Monday, February 6, 2017

I'm back and things have only gotten worse.

The George Washington Bridge:


Famous for Chris Christie's cockblocking antics, it is also the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge, carrying well over 100 million car- and truckloads of schmucks annually between New York and New Jersey.

Additionally, the George Washington Bridge carries all of New York City's Freds and tridorks out of the city every weekend, and if the United States of America were a giant Mad Fold-in you could easily connect the Golden Gate and George Washington Bridges without anybody noticing the difference:


Alas, there are two (2) major problems with the bike path on the George Washington Bridge.  The first problem is that it's a two-way bridge, which means that unfortunately all those Freds and tridorks eventually manage to find their way back to New York City instead of staying in Jersey where they belong.  The second problem is that the path is very narrow, yet even though the Port Authority is embarking upon a restructuring process they're only going to renovate it in a half-assed way.  So a movement is afoot to address this:

Complete the George Washington Bridge

Between 2017 and 2024, the Port Authority will rip out and restore the 1931-era paths on the George Washington Bridge as part of a $1.9 billion recabling and restoration project.

The GWB is the sole bike-able connector between North Jersey and New York City. Its 7’ paths are dangerously overcrowded at 3700 cyclists per day and that use is growing 10% per year.  If that sustains, we’ll see 9,000 cyclists per day by the time the paths re-open in 2024.

The PA should seize this once-in-a-lifespan opportunity to widen the paths to comply with national standards for a high use bicycle-pedestrian facility, but their plan is to restore them as sidewalks.  Which means sooner rather than later, cyclists will have to walk.

This will thwart efforts to establish a regional bike read for decades, along with durable enhancements to competitiveness, sustainability, resilience, tourism and public health.

Given that the George Washington Bridge is arguably the crown jewel of New York City-area recreational cycling, it would make sense for the Port Authority to grace it with a world-class bike path, which is why you can be absolutely sure that they won't.

In other words, should my children become road cyclists one day (which is not allowed under my roof, but once they grow up and move out what can I do?), it's comforting to know they'll be dodging wobbly tridorks on a ridiculously narrow path just like their old man once did.

(Though all of this is probably moot since Mexico won't pay for the wall so our shitbag president will probably start tearing down the bridge and using it for building materials any day now.)

Speaking of the George Washington Bridge, there was a time I rode over it multiple times a week, but now that I'm a recovering Fred I only venture over it once in awhile.  As such, I now notice changes in Fredly style and equipment much more acutely, thanks to the "boiling frog" effect.  Indeed, yesterday I found myself on the dreaded Route 9W corridor, and I noticed two (2) things:

1) Crabon downtubes have reached absolutely stupendous proportions which means you can see which brand of stupid plastic bike Fred overpaid for from a distance of at least a mile;

2) Thanks to the preponderance of Giro Air Attack helmets the transformation of Freds into giant rolling spermatozoa is officially complete:


Of course I realize I'm somewhat prejudiced by age and retrogrouchery, but I maintain that Freds look more ridiculous today than at any other point in human history, including this one:


This is partly why my George Washington Bridge rides are now few and far between, and why I prefer to scurry about on some of the less-traveled trails of the lower Hudson Valley where I can look ridiculous in private:


I was very wise to move to my current abode, for if I point my bike north I can ride for hours without subjecting myself to the indignity of pavement, yet if if I point my bike south I can still revel in all the indignities of urban cycling, such as people using bike lanes as loading zones:


People using bike lanes to wash cement trucks:


People using bike lanes to repair automobiles:


People using bike lanes to deliver corn chips covered in disgusting flavored Trump-colored chemical powder:


And of course people using bike lanes to just hang out in cars with tinted windows and Pennsylvania plates:


Pretty sure the way it works is when your New York State driver's license is revoked the state of Pennsylvania just sends you a license plate and vehicle registration automatically.

They should call it the "second chance" state.

After that you just work your way down the eastern seaboard, which is why the absolute worst New York City drivers have these warning signs on their cars:


If you see a car in New York City with one of these on it just save yourself the trouble and ride right into the nearest lamppost.

Anyway, I make sure to take plenty of urban forays, if only to hone my survival instincts.  For example, not too long ago I tested my bike-locking skills by leaving my Surly in Midtown for a few hours:


I wouldn't normally do this (the Ironic Orange Julius Bike is my "lock-up bike"), and I'd also have been better off using my heavy chain, but I didn't feel like carrying my heavy chain that day and sometimes you've got to live dangerously.

