East Coast Bike Tour Day 63 – 65

Day 63 – Princeton, NJ to Brooklyn, NY

Since I splurged on a hotel, I was excited for the breakfast and was going to be a rebel and go twice.

I had set my alarm for right before 6am so I could get down early, eat, and then go back and sleep a little more before grabbing some food again when I was leaving.

Walked downstairs, saw the buffet and my eyes lit up! There was eggs and bacon and pancakes and hash browns and fresh fruit and the list goes on. My stomach was growling, and I was excited for all this food!

No one else was in the room so I just about sprinted to grab a plate to load it up.

A lady came out of nowhere and asked for my room number. So I gave it to her and she said they don’t have complimentary breakfast at any DoubleTree hotels, and my room didn’t come with breakfast.

Nooooo! I asked how much the buffet costs and she told me $18! My head sunk and I walked back up to my room.

That’s my number one thing when booking a hotel is making sure they have a complimentary breakfast and I failed. It was one of those Priceline deals where you pay $70 and they pick between 3 hotels for you. I learned my lesson there!

On my way out of the hotel I asked the front desk for some cookies for the road. Luckily the cookies are complimentary.. I have now had a total of 4 cookies from them and they came in handy on my ride today.

Lincoln Park as I entered into Jersey City

My buddy Doug from back home hooked me up with an old college friend for tonight’s stay. The destination for today is Brooklyn!

Riding was a little rough today. I take that back, the roads were super bumpy and parts of the route were absolutely terrible (exaggerating – really only one part was terrible).

This was the best riding spot. Hard to take pictures on bad roads..

The New Jersey roads were all sorts of bumpy which is not fun on a fully loaded touring bike. You feel bad for your bike every time you bounce up and down and the paniers clap against the racks. You’re stuck between going slow over the bumpy sections with cars wizzing by you or trying to go fast and just letting your bike, butt and hands take the force the bumps cause. I would rather be on gravel road than a lumpy asphalt road.

The worst part, though, was getting over the bridge to Jersey City. One section I was “riding” between the guard rail of the highway and a large concrete divider. On top of that little “path” being hardly wide enough for my fat rear end, there were bushes protruding across it and there was loads of trash and broken glass bottles on the ground. There were water bottles half full of what looked like piss, old food containers, and bags that I had to ride over that I had no idea what was inside.

This made for a disgusting and terrible riding section, but I think it was the only way across without taking a train, going the long way round, or riding on the highway. I felt like I needed a shower for both me and my bike just from that section.

So I finally made it into Jersey City and found myself a brewery. I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t lock my bike up in front of Departed Soles Brewing, but rather down the block. So I made sure I took anything important into the brewery with me and lock everything up.

I ordered a flight of some delicious sounding brews and they loaded them up onto a mini skateboard. Super cool!

Their flights come with a pint, so I was forced to get another beer. Shoot.

This is one of those breweries that doesn’t have a bar you can sit at, only tables and high top tables with a get it and go bar. So coming here would be fun with all the games with some friends, but makes it harder to have conversations with others if your solo.

After only cooling off from the beer since there was no AC in the place, I walked back out to my bike.

I put my bike as close as I could to the brewery, but when I came out something was missing. Someone had stolen my phone holder that was screwed into my handlebars!

That phone holder was my second of the trip as the first one broke. I got it for around $10 at Walmart so it wasn’t a big loss, it was just super annoying that someone would take the time to unscrew that and steal it.

That little device has been extremely useful and helpful for directions while riding so I now had to go and find another one.

Found a shop over in Brooklyn, but I had to get over there. My most convenient option was to take my 5th ferry ride of the trip over to NYC!

Looking over the Hudson River to NYC

Didn’t bike around Manhattan long, just went straight for Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge was extremely crowded and was not easy to ride on. People were constantly in the bike lane.
The look of annoyance as if I was a local trying to commute

Made it over to the bike shop right before they closed, bought myself a $20 phone holder that does it’s job fine.

I made my way over to Brennan’s apartment, was greeted with some delicious southern leftovers. Leftovers or freshly made, I don’t care! Just thankful to have some good food!

Brennan is gay, and we had a nice long conversation about Christianity and gays and man that is a tough thing for myself on where I stand. I know I support and love them no matter what and it doesn’t weird me out or anything like that, but I also believe in Jesus and the Bible and know what it says about it in there..

It was definitely neat hearing his side of it, though, as he grew up a Christian. These are the types of things I love – getting to spend time with strangers. The conversations, opinions, and ways of life that I get to see and experience.

Day 64 – Brooklyn to Upper West Side Manhattan

I planned out my ride the past few days to be here in NYC on a Sunday morning. Back in St. Pete FL, I go to Liberty Church and they originated and have a few locations here in NYC. So going to service here was on my list of things to do.

I left Brennan’s apartment pretty early and church didn’t start until 10:30 so I was able to stop at a local bakery, ride over the Williamsburg Bridge, and then explore downtown Manhattan for a bit.

Made my way over to the downtown Liberty Church location at the Mezzanine on Wall Street almost an hour before service and got to meet some of the people there including Pastor Cody Abercrombie.

The music was bumpin’ and the message was excellent. Guest Speaker Nicole spoke on repentance and how it shouldn’t be a one and done thing but a continuous turning from our old ways, turning to God for forgiveness and then not stopping there but letting God then heal those sinful pains in your life through His grace and mercy.

