Getting Out Again
With group gatherings starting to open up in the city and I am still resting my foot from plantar facittis, I started looking into some other groups, outside my running club PPTC, which I was so dependent on for events and socializing.
I reached out to some other running club members, who I saw biking on Strava, and asked to join in on their adventures.
One of my running friends, who I asked, Mark, who I've know for about 2-3 years, introduced me to the offerings of the 5 Boro Bike Club. I had heard of them before, but didn't have time in the past to mix it in with running. Mark also leads some rides for the group and has led some runs for PPTC too.
I asked Mark a little over a month ago, but the city was still opening up and had restrictions on group gatherings, to about 10 people. The 5BBC was also just figuring out how to organize their events.
Then, I was on one of my Harriman State Park camping trips, when Mary, part of that group, told me about a bike ride she was doing with 5BBC. I mentioned Mark's name and she happened to be going on the next organized ride he was leading.
When I got home that evening, I paid the $25 yearly membership fee, hoping to get into Mark's ride. It was already full and I didn't get off the waiting list. I thought knowing Mark, he could sneak me into the ride...but no special treatment for me...haha.
So when I saw this event open up, I was quick to sign up, even though it had already filled up. Being on the waiting list again, for a couple of weeks, I was happy to be accepted, a couple days before (I had to turn down/cancel a couple beach invites for the day too).
Weirdest Monuments Tour
Part of the rides description is:
Perfect for weirdos, geeks, trench coat in summer types and gawkers, this ride was made just for you. We’ll visit some of New York City’s strangest, scratch your head monuments, statues, sculptures and memorials that will have you asking yourself “Did I just see what I think I saw?” Join us for this Happy Face (??) Ride through parts of Brooklyn (near Prospect Park) to various parts of Manhattan.
We met at Grand Army Plaza, at the Prospect Park entrance. There were 10 of us, plus 2 guides.
The guides were older gentleman...probably retired. They gave us a great detailed introduction, cracked some jokes and made sure our bikes were in working order for the advertised 30 miles ahead of us.
A couple of the sites were in Brooklyn.
The first was the fountain at Grand Army Plaza.
Another within the Jay Street Metro Tech coutyard, of an alligator coming out of the sewer and grabbing a baby, whose head was really a money bag.
Then we made our way over the Brooklyn Bridge.
We first road down to Battery Park, and saw a few statues there. The Korean war memorial, the Fort, the Immigrants statue and the merchant marines.
Then we road along the west side highway and stopped in the Tribeca area to checkout a bunch of sculptures, by the same guy who did the alligator and baby. He was big into depicting capitalism as evil and had a lot of sculptures of pennies. The site was in a children's playground and there were a couple of kids playing on them.
From Tribeca, we road up to 58th street, to make our way to Central Park. We first stopped at a deli, to pick up some lunch. I ordered a chicken cutlet sandwich...which was prepared rather quickly.
Before entering Central Park, on the SE entrance, there was a temporary installation of horse sculptures by a French artist.
In Central Park, we stopped for lunch by 72nd street at a concrete pond. I was so hungry at this point. I ate half my sandwich and started eating the second half, but had to stop, because the group was continuing on.
We checked out the Alice in Wonderland sculpture.
After a bathroom break, we saw a sundial, a top the middle of a curved seating area, with Latin words scrolled across. Each Spring and Fall Equinox, the dial light casts directly down the middle!
From there, we headed to the United Nations, to check out a double headed dragon behind the fence. The dragons represented the U.N.'s attempt to prevent another atomic bomb attack.
We also checked out a life size scupture of an elephant, also behind the U.N. fence.
Our last site was at NYU Langone's Children's hospital. This was the only monument I ever saw before this tour, which was a giant dalmation, balancing the frame of a real NYC taxi cab on it's nose!
Back To Brooklyn
From the UN, we road back to Brooklyn, taking the east river bike path, then over the Manhattan bridge.
Overall, the tour was a lot of fun. The 2 guides were well prepared and had funny interactions between each other...like an old time comedic duo! In total, we rode 26 miles, plus the 3 it took me to get to and from home and the meeting spot. I then added a couple more miles to get in 30+ for the day.
Definitely recommend and look forward to other rides with the group.
View ride on strava https://www.strava.com/activities/3918309600