The main lock is a u-lock securing the bike Sheldon-style, then there's a second cable lock on the frame and the front wheel as well as a third (!) cable lock for the saddle:


Naturally when I tweeted this picture someone questioned the Sheldon technique and posted this:



Though I maintain if a thief wants the bike they're getting it and the amount of time they'd need to do so in either scenario is pretty much a wash.  If anything my real concern was that someone might steal my cockpit again:


(And yes, if someone wanted the front end of a Surly bad enough they could certainly have opened the S&S couplers, which would have been worth it for the post-theft photos alone.)

Fortunately nobody did, and I found the bicycle unmolested upon my return.  I also had a new neighbor:


That's one u-lock Sheldoning the rear wheel and another u-lock securing the front wheel to the pedal, which was a new one for me, and while I suppose it could be defeated with a few tools I suppose it's more than enough to discourage the opportunist.

Speaking of the indignity of urban cycling, the other day I was riding home under the elevated subway (yes, the New York City Subway is still the subway when it's above ground, just like an airplane is still an airplane after it lands, duh) when this car service driver blew by me:


Riding under subway tracks is a sub-discipline of New York City cycling that comes with its own unique set of challenges and frustrations.  Specifically, positioning yourself optimally in relation to the columns can be difficult, and while you may be tempted to stay to the right of them and ride next to the parked cars you're liable to get trapped in the "door zone" or blocked by a double-parker.

Anyway, this driver had no such compunctions, and was using the little strip of roadway between the parked cars and the columns to bypass sluggish traffic.  He was doing so at very high speed, and in fact clipped at least two or three rear-view mirrors in the process, which was kind of funny given his Vision Zero bumper sticker:


And yes, in case you're wondering, he's clearly racking up those fines:


This system only reflects camera and parking violations, by the way.  Moving violations is a whole other thing not reflected here.  But yes, clearly this is someone overqualified to be driving people around for a living.

Yet incredibly we still treat driver incompetence like harmless whimsy:
Dear Diary:

There I was, a middle-aged woman who had just sideswiped a New York City bus. The bus veered to the curb, and the passengers were discharged, shaking their heads.

Usually selfish drivers inconvenience entire busloads of people by double-parking or blocking bus stops, but sure, sometimes they go the extra mile by ending the bus ride altogether.

I waited for the driver to glare at me, but his face was impassive.

As I wended my way to his side, I burst into tears.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “It was all my fault, and I don’t know how it happened. Of course I’ll pay for all the damages.”

This is right out of the driver handbook which states quite clearly that in the event of a collision you should profess your total incompetence and attempt to throw money at the problem.

“There doesn’t seem to be any damage, ma’am,” he said, his gentle manner eliciting a fresh round of sobs. “Let’s be very thankful no one was hurt, and even the bus was undamaged, so please don’t cry. This happens all the time. I’m going to call my supervisor — that’s the protocol — and he’ll come inspect the bus and write a report. Why don’t you sit in your car while we wait?”

Yeah, he wasn't trying to make you feel better, he's probably happy because now he gets to claim disability for the rest of the year.

Here's a crazy thought: if you can't drive around without hitting a goddamn city bus then you shouldn't be allowed to drive at all.

Same thing goes for people who can't park or comprehend basic signage:

Act II

I notice that although the sign says one-hour parking, it’s from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. That won’t work for my 6 p.m. dinner date.

I have to get out of the spot, but the FedEx truck is still there. I try to back out, hit the curb, almost hit the truck and cannot get out. Another guy starts to direct me: Turn the wheel, up on the curb, straighten out. He gets me out of the space.

Thank you!

YOU CLEARLY CAN'T DRIVE.  Surrender your keys and license immediately.  And why the hell are you driving to a dinner date on the Upper West Side anyway?  If nothing else, you're liable to run into Ben Bowman and his Tire Iron of Justice.

I give up on Broadway and head to 104th Street. I find a spot right away, and then I see some other spots. This looks suspicious — is it a no-standing zone?

I get out of my car, looking for a sign. Yet another guy asks if I need something. When I explain that I don’t know whether I can park there, he says he’ll find out.

He runs down the street, looks at the sign and runs back.

“It’s fine, lady,” he says.

Thank you, New York!