Seems like all the services I have attended on this trip are building on each other. I don’t think that is any coincidence! I’m praying about it!

After service, Cody let me keep my bike there at the Mezzanine and said they will close the doors at 6pm. My plan was to take the train and go to a Yankees game!

I was able to get some cheap $15 tickets for the game. The seats were up high in the 400’s section, but at least I was sitting in the shade!

Yankees vs Blue Jay’s

The Yankees ended up winning 4-2 against the Blue Jay’s and I crammed back on the train to get my bike before they locked it up for the night.

Made it back around 5 and the doors were locked and no one was around. Great!

It took me probably a half hour or more calling around to people, but I finally got in through a grumpy old man and was glad to see my bike was still in there!

Next stop was getting over to Hostel International New York where I planned to stay.

I was riding along a great path along the Hudson River and another bike came up next to me and wanted to chat and ride together. We rode a few miles, then a few more. My turn off the path passed by because he wanted to show me the George Washington Bridge and the lighthouse near it.

At first I said okay, then after realizing how many extra miles I would have to do and the fact that I would be riding past it tomorrow I had to tell him “sorry, I’m turning back”.

After so many days of riding, you don’t always want to ride those extra miles, especially if you will be doing the exact same ride the next day.

A lot of people have said to be careful riding in NYC and asking how it’s been. It’s actually been pretty nice! There are actually designated bike lanes all over the place which makes it so much easier and nicer.

Sure the drivers here are crazy, but there have been crazy drivers everywhere I’ve been. Never assume they see you and will yield to you has been my thinking.

Once I checked into the hostel and showered, I walked over 30 blocks south to meet up with an old friend. I met her back in Poland at the Auschwitz tour. She is originally from Russia and lives in NYC now.

Went over to her boyfriend’s place and we were able to chat on his balcony a few stories up near the river for a couple hours. She had some crazy and interesting stories of Russia and her parents doing top secret crazy Russian things back in the day. They weren’t even allowed to leave the country for many years.

Decided on walking back that night to my hostel in the lit up New York streets instead of taking the subway so I could phone my wife.

Tomorrow I’m off to another state I have never been to before – Connecticut!

Day 65 – Manhattan, NY to Stamford, CT

When I started this trip it was my goal to try and send my wife a postcard from each state I visited. Trying to find postcard, though, has proven to be somewhat difficult!

Unfortunately, I have missed a couple states, but I was determined to find one here in NYC. I looked up souvenir shops and it took me back a couple miles to Times Square. Finally found one though!

Since I was in Times Square, I was able to ride back north through Central Park which ended up not being anything special as the more cool parts you had to dismount and walk to.

View across Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

My route took me up Manhattan, through the Bronx, then up past all the smaller cities along the coast of the Long Island Sound and into Connecticut.

Whenever I’m biking, I am constantly shifting my eyes from the road in front of me, to cars around me, to the scenery near and far.

Today for reason I hit so many potholes! I was either looking up too much, or there was an extra amount of potholes today. Either way, they never sounded good! A couple times it threw me forward towards my handlebars as if I was riding a bull.

I always cringed and hoped my bike was fine. But my bike is a beast and handled them no problem! (I don’t recommend hitting potholes while riding, even if you have the Long Haul Trucker!)

In the morning I was looking for campsites but couldn’t find any in Southwest Connecticut so I opted to try a website called warmshowers.

Warmshowers is similar to couch surfing, but built for the biking community.

So I texted a guy named Stuart this morning and he said that they would love to host me!

He lives in Stamford, CT so I made my way through all the beautiful coastal cities and up some hills to his house.

All the breweries along the way and near their house weren’t open until Thursday and today is Monday so it is another day without a brewery.

Looking back on it, I didn’t go to a single brewery in New York! That seems crazy, but I guess I was too busy doing other things.. (I have been to a couple in NYC before)

The family I was staying with has two sons and a daughter with the youngest being 17 years old so I felt like I fit in pretty well!

The kids had no idea who I was or why I was there at first. One asked if I was friends with his dad or if I worked with him. Nope, just met him, and he is letting me sleep in your house tonight!

They made me food, he cleaned my bike chain for me and I think I got the nicest bed in the house!

Stats:

  • Day 63 – 65.94 miles
  • Day 64 – 19.57 miles
  • Day 65 – 52.52 miles

Accommodation:

  • DoubleTree by Hilton
  • Brennan’s apartment (friends friend)
  • HI New York City Hostel
  • The Constantine home (warmshowers)

Breweries:

1 Comments on “East Coast Bike Tour Day 63 – 65”

  1. OH My goodness-The truck bridge in NEW Jersey. The good news for you is that its the worst thing you’ll ride on the whole trip. I remember it just as you described it from my 2013 ride with sand and stones flying off the truck tires and pinging off our helmets.
    Welcome to CT. Soon you’ll be on the very beautiful Farmington Valley Canal Trail. Unfortunately some road riding from Simsbury to Hartford where you pick up the Charter Oak Trail followed by my favorite on the entire ECG – The Hop River Trail. Once in Bolton be sure to visit Breakaway Brewery. From the Hop you’ll pick up the Airline Trail almost to Rhode Island. CT is moving fast connecting trails.

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