Saturday, April 26, 2014

The first leg of the Six Weeks to a Century was full of adventure for the newest group in OutCycling: The Easy Riders. I was the Ride Mama for the group and had done the Cop Shop route twice, although that didn’t prevent me from almost leading Andre past the correct ramp leading to the GW Bridge—fortunately, Brian was there to correct my misreading of the Cue Sheet and save us several miles of extra riding. I was bringing up the rear and staying behind Andre, who had only picked up his bike the day before and ridden a mere seventeen blocks before joining us for the twenty-four mile intro to the planned century. Another newcomer, Aurelia, was riding alongside Amy when she went past the Bike Shop and the first rest stop and rode an additional five miles before turning back and joining the group just as we were talking off again.

For the first leg of the ride up to the police station, I rode behind Aurelia and Andre and at our own pace we all made to the station. Once there, since everyone else had already had their rest, we sat out back at a picnic table, and got to know each other. While we were talking and eating, Jim joined us. Turns out he also had gotten separated from the group and done some extra mileage. Jim and Aurelia added another seven to ten miles each to the goal of twenty-four.

Once we were ready to head back, easily a half hour later than the Speed Freaks and the Steady Eddies, I asked the other three if the wanted to check out the more scenic route and not return along the highway. They were all for it and we enjoyed the rolling hills and spectacular scenery of the Hudson River Drive, stopping as often as we like to take pictures and make sure we were all together. We had such a great time that once we were back in the city we decided to ride down Broadway and find a nice spot for lunch. We enjoyed a late afternoon meal at Le Monde Brasserie in Morningside Heights and continued getting to know each other. We turned out to have a surprising number of things in common. Andre, who exchanges apartments with another teacher every summer in Holland, rides there all the time. He and I knew several people in common from my time at the South Street Seaport Museum. Jim is a rental agent in the Seaport and we traded stories of some of the characters in that complex and often tragic section of the city. Aurelia has only been in New York nine months, works at the UN, and spent four years working in Haiti. She is looking forward to exploring the city from her apartment in Brooklyn Heights. All four of us were thrilled to have formed this group, are in no hurry, but eager to ride longer and longer distances. Considering how much Andre and Aurelia, who were on brand new bikes they’d had for only a day or two, I wouldn’t count us out for the full century. But we’ll see.