You know how to tell if it's a no-standing zone?  Look for a fucking sign that says "no standing."  As someone who drives a car sometimes I have absolutely no patience for other drivers who can't interpret signage.  I've often been stopped while walking by drivers who can't figure out the street signs and who ask me, "Am I allowed to park here?"  You might as well ask me to help you tie your shoes or wipe your ass for you.  Figure it out your damn self.  Not only do you create traffic, take up space, and occasionally hit buses, but you can't even be bothered to read a goddamn sign before you take up all that public space?

Cyclists get a lot of crap for being smug but there is absolutely no lazier or more self-entitled creature than a New York City driver.

Speaking of which, remember John Cassidy's classic New Yorker anti-bike lane story?  Well he's doing an AMA today:

Someone should ask him if he's still got that Jaguar.

81 comments:

Ted K. said...

TWO KINDS OF TECHNOLOGY

207. An argument likely to be raised against our proposed revolution is that it is bound to fail, because (it is claimed) throughout history technology has always progressed, never regressed, hence technological regression is impossible. But this claim is false.

Anonymous said...

That scroll left me winded. Second.

Very Slim Pickens said...

Damn, Read the post. Could have been #1 on Podium. "instead of staying in Jersey where they belong". Sound like something The Donald would say.

N/A said...

Welcome back, dude.

N/A said...

I'm a little surprised you don't have a chain or something on your Cambium, Wildcat. Or at least go old-school and have a bag over it. I guess Old Man Brooks keeps you flush in 'em, though.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together said...

"Cheaters Never Prosper" Wow, have The Donald and The New England Patriots ever turned that one on it's head.

BikeSnobNYC said...

N/A,

I don't typically leave that bike locked up in the city so don't want to theft-proof it, and I think the cable lock I used for it would be a lot harder to open than a little piece of bike chain anyway.

--Wildcat Etc.

Fourhourerection said...

'Sup? And it really is that easy to get disability if yer Yoonyun. #noneofmybusiness

Mo B Dick said...

Snow day! Top tennis!

Grump said...

Snobby, you should claim that the GW carries well over 100 million car- and truckloads of schmucks daily, and if anyone disagrees, they are purveying "Fake News".

N/A said...

Ah, I didn't notice the cable looping through the seat rails. Yeah, I also do it that way when I have to lock up a bike with a nice saddle on it.

Elizabeth said...

The "Complete George" stuff requires several alternative facts to hang together. Let me summarize the problems with the arguments here. This is from someone who used to live in NJ (beyond the Palisades) and commute into NYC by (highly illegal, menace-to-society) electric bike.

Unlike most infrastructure, peak bike traffic on GWB is dominated by Fredding from NYC to Nyack. When people talk about whatever traffic numbers are growing, they mean Fred traffic on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Should hard-earned toll dollars be used to make Fredding easier and more enjoyable for maybe 50 days/yr? Hey, it might still be a better use of funds than the other crazy PA projects being tossed around recently. But it's not the same as improving rush-hour routes.

The GWB is used for non-Fred commuting from NJ too; but current GWB capacity is more than adequate for that use. Until/unless e-bikes become widespread, realistic non-Fred commuting is limited by total population on top of the Palisades. Which is NOT growing at 10%/yr.

Unlike what the detractors might say, the PA plan for GWB DOES improve capacity, in two important ways: (1) it eliminates the capacity-limiting hairpin turn on the NY-side ramp. (b) it eliminates all raps on the North side. The result is a bridge with more than double the capacity of the current bridge.

Not to mention that structural engineers are not keen on adding the cantilevered sections the Fred path would require, or thinking through how it might compromise the integrity of a bridge that has otherwise worked well for 80 years.

But there's more... the State of NY is ALSO opening up a new Fredding route to Nyack with the new TZB, which previously did not accommodate bikes. Being a modern bridge, the TZB will have more capacity than the new-and-improved GWB. I'm sure some Freds can explain why the TZB is crap, and Freds must always continue use the GWB and Alpine Drive. But hey... it's another bridge. And one I hope to use when I need to get to Rockland County. Let's work on getting safe routes between the South County Trailway and the new TZB.

Finally, too many Freds come across as self-entitled, really no better than NYC drivers. The implication seems to be that any delay or slow-down across the GWB is unacceptable --- even as motorists are used to waiting 40 minutes for the privilege of paying $15 to get across the bridge. But if bikers have to slow down across a friggin' 1-mile bridge... well, PA needs to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to fix THAT problem. They've forgotten that the purpose of the bridge is to cross the Hudson; not a raceway. So what if it takes you a couple minutes longer? That attitude is not going to gain much sympathy.

