Monday, January 6, 2014
For New Year's Eve and the few days before it, Johanna and I went to New York to visit her friend. Since Johanna is nice and all and I cleaned my bike since the very muddy Newtown race, I was allowed to bring my bike. We were staying in the Upper West Side, so this would give me an opportunity to go ride New York's first legal mountain bike trails at Highbridge Park. They've been open for awhile now and there are places to ride that are bigger in Queens and Staten Island, too. There was a big deal when these first opened, but I hadn't really heard about them ever since. There was even a race there that Doug et al. won. I found some reviews that weren't particularly favorable.
I'd never been to Highbridge Park before. It's this long skinny park up in Inwood. It's quite big and is home to the oldest bridge still standing in the city. The bridge is being redone as this sort of Highline 2 thing. I was hoping I could cross it, but it's shut. They're building a really awesome skatepark in the park underneath I-95.
I wasn't totally sure where these trails were, so I started in the southern part of the park and found some vague trails, but not something that people would make a website out of. Lots of elevation change, though. Eventually, I kept going north and found the dirt jumps and the real trails. They were surprisingly technical, especially so on a 'cross bike. Aside from the dirt jumps, though, they were also pretty forgot about: trees down, lots & lots of broken glass and sort of generally unused feeling, which is of course is really weird for trails in the biggest city in the country. You'd think the place would be packed or at least not empty- save some dog walkers, a dude who had just woken up and two friendly kids smoking a blunt. It was sort of cold and it was New Year's Eve, but still. 0% of the Manhattan population wanted to go mountain biking that day? People were riding in Connecticut. It was just especially odd, because I felt like I was riding secret trails around here, but it was a legit place with a map in Manhattan. I'll never understand the big City.
Then I rode to New Jersey.