I <3 New York

Standard

IMG_5650-0.JPG

Last post from the US ! I’m ready to depart back to sunny France. End of one week of rest / strolling in the city.

IMG_5647-0.JPG

I’ve lived in Paris for 17 or 18 years, after living in the countryside, or small cities. I prefer large cities anytime. You get everything you want and a lot of people, and you can move around easily.

IMG_5646.JPG

Among mega-cities, New York is probably the only place I’d rather live in than Paris. Everything is bigger, better, more impressive. And there’s a feeling it is constantly being built and redone, so that it evolves with the time. Paris changes much slower.

IMG_5652.JPG

Manhattan is the heart, of course, and I can see more people walking here in a day than for the rest of the trip combined. People of all shapes and colors, speaking all languages. I even heard French quite a few times a day. There is also an architectural diversity that cannot be matched. It’s several cities put together and mixed up. Perspectives are staggering, amplified by the heights of the buildings. And there’s something to see in every street.

IMG_5656.JPG

On Thursday I did a ride all around Manhattan, that’s about 30mis/50kms, plus around Central Park. It’s amazing to see the differences from place to place in such a short time. The northern tip is covered in forest while the southern one is packed with glass skycrapers. Lots of red bricks, concrete, large avenues, small corners, deserted areas, crowded walkways… And quite a few places to get lost while trying to ride all around ! I was along a nice pathway for a mile before seeing it was a dead end – no sign at any time.

IMG_5659-0.JPG

IMG_5664.JPG

I also went down all the way through Brooklyn to Coney Island, in order to reach the Atlantic, and take the mandatory bike-in-the-ocean picture for the end of the trip. Brooklyn is much bigger than I thought ! Took me an hour to get there, and another one, all along the Jamaica bay, to get back to my place. Great views of Manhattan in the distance, a fantastic conclusion for the whole trip, and the eighth and last time I see 111,1kms on the counter.

IMG_5670.JPG

IMG_5672.JPG

On Friday, I started packing, taking down the bike and once again, my life fits in a box. It’s a bigger box this time, maybe there’s a meaning around there πŸ™‚

Advertisements

Aftermath

Standard

IMG_5544.JPG

Three days without riding, for the first time since I started getting ready for the trip (apart from the broken bike gap), it really feels like the end of the adventure.

IMG_5543.JPG

I love the word “aftermath”, it feels like you did so much math the world now lies in ruins πŸ™‚ Don’t do too much math ! You never know.

IMG_5547.JPG

I’ve been walking around Manhattan for three days. Not that much, as my back still aches from the accumulated pressure over the last week of riding, and the downfall of that pressure. But I love it (the walking, not the back ache). I’ll have to make another post about the city πŸ™‚

IMG_5533.JPG

It feels really, really strange not having the road moving below the wheel, and going into one direction for hours. It feels strange not watching the horizon become the next crossroads. And it feels strange not having the same routine anymore.

IMG_5529.JPG

Goon into the routine of the ride was tough. Mostly the second month, as for the first one it was new and attractive. But it has become a habit now, and leaving a habit is not natural. My bike and the trailer are sitting restlessly in a corner. I hope I’ll feel better enough to do a few rides around the city before leaving.

IMG_5524.JPG

So here I am trying to do something else now, enjoying New York. And of course I’m wondering if I am enjoying it enough. Am I making most of the time here ? Am I spending enough time outside ? The kind of stupid questions where I’m judging myself as if someone was pushing me to do more. Is five hours walking enough ? Six ? Seven ? If I’m tired, can I do less and still avoid questioning myself ? How many movies in a week can I see without feeling I’m losing time ?

IMG_5521.JPG

I had a mini experience like that going up the Empire State this afternoon. The price to go up there is steep (29$), and I stayed maybe 20 minutes. That puts a price to the famous New York minute πŸ˜‰ I enjoyed the view, took nice pics very similar to the ones I took eight years ago, and then the vertigo pushed me away from the observatory πŸ™‚ Did I enjoy the place enough ? How do you measure that ?

IMG_5512.JPG

For sure though I’m enjoying netflix πŸ™‚ It should be up in France a couple of weeks after I get back, so I’ll be on the waiting list !

New York !

Standard

IMG_5481.JPG

I’m in New York πŸ™‚ I finished crossing a whole continent on a bike, from the Golden Gate in San Francisco to the Brooklyn bridge in New York !

IMG_5471.JPG

As expected this was a short trip today. I left quite late, when the chances of rain in New Jersey were the lowest. By any chance I would then arrive late morning when it wouldn’t be raining in New York. And I escaped rain again ! Really lucky with the weather all the way πŸ™‚

IMG_5473.JPG

I stayed on US27 up to Elizabeth (a town name :), then switched to gps guidance. It was supposed to be tricky entering the city on a bike. Adventure cycling maps stops you far away and puts you in a train but that’s no fun. I wanted to finish on the bike !

IMG_5474.JPG

And after Elizabeth indeed it was a maze through industrial areas, left, right, with no apparent logic. But I had switched to the east, and at 11am, I got my first glimpse of the island buildings ! Including the new World Trade Center.

