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Vintage Outlandish!

This Content From 2003 (or earlier) see index

Williamsburg Bridge Trips

[Ed Note: I've expanded this forum to move beyond the Williambsurg Bridge and to include all travel-induced brain activity. This still explains the bridge bit though.]

As you may or may not know, I live in Greenpoint Brooklyn. However, my affairs call me into Manhattan on almost a daily basis. Being as my main mode of transportation is bicycle, I ride over the Williamsburg Bridge (which connects South Williamsburg, Brooklyn to the Lower East Side of Manhattan) more than once a day on average. I've calculated that I put well over 1,500 miles on the old velocoped since I moved out here a year ago.

My trip there takes me down Nassau Ave in Greenpoint and then against traffic on Berry through Williamsburg. The return leg carries me through the chic Bedford Ave strip and back to Nassau after a trip past McCaren Park. If I'm hungry and feel like grease, I stop off at the PFC.

The bridge has very distinct features for a biker. On the Brooklyn side, there is a steep walkway that's enclosed with bars leading up off of Bedford Ave and onto the main span. When you ride down (coming from Manhattan to Brooklyn) you can get going real fast. Lately there have been police at the bottom of the shute, but I think it's more to deter grafitti than anything else.

After you proj up the shute, there's a nice gentle arc over the main bridge span, which ends in a little jag and a stairway on the other side. After those stairs, you ride down a long sloping footpath made of wooden planks until you finally hit another set of stairs that take you to ground level, right across from an auxilliary police station next to the HUD projects on the LES.

Often I see interesting things or think interesting thoughts while on my way across. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I sing. Once I crashed. Another time I saw a man being mugged. There's always a good view (midtown, fi-di, naval yard, etc) and interesting grafitti. I like to take notes on what occurs on these rides.

A movie of the most harrowing part of the trip. (offline for a bit) (quicktime required)

Read all the trip notes.

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Trips in Space and Time 8/02/03

Big Wheels in Berkeley
I scored a set of west-coast wheels today at the Ashby BART station flea market. It's a very tall schwinn road bike, black, deceptively heavy but smooth-riding. Thirty-five dollars to boot. I oiled and cleaned the works, dialed in the bakes and took it out for a shake-down cruise immediately. Nice riding on a beautiful saturday, realizing how out of shape I am as I wheezed my way though the hilly area behind the Berkeley campus.

After about an hour I started to get the swing of it. Made some minor mechanical adjustments (including a free wheel truing at the bike collective on Shattuck), drank a few liters of water and started finding my groove, cruising up and around and ending up with a beautiful view of the whole bay. The roads here are not kind to the speed inclined -- too many stop signs and crosswalks and lights -- but it was good to get out and proj for a while. This changes my summer dramatically.

...older trips...


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