[Actually... I've had two violent interactions with entitled Freds crossing the GWB. They really can be worse than NYC drivers. I've learned to look for the plastic frame and avoid any friendly gestures as I pass them on my e-bike. Winter is such a relief for my day-to-day commute, when Freds migrate to their stationary bikes]

N/A said...

If the tri-dorks were worth a damn, they'd swim across the river and then run to the final leg of their trip.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

The first 13 comments are all fake news. SCROTUS!

STX said...

It looks to me like your neighbor *tried* to Sheldon-lock his bike, but made a classic mistake and just locked the spokes and not the rim.

cdinvb said...

Oh man. I live in Florida. And I tell you what that Sunshine tag and a Buick is the deadly combination. Sheep are in a flock. Whales in a pod. Elderly Buick drivers in a meander.

Diah Betty S said...

We ain't gots none of ya skinny liberals on bikes in Floriduh, sah dunt blame us when we run you over if you ride in fronna KFC. Dunt get between me and ma breakfast buckets.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Elizabeth,

But there's more... the State of NY is ALSO opening up a new Fredding route to Nyack with the new TZB, which previously did not accommodate bikes. Being a modern bridge, the TZB will have more capacity than the new-and-improved GWB. I'm sure some Freds can explain why the TZB is crap, and Freds must always continue use the GWB and Alpine Drive. But hey... it's another bridge. And one I hope to use when I need to get to Rockland County. Let's work on getting safe routes between the South County Trailway and the new TZB.

The Tappan Zee and the GWB are nowhere near each other, it's not like one's an alternative for the other. I think the fact that Freds comprise the bulk of non-motorized traffic on the GWB just goes to show how much it needs a path that's as accommodating and inviting as possible so non-Freds feel more comfortable taking advantage of the bridge.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

dnk said...

He who fucks nuns will later join the church

Chazu said...

Old-timey Fred is flexing' his calf muscle for the camera.

NYC sidewalk gum....mmmmm.

Fourhourerection said...

That includes the "new" Buicks that aren't supposed to look like Buicks. They aren't fooling me.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

The Freds leave New York via the GWB, and while they arrive in NJ that is not their destination, so please don't ask us to keep them. The only part of NJ 99.9999% of them ride is the Scranus (River Road and 9W) between Manhattan and Rockland County, NY, e.g. Piermont, Nyack, Bear Mountain, etc. Once the TZB replacement opens, Freds will be able to perform a hemorrhoidal circumnavigational loop over both crossings and both sides of the Hudson. Some of the bliss found in riding North from the Bronx to Westchester will be lost then.

It would be nice if the Port Authority would keep both the North and South side pathways of the GWB permanently open. And since the North pathway has steps, make that the one for pedestrians.

Every time I ride a bike across the GWB, I see Freds who need to pass other cyclists and pedestrians, Fred Bros riding two abreast and bullshitting who can't/won't single up for oncoming traffic, and idiots trying to set new PR's as they navigate around the corners of the bridge's towers.

Anonymous said...

I learned this weekend that Freds can get carpel tunnel from working the gears on their di2 electronic shifters, as the cute carbon buttons apparently only shift one gear at a time. Very serious!

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

I think the new Tappan Zee will have bikeable lanes. That will just mean eddies of Freddies up your way, Snob ...


vsk

nicole said...

welcome back :)

Elizabeth said...

> The Tappan Zee and the GWB are nowhere near each other, it's not like one's an alternative for the other.

They both go to Nyack. I think back-and-forth Fredding trips to Nyack will turn into around-the-Hudson trips, which go outbound on one bridge and inbound on the other. As long as some Freds go clockwise while others go counter-clockwise, Fred traffic on the GWB will be immediately cut in half.

A small portion of us who actually NEED to get to Rockland County on a bike will also abandon the GWB. From my current perch in the evil suburban wasteland of Westchester County (with my evil e-bike), it's 20 miles to where I need to go in Rockland County by TZB vs. 25 by GWB; and the bike trails are far better east of the Hudson as well. Plus, I can hop a 12-minute train to White Plains if I like for $3, cutting another 20 minutes off the trip. Once the TZB opens, I will only use the GWB for the occasional trip to Fort Lee.