IMG_5475.JPG

Lots and lots of trucks in the area, very insecure. I crossed the first bridge over the Passaic river on the sidewalk. No one ever uses it I guess, it was overrun by plants πŸ™‚ The next one had no sidewalk, so I hurried cautiously, while still blocking a white truck for a couple miles ! It followed me quietly through Jersey city.

IMG_5478.JPG

I was still aiming directly for the WTC. Jersey city is wider than I thought, a lot more than thin Manhattan anyway πŸ™‚ And then here I was, by the Hudson ! I’d made it, just a few more miles. Even the sun was showing up πŸ™‚ I stopped for lunch, right by the Goldman Sachs building, one of the 666 gates with hell.

IMG_5476.JPG

Going over the Hudson is through a ferry, whenever no plane wants to make a landing here anyway. Bikes are not really secured on the ferry, I was a bit nervous watching it dandling a meter away from the water, with no barrier.

IMG_5477.JPG

But we touched down on Manhattan, New York City, state of New York, 17th and final state of the journey ! I went directly through to the Brooklyn bridge, only a mile and so, or two kilometers away. Going around after the bridge was actually longer πŸ™‚

IMG_5484.PNG

Well here I am now, hardly believing what I just did. Still, this is the end of the trip (save a victory lap all around the island). The volley of daily posts will end now, even if it became a habit after all this time. I’ll be staying a week in New York, with a couple more posts to do, like a list of figures and achievements / memorabilia (most frequent sandwich, best roadkill, readings and music…), and probably some notes about learnings.

IMG_5488.JPG

And one about “what now ?”. Although I won’t be starting another such trip right now, I’ll certainly do another one soon πŸ™‚ I just looked at the Danube river, 3000kms from Germany to the Black Sea, 1k more probably starting from Paris to Amsterdam and then along the Rhine. But I wouldn’t do it alone this time, certainly with a car and other people like the Chinese group did πŸ™‚

Adventure Cycling Maps !

Standard

I received this morning the 14 route maps I ordered from the Adventure Cycling Association πŸ™‚ They were warning about a 60-days overseas delivery delay, but they made the trip in less than two weeks.

These maps plot very well the trip I will do through the US :

  1. San Francisco – Santa Barbara, CA
  2. Los Angeles, CA
  3. Here I’m missing the bit between LA – Las Vegas, NV – Flagstaff, AZ
  4. Flagstaff, AZ – Cedar City, UT
  5. Dolores, CO (maybe a detour to Denver ?)
  6. Pueblo, CO
  7. Alexander, KS
  8. Girard, KS
  9. Murphysboro, IL
  10. Berea, KY
  11. Christiansburg, VA
  12. Richmond, VA (then of course Washington, Baltimore)
  13. Conshohocken, VA (then Philadelphia, New York)
  14. Windsor Locks, CT
  15. Boston, MA πŸ™‚

That makes a total of 12 states, perhaps a bit more with the small states on the east coast (small but beautiful ! πŸ˜‰ ).

advcy_1

 

 

 

 

advcy_2

 

 

advcy_3

The maps are really nice and detailed with all sorts of useful informations for cyclists, including elevation, weather reports, directories, etc. They are supposed to be untearable and waterproof. I’ll see that on the field πŸ™‚

Only default I see, apart from the price (12$ each, member price), is that there is a one page addendum for each map :p This print is less than two years old though. Well, things change fast I suppose.

advcy_4

 

I wanted to do a pic with all maps open on the ground, but I don’t think I have enough space around πŸ™‚

Journey path

Standard

parcours_01

Ok so I’ll be riding from west to east. But on what path ?

It seemed obvious to me that I would be going from California to New York, more or less. I would start either from San Francisco or Los Angeles. The distance between both cities is already quite noticeable, 500 miles, or 800 kilometers, if I ask google maps. But the ocean route is supposed to be a view in itself, so I’ll probably do that as a first leg. With some time in each city and along the way, that’ll be 3-4 weeks already

From LA, the next stop is Las Vegas, of course ! I’ve never been there. That’s another 300 miles or 500 kms. Probably a couple of weeks.

Then I’ll try to hug the south of the Grand Canyon as much as possible, aiming for Flagstaff, and after that, north-east to Denver. This part is not very clear yet, but all in all that’s about 900 miles or 1400 kms. The Rockies are supposed to be easier than the Appalachians on a bike, still it’ll be a month ride.

At this point it’s quite simple πŸ™‚ I’ll catch the TransAm bike road, which links New York to Seattle, and rides south of Kansas City, St Louis, Louisville, and north of Oklahoma City and Nashville. That’s 1600 miles or 2500 kms through the Middle West. I’ll certainly make a few turns here and there and use 1 and 1/2 months to cross three time zones. Hopefully this part will be flat !

From here on I’ll be in sight of the first colonies. I’ll reach Washington in 400 miles or 600 kms, a bit more than a week, maybe two. I will spend some time in the capital of course πŸ™‚ The final stretch will include Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. That’s 500 miles or 800 kms, a couple of weeks and at least as much visiting, so a month.

That’s my draft route, to be detailed until and after starting up. Right now I count 4200 miles or 6600 kms, and at least 5 months, more reasonably 6. If I start on early may that would lead to end october. I may have to cut some parts :p Or not, depending on how everything goes πŸ™‚