What you should expect from a long bicycle journey
Bicycle touring for a sustained period of time is a…
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.