> I think the fact that Freds comprise the bulk of non-motorized traffic on the GWB just goes to show how much it needs a path that's as accommodating and inviting as possible so non-Freds feel more comfortable taking advantage of the bridge.

Good point. Back to my Jersey days, I would usually avoid the GWB on weekends. Not only was it overrun by Freds and once-a-year bikers and joggers who just go back and forth without actually crossing... it's also the route I took the other 5 days of the week. Once I've commuted 150 miles during the week, there is no desire to go anywhere "for fun" on the weekend. But now and then the great cultural institutions of NYC would call, and I found myself salmoning against Fred traffic both ways on the GWB --- which tends to get a lot of westbound traffic on Saturday morning and eastbound traffic Saturday evening.

Unfortunately, no amount of path widening will achieve the goal of Making the GWB Safe for People Not Named Fred. Widening will just encourage more riding 2+ abreast, more Strava trials, more speed. Maybe a 10mph speed limit with speed humps to enforce it would work. (The towers currently serve this purpose; but they would no longer be an impediment if a cantilevered bike path were built). Or maybe open both sides on weekends: bikes on path, Fred bikes on the other.

CommieCanuck said...

So, unclear Snob, will you wipe my ass for me?

George Washington didn't take no bridge when it mattered, he schlepped his ass on a rowboat.
If you want to de-Fred the GWB, put some gravel down on the lanes...they will stop in their Colnagos like deer in the headlights when they realize they have the entirely wrong bikes for that bridge.

Rapha Kramden said...

Somebody should ask John Cassidy if he finally managed to find his dick, what with all that fumbling in his pants.

Cat 404 E-racer said...

" I maintain that Freds look more ridiculous today than at any other point in human history, including this one:"

He wouldn't look so rediculous if he was standing next to the upcoming Buddnitz crabon Penney Farthing

BikeSnobNYC said...

Elizabeth,

As far as people riding from the city, I'm sure plenty of people will go over the GWB and return via Tappan Zee and vice-versa, but it definitely won't cut it in half. Firstly, plenty of people riding from the city turn around before Nyack. Secondly, the bike connection between Manhattan and the GWB is pretty much seamless, whereas the route through the Bronx to Westchester is a little more convoluted. (Unless and until the extend the Hudson River Greenway, which won't be for a long time if at all.) So lots and lots of riders will continue to ride from NYC over the GWB to River Road, Piermont and turn around as usual.

As for people who commute between Westchester to Rockland via GWB, I'm guessing that's a very tiny amount of people--though it's great that with the new Tappan Zee that could actually become a viable option for people.

And a wider bike path that eliminates the blind turns around the towers would make a huge difference in making the GWB more accessible to non-Freds. It's a terrible set-up and ridiculous not to correct it.

--Wildcat Etc.

BikeSnobNYC said...

*commute BY BIKE between Westchester and rockland that is

BeerDrivenCyclist said...

32rd?

Freddy Murcks said...

I'm as fond of foam hats as any recovering neo-Fred, but I can't quite figure out the appeal of the Giro Air Attack. It looks uncommonly dorky and it looks like it would be really hot due to the relative lack of vent holes. Can someone please explain in a way that doesn't use buzz words or marketing jargon?

CommieCanuck said...

He wouldn't look so rediculous if he was standing next to the upcoming Buddnitz crabon Penney Farthing

Oo..I hear that one has dick breaks. I threw my non-dick breaks PF in the trash last week.

dop said...

"Let's Work Getting Safe Routes Between the TZB and the South County Trailway"

I have never encountered a pedestrian on the sidewalks of Rt 119.

Just don't get killed on Rt 9, or that last quarter mile of 119 after the sidewalk ends.


Captcha: Select all images with bicycles

BikeSnobNYC said...

dop,

Does Westchester have any decent east-west bike routes? Cause I haven't found any.

--Wildcat Etc.

Joe said...

Who is the audience for a John Cassidy AMA?

Elizabeth said...

> Just don't get killed on Rt 9, or that last quarter mile of 119 after the sidewalk ends.

Route 119 is only necessary between the Saw Mill and Benedict Ave. Then take Prospect Ave. down to Broadway. Not sure where the TZB entrance will be or what changes might be made to Broadway for it; but I believe it will be north of I-287. In any case, this is where we need to be advocating... for a decent connection to the TZB.

Elizabeth said...

> Does Westchester have any decent east-west bike routes? Cause I haven't found any.

