. Best of luck for the days ahead.

  8. Maria says:

    Just joined in the group of ‘followers’! Good luck David and good journey ahead!

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