As promised in my last post, I decided today was the day to circumnavigate Manhattan via bike. Of course, part of this was incentivized by the expansion of my Strava heatmap. The other part was to try a new route to generate some unique content for the blog. For the native New Yorkers, this one shouldn’t be terribly unique. Especially because in previous years, I believe the NYC Century went through the Harlem River Greenway. For those that haven’t ridden past there, or for the readers who aren’t in NYC, this should prove to be interesting.
I started out the morning with a Siggi’s blueberry yogurt – very good! (More protein than sugar) as well as a Thomas pumpkin spice bagel.
Since I woke up a little bit later than I originally planned, I decided to take the subway to 34th street, Hudson yards.
From here the plan was to ride down the WSG, look around the tip of Manhattan, come up the East River Bikeway, up 1st Avenue, then some array of streets up to the Harlem River Greenway. Followed by Inwood Park, and back down the WSG to 34th street Hudson yards.
I decided to keep going straight through on the greenway. I’m so glad they finally opened up the “detour” that had been in existence for years previously. I didn’t really want to deal with Battery Park City Esplanade and the numerous joggers / strollers when I was trying to complete my circuit in under 2.5 hours.
At the tip of Manhattan, they’ve now updated the greenway after the WSG “ends” approaching the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. According to Google Maps, they’re calling it the “Battery Bikeway.” It’s not as well developed as the WSG, and pedestrians do walk in the middle of the lane. However, it’s still better than trying to compete with taxis and traffic on Battery Place / State Street.
After looping around the tip of the island, the East River Bikeway (ERB) opens up and it’s easier to gain a bit of speed, especially on the smoother sections near the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge.
The part of the ERB leading up to to the Williamsburg Bridge, especially near Basketball City, left much to be desired – it was bumpy, disjointed, and narrow in spots. After passing this portion, I stayed straight ahead on the bikeway, instead of following the river promenade where the runners and pedestrians were. Around 14th street, the bikeway narrowed considerable and I had to reduce my speed accordingly. I stayed on the bikeway until approximately 37th street, where I merged over to 1st avenue to take it all the way to the end.
I will say, I was very impressed to see that construction has already begun on filling in the protected bike lane gap on 1st avenue (approaching the Queensboro Bridge). The iconic green protected bike lane paint was already there.
I didn’t get to take any pictures since traffic was moving pretty steadily, but I can also confirm that I saw construction crews filling in cement pedestrian islands at several intersections! Very good news for when I commute home from work via citibike over the Queensboro. The intersections, especially in the upper 50’s, were messy during rush hour. Now, if only 2nd avenue received the same treatment!
Now, the Harlem River Greenway was pretty nice for the most part. It was very quiet, saw probably three other cyclists, and a community service clean up crew.
According to NYC Parks: ‘The high bridge was built in the mid-19th century as part of the Croton Aqueduct System, which carried water from the Croton River in Westchester, down to Manhattan. When you cross the bridge, you will be walking above the aqueduct’s original pipes, which still lie beneath the walkway of the bridge. Since the rehabilitation began in 2012, the High Bridge was re-opened for public use in June of 2015.”
A bit further up the Harlem River Greenway, the foliage was in full force. I also rode past the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse, where Row New York is based. Having rowed in college, I’ve been curious to get back to it for some time, but getting up to the PJS Boathouse from Queens is not very feasible. There’s also a Row New York boathouse near Kew Gardens, but the rowing distance is very limited there by the small body of water.
After exiting the greenway, I had some trouble knowing exactly which way to turn. The ‘Ride with GPS’ route I looked at previously made it seem as if I should have turned right at that intersection to follow 10th avenue up. Instead, I accidentally took Dyckman Street (left). The reason was because it initially looked like the 10th avenue route was going to lead me to a highway. My spatial sense in this area wasn’t as fine tuned.
Based on the Google Street View, you can see the intersection that I mentioned above:
After navigating through Inwood, I finally made it to Inwood Hill Park where the view was excellent and the leaf covered path made for a more authentic experience.
After exiting Inwood Park, I followed the greenway and turned briefly onto Dyckman Street, before traversing the ADA compliant ramp structure to get back on track southward.
I’m super glad I got a chance to do this ride – it’s been something on the bucket list for awhile. Perfect timing too, the weather was phenomenal today and to make things even better, when I checked my phone after getting home, I got the below notification. Riding with 50mph+ crosswinds gusts doesn’t sound too appealing, haha.