Westchester and the Bronx are full of deeply carved glacial valleys, especially west of the Bronx River. Kind of makes east-west routes of any type a challenge.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Elizabeth,

There are east-west bike routes in the Bronx. As far as I know there are none in Westchester. I was asking if this is the case. Because there are in fact east-west roads that are not overly challenging topographically. (Just traffic-ally.)

--Wildcat Etc.

1904 Cadardi said...

Why is double parking more than twice the fine of speeding in a school zone? Clearly someone in power isn't thinking about the children.

Chazu said...

Why leave NYC at all? Just go full Woody Allen, except for the anti-bike stuff. And leave the pedophilia out of the picture, too. But otherwise, just go full Woody Allen.

No wait. Just go full John Updike.

"The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.”
― John Updike

BikeSnobNYC said...

1904,

I think the max camera violation fine is $50.

--Wildcat Etc.

Chazu said...

“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. Particularly when one can't see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window - no, I don't feel how small I am - but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.”
― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

“New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous.
But there is one thing about it - once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.”
― John Steinbeck, America and Americans and Selected Nonfiction

Chazu said...

Last one, and this is relevant even if untrue.

“Of course, in Los Angeles, everything is based on driving, even the killings. In New York, most people don't have cars, so if you want to kill a person, you have to take the subway to their house. And sometimes on the way, the train is delayed and you get impatient, so you have to kill someone on the subway. That's why there are so many subway murders; no one has a car.”
― George Carlin, Brain Droppings

dancesonpedals said...

WCRM

Forget bikes, westchester has lousy east-west routes for cars (287 is a parking lot, 119 is strip mall city with dozens of lights. East of the saw mill it's a death trap.

My routes to the east jog north & south to connect semi passable roads.(Bedford road through pleasantville to 141 south to church street/ bear ridge to 120 over to Connecticut)

Elizabeth said...

> There are east-west bike routes in the Bronx. As far as I know there are none in Westchester. I was asking if this is the case.

Not sure what you mean by a "bike route:" one that is possible to take, or pleasant to take, or easy to take? Look at a topo map of Westchester (Google Terrain) to see what I mean about the hills, west of the Bronx River. The same principle applies in the Bronx and upper Manhattan, but somewhat subdued (except for Morningside Park and friends heading north, which are impenetrable to roads).

Because of the prevailing and pronounced North-South ridges, there are very few East-West routes in Westchester (west of the Bronx River). From the Bronx Line to I-287, there is only the Cross County Parkway, I-287, and a couple of smaller, hilly roads. Both the Cross County and I-287 are "highly engineered", and include a number of dramatic overpasses, especially the one going over the Bronx River. Life is very much based on north-south routes.

East of the Bronx River, Westchester is somewhat flatter, but only somewhat --- actually, more like a gentle slope into Long Island Sound. The main roads there tend to run parallel to the coastline, with smaller roads running perpendicular to the coastline, and going uphill as they get away from the coast. This dynamic continues into CT, where there are essentially zero ways to bicycle along Long Island Sound, and only three roads (Route 1, I-95 and the Merritt Parkway)

This is life after an ice sheet. If you don't like it, go to Brooklyn/Queens/Long Island (a giant glacial moraine), or anywhere south of NYC, like say, New Jersey --- where the glaciers never reached and it's a lot flatter.

wishiwasmerckx said...

You guys do realize that you are boring the shit out of the rest of us who do not have occasion to traverse the headlands north of NYC, right?

Greenbelt said...

I think the reckless car service driver with the vision zero fake news proclamation must have clipped side view (not rear view) mirrors?

Or have I just been car deficient for so long that I don't know the new tech stuff?

Matt H said...

btw, that bit of Broadway in Kingsbridge/Marble Hill where the 1 train is elevated above the roadway. Hate hate hate hate it. I've never actually been hit by a car while riding, but I had my two closest calls both in that stretch there. Both cases it was a driver lined up in the main traffic lane who got impatient and decided he would stomp on the gas and swerve into the service lane area outside the supports instead, without looking, signaling, or easing into the maneuver in the slightest.

I never ride it anymore. If coming from the north, I always use Manhattan College Parkway to connect to Tibbets Ave and ride south from there. At 230th, you then use Marble Hill Ave to get to Terrace View Ave, which then deposits you on Broadway at 225th. From the south it's pretty much the same, but you just turn from the sidewalk on 225th directly to Marble Hill Ave northbound.

wishiwasmerckx said...

