Archive for the ‘Bicycles’ Category

Mon 5 Jul 2010 7:30 pm   //   Posted in: Bicycles, Brooklyn, Technology

Using GPS to map a bike ride

I hope you enjoyed your 4th of July weekend! I took Friday off, and had today off as a holiday, granting me a 4-day staycation here in Brooklyn. However, my weekend was disrupted somewhat by some scheduled dental surgery; I had my final two wisdom teeth extracted Friday. This wiped Friday off the map and made Saturday and Sunday an odd muddle of World Cup soccer, barbecues, beer, good times with friends and suffering from mouth pain.

Today, however, I’m feeling mostly recovered. I planned to spend the full day for a long bike ride. Unfortunately, once I woke up, I couldn’t muster the motivation to spend a full day outside in this heat. (It hit 98 today in Central Park.) Instead I rode a loop out to Coney Island and back.

On today’s bike ride, I used a free mobile application called InstaMapper to track my route on a map. I’ve tried InstaMapper before with limited success; the GPS on my Blackberry isn’t always reliable, and the program itself seemed to shut itself down randomly. Today, however, it worked brilliantly. Assuming it’s all still working, you can see an interactive map below showing my ride with pretty good precision. I find this kind of thing amazing.

Sun 6 Jun 2010 9:29 am   //   Posted in: Bicycles, Weather


During the winter, the sun doesn’t rise in New York until 8. Right now, because of daylight saving time and the change of seasons, it’s getting light at 5. That’s three extra hours of light in the morning before the city (which likes to sleep in) really gets humming.

Lately I’ve started waking up early and taking long bike rides in the sleeping city. Some mornings I do a few laps around Prospect Park. This morning I rode the Belt Parkway bike path most of the way to Coney Island and back.

I find this so enjoyable that I’ve started pondering what it would be like to live at a lower latitude, where before-work bike rides were possible year-round. (I don’t mind cycling in the dark, but cold air, wind and ice make it unpleasant.) I bet I’d get tired of it. Something about the fact that it’s only possible to ride early in New York five months of the year—and even then, only when the weather behaves—makes it feel like a rare treat. It’s something to be earned by suffering through a grueling winter.

Sun 23 May 2010 8:12 pm   //   Posted in: Bicycles, Photos

Photos from my Bike MS ride

I’ve just returned from the Bike MS Chesapeake Challenge in Chestertown, Maryland. My family’s team rode for Joanne, my stepmom, who has MS. As a team of five, we collected 101 gifts for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, for a grand total of $5,360!

As the most obsessive cyclist on my family’s team, I rode a century the first day and 50 miles the second day. The rest of the team rode 30 miles the first day and 30 the second, though Gerritt joined me on the 50-mile route Sunday. Together we rode a total of 410 miles.

The challenge ride/walk was staffed by dozens of spirited volunteers, who made the event a great experience. The routes took us across the undulating farmland of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The flat, straight, low-traffic roads gave us a chance to really open up and fly. I had a great time riding and feel glad to have raised a significant chunk of change to support MS research and support programs.

Some photos follow. Gerritt has more on his Flickr page.

The starting line on Sunday.


Sun 21 Mar 2010 9:28 pm   //   Posted in: Bicycles, New York is different

My health plan is a new bike

Your favorite bike shop is the one that sold you your last bike. Here’s my new favorite: Sid’s Bikes in Chelsea.

Saturday was the First Sunny Saturday Of The Year, which is an unofficial city holiday in New York. A lot of people, including me, took it as an excuse to go bike shopping. (I’m training for another Bike MS charity ride in May — I’ll start hounding you for contributions next month.)

In my experience, about half the bike shops in New York are run by crooks or assholes. When you find a good shop you stick with it; entering a unfamiliar bike shop can be a scary experience. On Saturday I went to three good shops run by nice bike people, plus Paragon sports, a big sporting goods store with a cycling department. I ended up buying a new road bike from Sid’s.

What influenced my choice? They had a great Cannondale in my budget, first of all. But I could tell they were a high-quality shop because they offered me a helmet when I went out for the test-ride. None of the other shops did. (Two shops sent me out without a helmet; Paragon was so mobbed I couldn’t even find anyone to even help me.) This told me Sid’s takes what they do seriously. It made buying a bike there a really easy decision.

I’m psyched to get some miles on this bike. Hoping for more sunny Saturdays!

Sun 25 Oct 2009 7:56 pm   //   Posted in: Bicycles, Brooklyn, Photos, Travel

Abandoned hangars at Floyd Bennett Field

This afternoon I took one of my favorite bike rides—following the Belt Parkway out to Floyd Bennett Field, the decommissioned airport in Brooklyn. There’s a lot of stuff out there in a state of beautiful decay. Three pictures:



Sun 4 Oct 2009 8:29 pm   //   Posted in: Bicycles

Photos from Bike MS NYC 2009

Here’s the starting line on the West side of Manhattan at 7:15 Sunday morning. Stretch!



