Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Inwood

Inwood is one of the last neighborhood refuges in Manhattan. Today I rode the 20+ round trip up to Inwood and back, with the intention of checking out the area that's at the top of my list of residential options for next year at Fordham. Though there may be some dispute, I consider Inwood anything above 187th street. (In 4th grade news, Inwood may be the only place where a few blocks away from Dyckman is the intersection between Seamen and Cummings.) It really is beautiful there and reminds me of the quieter places of Brooklyn, like my old area in E. Williamsburg and Cobble Hill/Park Slope.

The ride up there and back was great. I went up and down Broadway for almost the entire time. I only felt slight soreness with the Achilles, which is good. There are a few "hills" north of 96th street, which is unusual for Manhattan; though I'd ridden them before, I was paying closer attention as this might be my daily commute to school and back.

The ride from 207th street to Fordham (at around 62nd st.) was about 7 miles and took me exactly 35 minutes. I have to keep in mind though, that I would be doing that ride right after waking up sometimes/often in the bitter cold or extreme heat-humidity. It is a fun ride though, traversing many different neightborhoods and past many parks and waterfronts. My commute last year from Brooklyn to NYU was about 5 miles with the Williamsburg Bridge being a beautiful viewpoint and biggest obstacle.

That all in mind, I might start expanding my preference for living next year to Washington and Morningside Heights.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New new york

Yesterday I went on a short-ish bike ride around NYC. Specifically I rode from Dalia's, up 1st Ave, past the UN and East River overlooks, to Central Park, around the park bike path and then down Broadway and back to Dalia's on E. 24th street. Here's a sketch of the route:

View Larger Map

I was a bit apprehensive for this ride as it's the first I've done in a couple weeks, since going to Julien's. Overall, my achilles felt fine (I did a similar ride this morning and hardly felt any pain!); just a few bouts of pain when I'd stand to pedal.

It was an absolutely blissful experience to be back on the bike, especially in NYC. The weather was perfect for biking, mid 50s, and this was my first time since coming back to NY that I've got to really hang out in the city. The ride yesterday solidified my decision to attend Fordham Law School this fall.

There were some problems with my rear break, which I promptly fixed when I got home. My New York bike (a lower-level Fuji I bought new about a year ago) is much different from my Cannondale in CA. It's a bit bigger and feels sturdier, which is useful for plowing through traffic and gigantic rampant potholes throughout the streets.

Also, in ibex-news: today and yesterday I automatically kept looking behind to check on the ibex that wasn't there.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


It's been a while since I last posted, about a week. The reason has been that I've been off the bike for that practically amount of time. I got a ride from Monterey to SF to LA in a variety of ways, let's say they involved hitchhiking, Enterprise car rental (which has the best customer service of any company I've encountered, ever), craigslist rideshare, friends and friends of friends. (Big thanks to Baumer for coming through with an impromptu mini-road trip.)

I'm back in LA contemplating my future, waiting for the Achilles to heal and strengthen. Yesterday and today I road to Julien's and back (about 8-10 miles round-trip) and I've been feeling alright, still a bit hesitant to push it though.

Here are some long past due pictures from the trip (the pics are very selective, because I often would forget that I had a camera):

Elephant seal mating/battle grounds, near San Simeon. They're small, but if you look closely you can see some.


Sunset in one of the most beautiful campgrounds I've ever stayed in, right on the ocean near Big Sur.

Breakfast in Big Sur.

Leaving Kirk Creek campground.

Ahh, the San Francisco skyline, taken from Dolores Park near Lisa's place in the Mission District.

And here are some bike-related haikus I wrote while I was in misery in Monterey:

California coast
Looks more beautiful when you're
Riding down the hills.

Swiss cyclers got lost
Looking for a place to eat
We all ate porridge.

Wind, cars and gravity
Are tough but cannot compete
With biking music.

Hubris got Achilles;
I've never read the Iliad
But perhaps lived it?

After a long climb
Energy bars taste as good
As double burgers.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Coasting California

I'm in San Francisco right now, staying with Lisa. Short story, rode to Monterey, injured my Achilles tendon there, and had to drive the rest of the way to SF. I'm still unsure about the way back, I'm on a wait-and-see schedule to see if I can ride down. Things aren't looking too good though. Bummer.

The rest of this post will be the long(er) story. I kept notebook and jotted down notes about the ride each day, mostly just highlights/lowlights. I'll briefly, reproduce them as the rest of this post.

Day Zero - Solvang Century

See previous post.

End of the century: 102 miles and feeling fine.