I suggest you take 6 1/2 Ave from 51st to 57th instead.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Elizabeth,

I can assure you I'm intimately familiar with the geology and topography of the New York City metropolitan area.

I was just wondering if Westchester had any actual signed bike routes at all, specifically east-west. Not flat necessarily, but reasonably direct with room for both cars and bikes. For example seems like 119 could be one if the county (or state?) wanted it to be, which presumably they don't. (Hence DOP riding on the sidewalk, which I've done there as well.) Similarly, I often ride from the South County over to Sprain Ridge Park. Despite the presence of a popular mountain bike destination less than a mile from a popular bike path there seems to be no effort to encourage or even suggest the possibility of cycling between them. (I do it anyway, it's pretty easy, though again you find yourself on the sidewalk.)

Perhaps I should have put it this way: are there any official efforts on the part of Westchester County, present or future, to encourage traveling between its many towns and parks by bicycle for either transport or recreation? Seems like it has a lot of untapped potential in that regard, though perhaps people there aren't interested.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

BikeSnobNYC said...

Matt H,

Absolutely, it's terrible. I use pretty much the route you describe unless: 1) I have an errand to run on Broadway or 2) I'm in a hurry.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

What is the best all-season, all-around tire for riding on New York bridge decks? And should I run a narrow set of bars,no wider than my q-factor, including shoe width? Please advise.

Ben Hur said...

CC makes a valid point "George Washington didn't take no bridge when it mattered, he schlepped his ass on a rowboat."

The bridge should become bikes and trucks only, all sharing lanes, and a flotilla of thousands of row boats should ferry pedestrians back and forth. If Commodore Farragut's (damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, it's happy hour at the yacht club) brain idled great, great (but not so great) nephew Commodore Christie Kreme (send torpedoes, there's a court room ahead) tries to impede river traffic, pedestrians can order "Ramming Speed".

Ben Hur said...

Captcha very clearly showed four street signs, I only selected three and hit enter. I thought it would bomb me out, but it took it. These foreign made Captcha's are the worst. When The Donald brings Captcha Manufacturing back to America, Captcha's will be great again.

Frickus Rungus said...

On my way home tonight I'm going to use the tappin-ze-keg route, which does involve a bridge, but it doesn't resemble either the Golden Gate or the George Washington bridges, sooooo, yeah...
Pro tip: if you have let most of the air out of your tires to achieve optimal winter traction, and then the snow melts, don't ride like a meathead until you put some air back back in the tires.
Now, where did I put the air that I took out...

Tubeless and Air Less said...

A FB (I think it was on FB) ad came up showing a "Revolutionary New Tubeless Bicycle Tire". No tube or air inside, instead the rigid tire has oval shaped holes in it (think Swiss Cheese). Have no idea how much they weigh.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 6:05pm,

Can't answer without knowing altitude of bridge and tide at time of crossing.

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

For ***** sake 'mericans "THE" Donald is a duck, turd in chief is just 'The" turd! how could you have been so dumb as to get lumbered with such a jerk? Makes you all look pretty dumb.

Kort.

Skidmark said...

Tubleless and Air Less 6:23pm,
All oval holes weigh the same.

N/A said...

Kort, 7:11, no you are.

No Kidding said...

So, the "Sheldon brown locking method potential flaw" video. Sheldon himself pointed this out, and also pointed out the thief would destroy a significant portion of the bikes value, and would not be able to quickly get away nor have a salable commodity until the rear wheel was replaced.

Spokey said...


of course i know about the boiling frog but clickedied on the link anywho. the science was pretty interesting.

Dave said...

I'm going to require all my writing students to copy down and study your first sentence today. Or I would, if I taught a writing class.

It would be great if they gave the GW a bike path like the one on the new Wilson Bridge crossing the Potomac down here in the Swamp Which Will Never Be Drained. It really is top of the line. And there's a shining new casino right there on the Maryland side, if your ill-gotten gelt is slowing you down as you ride.

Elizabeth said...

> Perhaps I should have put it this way: are there any official efforts on the part of Westchester County

See here: http://planning.westchestergov.com/initiatives/westchester-trails/road-corridor-routes

Note that Route 119 is on that list. But action is not exactly swift on any of these "plans."

> I was just wondering if Westchester had any actual signed bike routes at all

There's a signed route (East Coast Greenway) taking you from Pelham Bay Park to downtown New Rochelle. From there, it follows a reasonable route along the shoreline to Greenwich and beyond.