Fri 18 Sep 2009 9:00 am   //   Posted in: Bicycles

An appeal

bikemsNow, usually I don’t do this.

But I’m about to ask you to make a contribution. No, the money’s not for me. It’s for research to find a cure for multiple sclerosis and to support programs for people who live with MS.

If you’ve read any of my posts this week about biking, you already know I’m going to be riding 100 miles in the New York Bike MS ride on October 4. This event is a major fund-raiser for the National MS Society. I’m riding in honor of my stepmom, who lives with MS. My goal is to raise at least $1000. I’m so grateful to my friends and family who have already given. As of this morning, we’ve raised $680! That’s excellent, but we’re not there yet.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you enjoy this blog. This blog costs me money and I don’t earn a dime from it. I’ve never asked for any donations to keep it running. I have no product to sell. There’s no advertising here. So today I ask you to donate a few bucks to the MS ride in the amount you think this blog is worth to you. If you’ve ever read something here that made you think, please give. If you’ve ever grinned while reading one of my posts, please give. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Hey, I already know about this thing because I saw it first on Daryl’s blog,” please give. If this blog has ever turned you on to a good film, or good band, or a good book, please give.

Try giving $10. Lunch money.

Like most people, I’ve given to friends’ fund-raising rides, walks and runs. But I’ve never participated in one before. Why am I doing this now? It’s because of a feeling I got. You’ve probably experienced it at some point, too. It’s the feeling that the world has been cruelly unfair to people who simply don’t deserve it. And you want to do something to correct this injustice. Sometimes that’s impossible. But channeling energy into raising money to help… Well, it might not solve the problem immediately, but it’s positive action. It’s a little way to push back on the unfairness of the world.

Follow this link to give online using a credit card. It’s easy, secure and simple. Thank you.

Thu 17 Sep 2009 9:00 am   //   Posted in: Bicycles, Holga

Holga photos from a New Jersey bike ride

Note: I’m riding in the Bike MS ride on October 4 (info) and so every post this week is about biking!

I had to break the law to get these pictures. I’ll explain in a moment…

Meadowlands Xanadu, East Rutherford

Meadowlands Xanadu, East Rutherford

I’ve written before about Meadowlands Xanadu, the ginormous mall under construction in New Jersey. I’m fascinated by this brash, misbegotten project. It’s shockingly ugly, it has absolutely no interaction with the space surrounding it, and it has an indoor ski slope.

On Labor Day, I decided to see if it was possible to ride my bike from Brooklyn to Xanadu. According to Google Maps, it was 27 miles each way via the back roads. Totally doable. Off I went.


Wed 16 Sep 2009 9:00 am   //   Posted in: Bicycles, Movies

The best bike movie of all time

Note: I’m riding in the Bike MS ride on October 4 (info) and so every post this week is about biking!

I was originally going to call this post “The top 5 bike movies of all time,” but who would I be kidding? There is only one that matters: “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.”


“I wouldn’t sell my bike for all the money in the world!,” Pee-Wee declares. “Not for a hundred billion million trillion dollars!”

Right on! Fact: This movie launched director Tim Burton’s career. Fact: This movie spawned the sugary 1980s Saturday morning classic Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, beloved by millions of children. Fact: Every time you hear the song “Tequila” by The Champs, you picture Pee-Wee dancing on the bar.

This movie also has the best bicycle chase scene ever committed to film. Beyond dispute.


Tue 15 Sep 2009 9:00 am   //   Posted in: Bicycles

The elements of bicycle style

Note: I’m riding in the Bike MS ride on October 4 (info) and so every post this week is about biking!

Here are a few of my personal rules for cycling in the city:

Keep your bike in good repair. A well-maintained bike is a silent bike. Every sound indicates some loss of efficiency.

Similarly, a cyclist should be quiet. You should glide through the streets unnoticed, slipping between pedestrians and cars with the stealth of a night bird.

Have a bell. Pretend it isn’t there. Install it a few inches away from your thumb so you aren’t tempted to use it.

Ride happy and calm. Never try to teach anyone a lesson while you are on a bike; it will not work. Oblivious people do not deserve to be scolded, yelled at or given the finger. You are moving so quickly that their ignorance is a blip on your timeline.

Safety is your job. Watch out for yourself and for others who share the road. Expect no one to watch out for you.

Understand your bike. Know exactly where it can fit and how it can maneuver. Ride like a fighter pilot: fast and precise, always in absolute control.

Ride often. Ride in heat and rain, wind and darkness. Ride on and on. You are a bat. You are a laser-guided missile. You are a comic book hero. With great power comes great responsibility.