Day 1 - San Luis Obispo to San Simeon

The first day of riding was incredible. Started off a little slow, getting used to the Ibex and riding. Coming out of SLO to the coast was one of the most beautiful parts of the ride that day. I stopped in a town called Cayucos for lunch; feasting on a giant an of tuna and a loaf of bread. I stayed at a campground near the town of San Simeon where Hearst Castle is. There wasn't cell phone reception there, so I had to ride into town. Sure enough, no cell reception either so I spent the next hour cruising around looking for a pay phone. I made a couple calls, headed back to my site where I met an Australian woman Sharon and her husband. They gave me some pasta, tea, coffee, and chocolates and took this picture of me as I was leaving the next day:

Day 2 - San Simeon to Lucia

For the most part, this day was about climbing. Sometimes, the roads rose 1000 feet on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was some of the most beautiful sights I had seen, felt some of the best feelings I've had riding or doing anything else for that matter. I stopped for lunch/dinner in a small town called Gorda, where I met a guy who was buying an Ibex. I camped at a place called Kirk Creek Campground about 10 miles north of Gorda, near a town called Lucia. This site was right on the ocean and just gorgeous. I met there a bunch of great people: a father-son bike tour team who were riding from Mt. Shasta to L.A. in training for a week-long, unsupported tour in the Nevada/Utah desert; a couple from the Claremont colleges camping and backpacking over their spring break; and a Minnesotan couple of RV-ers. They gave me encouragement, beer and food, respectively.

Day 3 - Lucia to Monterey

This was the day I believe which destroyed my Achilles tendon. I rode a hard 62 miles up 1000-foot hills and facing a harsh head-wind pretty much the entire time. Perhaps my training was inadequate, perhaps I bit off more than I could chew. No sense in regretting what I did, I only have to look to what I can do to recover and get back on the bike. I basically set up camp in Monterey, hung around there until I faced the reality that I could not continue riding. So I sucked it up, rented a car and drove to SF where I am now. Monday's my deadline to make a decision to ride back down the coast or to rent a car again and drive back to LA where I can make a recovery. Time will tell...

In toto: I rode 260 miles in 4 days, saw some of the most beautiful natural sights I've ever seen and met some great, generous and hospitable people, all in such a short time. This trip is just a preview for many future tours I hope to experience.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

End of the century

Just finished the Solvang century! Highlights: cows, vineyards galore, top speed of 40 mph, and a post-ride meal at the restaurant from the movie Sideways. On the way now to San luis obispo (I'm on an iPhone) to spend the night before heading off tomorrow !

Friday, March 13, 2009

Utopia parkway

Things I'm looking forward to:
  • finishing the Solvang Century
  • Hearst Castle
  • Big Sur
  • a bike/road trip iPod mix that I just finished compiling (including the Fountains of Wayne song that lends its name to the title of this post)
  • (possibly) seeing Shawna in Santa Cruz
  • elephant seals
  • tuna
Soon my dad and I are driving to Solvang. We're staying in a hotel around there before the Century ride bright and early tomorrow morning. Notice the weather forecast (according to weather.com) predicts an easy 44 degrees at 6:00 am when the ride starts.

6 am


Feels Like
9 am


Feels Like
12 pm


Feels Like
3 pm


Feels Like
6 pm


Feels Like
9 pm


Feels Like

After the ride's over (we should finish somewhere between 1 and 2 pm) the plan is to grab lunch and relax for a little. Then I'm gonna get dropped off at a campground in San Luis Obispo where my trip to SF will officially start.

I have a sketch of how the first couple days will look, the rest I'll play by ear on the road. On Sunday, I'm planning on taking an easy 35-40 miler to San Simeon State Park, which is on the coast and on the foothills of Hearst Castle. Either Sunday or Monday, I'd like to visit the Castle and go on a tour; I'll have to see how much time I have on either ride and how I'm feeling. Monday night the plan is stay at a campground or state park somewhere south of Big Sur. After that, we'll see. Shawna said she's might be in Santa Cruz on Wed, so I'll see if I could make it there by then.

With that I'm almost ready to go. I've paid my credit card bill. I've returned my library books. I've made my bed, cleaned off my desk, packed a separate overnight bag for Solvang with all my bike stuff. I likely will not be updated this blog on the trip, at least not until I get to San Francisco, as I won't have a computer or smart phone.

If you need to get in touch, for whatever reason, even just to say hi, I'll have my cell phone. I'm going to be leaving it off, to conserve battery, but I'll be checking messages a few times a day and using it to make calls out.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gear, revisted

So today I reevaluated some of the packing and removed a bunch of stuff (the floss, of course, stays). Everything weighs about 30 lbs, which was my goal. Here's what it looks like all packed up--the tent and foam pad, which don't fit into the waterproof neon yellow bag, are strapped on top: