I ride. Whether I need to or not.
This acute case of ridingitis manifested itself into a book some time ago. Called Where To Bike New York City (the Australian publisher felt that Americans were more likely to search online for “bike” than “ride”), it detailed 58 rides, most within the five boroughs. Some beyond–routes from the George Washington Bridge into the wilds of northern New Jersey.
I’m in the midst of converting the book’s rides into PDF and GPX files so folks can download them into their bike computers or mobile devices. Print is dead, right? I’ve posted about half of the book’s rides thusfar and hope to have the rest up within a week or so. You can find the rides here.
The idea is that people can purchase individual rides or just the rides they want rather than having to buy an entire book. (I’m not chasing advertisers for JRA; this is another possibility) Each ride is split into two components; a PDF file and a GPX file. The PDF has intelligence and a turn sheet while the GPX is to view on your phone or bike computer; it will tell you went to turn and onto what road. As much as I like paper and maps, this setup could prove more practical.
While the book mostly focused on shorter rides within the five boroughs, I’ve been riding long since way before the book was an idea. Spent lots of time getting lost and then figuring out my way home. Maybe it’s about adventure, maybe it’s about preventing boredom; regardless, I’m not one to roll up 9W to Nyack, turn around and roll back down 9W home. Loops and detours are more interesting.
Now that the Mario Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge bike path is open, more folks seem interested in riding up the west bank of the Hudson to Nyack, crossing the bridge and exploring Westchester. But then they are stuck; no idea where to go.
I can help with that. I’ve been exploring Westchester for years. I’ve created four routes that will help you explore Westchester without getting lost. When you purchase a ride, you get two files, a PDF file with information like turns and terrain, a GPX file with a route that you can view on your mobile phone or push to a GPX-enabled bike computer.
If you’re not to technologically comfortable, I explain how this tech works here.
The Westchester Rides are as follows:
W04 Tarrytown to the Upper West Side. This is the least-trafficky way back to Manhattan from the TZB. It’s a bit over 29 miles, with over two-thirds of it on paved, off-street bike paths. There’s 1,400’ of climbing, but the biggest hills come at the start and the end.
W03 The Tarrytown Rockefeller Loop. This is for people who want to do a simple loop in Westchester before heading back over the TZB home. It’s a bit over 16 miles, with nearly 1500’ of climbing.
W02 Trailway Up, Inland Home. This is for people who want to go straight up from the city into the heart of Westchester and then head east before going south to return back to the city. The ride starts and finishes in Harlem, is 54 miles long and takes in 2,605’ of climbing.
W01 Trailway Up, Water Down. This is a version of the first route I mastered. It heads north to Pleasantville, takes in a loop east of Tarrytown and then tacks along the Hudson much of the way back. The ride starts and finishes in Harlem, is 56 miles long and takes in 3,187’ of climbing.
I’m using the mark of my Just Riding Along website for these rides, as the JRA rides are different than the WTBNYC rides. Generally, they’re a good bit longer, and the point of the ride is time on the bike, so I’m not recommending side trips or suggesting how you can get to the start. Yes, there are often places to stop in the middle, but there’s joy to be had pedaling for hours; good eats can always be found at or near home.
I suggest downloading all four rides. For one thing, you get a price break. More importantly, it helps give context, kind of in the way that a paper map provides context. One of my frustrations with downloading routes in areas I’m not familiar with is that I feel like I’m in a trench and can’t see what’s on either side of me, creating a little anxiety if I get off track. By having these different rides, you can see where you are both on the route and relative to other rides. The world is a bit more complete that way. By having multiple rides, you can also explore the area and keep riding fresh.