Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Walking Bike NY

Bike New York on Sunday was a decidedly mixed bag. I inadvertently left the house with all of $3, was late for the start, missed meeting up with other cycling knitters Sarah, Debby, and Devorah, spent an inordinate amount of the ride walking, got rained on and sunburned my nose, missed the free snacks, and discovered English bulldogs are sweeties but their kisses are yucky. Not to mention my socks were mismatched. [Sigh]

One of the reasons I love BNY is the glorious views. There were plenty of those, including this vista of the Manhattan skyline from the Queensborough Bridge offramp in Queens, after it stopped raining. Many tall New York bridges have spiral ramps to save space, which are a delight to speed down.

Manhattan skyline

On the downside, this year the amount of walking was excessive. At the start I walked inched along Church Street from Broadway to Reade Street (see map) when ordinarily the group mounts up around Rector Street, before the bridge between the American Stock Exchange and Trinity Church. The walk through Midtown before Central Park also was much longer and much slower than usual.

Walking at the start   Walking in Midtown

Central Park is usually a pleasant spin, but this year I had to dismount three times and walk. The gracefully curved park drives allowed one to see the great stream of walking bikers, which was esthetic and irritating at the same time. The ride opened up a bit in Harlem and the Bronx [joy!], but became congested again on the FDR Drive [no joy]. I expected to pause for a vest check before the Queensborough Bridge, but not to be obliged to walk halfway across.

Walking in Central Park   Walking on the Queensborough Bridge

I got fed up with taking pix of the exceptional congestion, suffice to say there was more walking in Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. The mob scene at the exit of the festival at ride's end was worse than anything I've seen, a disgrace. A chatty ride marshall admitted this year's ride was well below par, in part because registrations were one-third higher than normal despite an early closeout, which badly overstrained services. (I'm really glad I brought those baby wipes.) Also, past complaints about rogue riders resulted in some new, possibly unworkable, constraints on the ride. It would seem there's nothing like being killed off by one's own success.

On a happier note, all the walking did provide many, many, many opportunities to ogle other people's gear.Wingtips The most unusual footwear I saw all day was this pair of ill-fitting wingtips. The rider proved to be fleet and adept in the peloton, but I chased him down [ha!] and got the photo [haha!]. The most exotic vehicle I saw was a recumbent tricycle in the tadpole configuration (two wheels in front, as opposed to delta configuration, two wheels in back). 'Bent trikes can regularly achieve speeds of 55 mph (88 kph) or more on a flat – they're probably the fastest of human-powered vehicles, although not stable on uphill climbs.

Also happy, I had three quite pleasant chats with neighborhood folk in Staten Island, which beats the hostile exchanges of some years. Plus a friendly English bulldog followed me for half a block and, despite her owner's remonstrances, slobbered on me. I take that as a sign of acceptance, but bulldog slobber is no ordinary doggy kiss. Hooray for baby wipes!

Kim asked to see my socks. I wore one modified Jaywalker and one Flying Pig, pictured with the remnants of a free snack (thanks, Bonita! the only tour sponsor to provide enough munchies at every rest stop). I'm happy to report that my handknit held up well to the rigors of the tour and was more cushy than storebought. My storebought bike sock, made of high-tech materials, was noticeably better at wicking, but in the cool, windy conditions, cushy was good.

My socks

I also brought my Sockapalooza sock, barely in progress. Theresa astutely surmised that my pal favors blue. Very true. Alas, my downstream pal has not responded to repeated requests for actual foot measurements rather than shoe size, so I'm using the measurements in Sensational Knitted Socks to modify a pattern in Socks, Socks, Socks and am hoping for the best. I've not heard from my upstream pal, but trust my pal is out there.

Sockapalooza sock in progress

After all, yesterday a tardy parcel arrived from my Knit the Classics series swap pal. Thank you, Julie in Texas! The book, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, looks to be from a genre (bodice-ripper-time-travel) I don't ordinarily sample. It should be fun beach reading.

Knit the Classics swap goodies

Also in the parcel were a foot buffer (excellent, my feet are soooo not ready for sandal weather), toile notepaper and a matching candle, bath fizzies, bookmarks and bookplates, a notebook, a red tulip magic wand lollipop (I'm going to wave it over my garden and see if it helps), and three skeins of Patons SWS yarn (the same as in the Yarn Harlot goody bags).

While I was traipsing all over NYC, amazing Jessica was taking in MDS&W, yet somehow she managed to add me to the Summer of Socks blogroll. Thanks, Jessica, that's nothing short of amazing! I'm looking forward to participating, not least because I've opted in on the design competition, my first. I'm inclined to blog the design process – surely I don't have to worry about industrial espionage.


Anonymous said...

That truly stinks about the congestion and all the walking. I am relieved to hear that the bad parts of this ride did not involve injuries. Very clever to wear 2 different socks to compare store bought v. hand knit.

Anonymous said...


Sorry not to have gotten in touch before now--I have been here though enjoying the blog and trying to decide on colors. You've knit some interesting socks!

your upstream pal

Anonymous said...

That first paragraph says it all. (Found you via Debby)

Zarzuela said...

Looks like you did manage to have some fun despite the rough start. I still admire you for even thinking of doing something like that. The walk between Penn. and my office is enough for me. :)

And I hate to ruin the aura surrounding my amazing coding skills, but the form automatically generates the link. No hand coding for me this year (thanks to Risa!). Can't wait to see your design! :)


CrazyFiberLady said...

I'm sorry the ride wasn't a good as you hoped. All that congestion definitely doesn't sound like fun, nor does pushing a bike around. If it makes you feel better, I pushed a stroller around MD :)

Tola said...

OMG I totally read "toilet paper" instead of "toile notepaper". Went back and read it again!

dragon knitter said...

i will say that "outlander" is not your ordinary bodice-ripper. both protagonists are intelligent! i own all the books, and reread them frequently. and they're actually relatively historically accurate, with the realization that they ARE fiction. my clan name is on a stone @ culloden, and i didn't know that until i read these books. i love 'em!

Robyn said...

Outlander and the rest of the series is excellent! I love them! And I don't normally go for the "bodice-ripping" type- this book, and the others, transcends any concrete genre