I won't count the South County and Bronx River trails as "signed" bike routes because... they aren't signed! Unlike the experience driving on any normal road in America, If you don't know where you are on them, there are no signs to help you out.

> Similarly, I often ride from the South County over to Sprain Ridge Park. Despite the presence of a popular mountain bike destination less than a mile from a popular bike path there seems to be no effort to encourage or even suggest the possibility of cycling between them.

Have you tried this route...? South County Trailway --> Austin Ave East --> Sprain Rd North --> Jackson Rd E. It would be nice if they fixed the fence at Austin Ave to allow bikes and peds through.

In NYC biking uniformly sucks unless someone has put some thought into it and built bike facilities. In the burbs, many roads are suitable for biking even without much trying. Of course, accidental bike routes do no always make a useful bike network. Although I can think of plenty of places for improvement, I'm still able to get safely to everywhere I want to go --- usually a lot faster than I'd be going in Brooklyn.

> btw, that bit of Broadway in Kingsbridge/Marble Hill where the 1 train is elevated above the roadway.

I avoid it too, on my way to Van Cortland Park (gateway to Westchester County, especially if they would pave it). But rather than Tibbett's Ave, I prefer 225th St. to Bailey Ave. Advantages over Tibbetts Ave: (a) Faster while still being relatively chill, and (b) avoids the I-87 interchange at 242, which can be dangerous and difficult to cross. Instead, I head into the park directly from Bailey Ave.

Elizabeth said...

> had any actual signed bike routes at all, specifically east-west. Not flat necessarily, but reasonably direct with room for both cars and bikes.

There aren't that many East-West routes, period.

* Palmer Rd. got sharrows this year. I don't mind it going up the hill; but going down is the scariest 1 mile on my entire commute.

* Tuckahoe Rd. should be avoided.

* Executive Blvd is a good way to get down to the river.

* I believe I've done Ardsley / Ashford Rd.

* East of the Bronx River, I've been able to find my way through decent neighborhood streets wherever I need to go around White Plains. But they are totally unmarked. Bryant Ave is decent.

* Over toward Mamaroneck, Quaker Ridge Rd and Fenimore St. are OK. Again, unmarked.

* parts of the I-287 access road may be suitable for biking between White Plains and Port Chester. But then again, so are the surface routes in that area north of I-287.




dop said...

Riding down Tibbet's has the advantage of "The Little Kitchen". Stop at the corner of 230th. Refuel on a coffee & muffin with the kids from JFK High.

dop said...

The Little Kitchen

tubasti said...

That was a very professional bus driver. He deserves more respect than that.

Matt H said...

Route 129 from Croton Point to 118 to 100 into Somers is a beautiful east<->west route. Some decent options to connect into Katonah or Mt Kisco too. :)

Actually, use Batten Road to flatten out the hill a bit so as not to go partly down into and then back out of Croton Gorge.

Very different part of Westchester, though.

Elizabeth said...

> Riding down Tibbet's has the advantage of "The Little Kitchen"

Why would I want to stop on my commute home?

dancesonpedals said...

A commute from westchester to nyc ... halfway point..sugar rush

Croaknot said...

No frogs were hurt during the writing of this blog.

Some guy from upstate said...

If you look carefully you see it is not sheldonesque at all, the lock is around the chain stays, so it both protects the rear wheel and locks the frame if the wheel is hacksawed.

thegock said...


SHIT BAG!

Anonymous said...

"It would be great if they gave the GW a bike path like the one on the new Wilson Bridge crossing the Potomac..."

I worked on that project, including the bike path on the Maryland side.

It is a great bike path. It also cost a great amount of money.

For new bridges like the Wilson and the Tappan Zee the cost is proportional to the width. The motor vehicle lanes plus shoulders on the Wilson bridge add up to 128'+/-. Adding the 16' wide path increased costs by 13%+/-, something like $100,000,000. The new Tappan Zee bridge is longer and higher and is costing $3.9 Billion; the bike path added something like $250,000,000.

Think of all the bike infrastructure you can build on the ground for $350,000,000. Something like 8 times ALL the bike lanes in NYC.



Unknown said...

"Sheldoning" Love the new verb!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bad boy of the north said...

don't forget rout 117 from Katonah to Sleepy Hollow/Briarcliff Manor.a n/s and e/w thoroughfare.

bad boy of the north said...

meant,route..oopsie!