Sunday, July 5, 2015

High Bridge Ride - NYC

It all began with THIS article and a wish to fill the calendar while Ashley is in Europe for 20 days with People to People. While I hope Ashley blogs about her adventures in England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland when she returns, I am planning on blogging about our kid-free time.

This Spring I bought my first bicycle since becoming an adult. It is a lovely turquoise blue hybrid Trek. It has a very comfortable seat, and shocks. It is girly. It is also heavy. It is not a road bike. 

Our journey started by parking in Palisades Park and riding two miles UP HILL to the George Washington Bridge, a 9/10 of a mile expanse that is (much to my pleasure after riding on the Verrazano's Bridge) pretty flat. It is also free to pedestrians and cyclists.

I stopped to take a couple of pictures and was surprised how much the bridge sways -- something I never noticed in a car. I waited for Don at New York side while he continued to take pictures, unfazed by the sway.

Don was in charge of the route for our NYC ride. His goal was to find the newly opened High Bridge -- a bridge he remembered seeing on a different ride that open to pedestrians and cyclists less than a month earlier. High Bridge was the city's first aqueduct bringing city folk pure water from Upstate New York in 1842, and, according to the June 4, 2015 New York Times article referenced above "made modern New York possible." It was replaced by other aqueducts and stopped carrying water in the 1950s. In 1995, a 10 year old girl went to her to her community planning board and asked for the bridge to be reopened as a pedestrian walkway. Twenty years later, her wish became a reality.

High Bridge spans the Harlem River on stone arches, and crosses from 173rd street in Manhattan to 170th Street in the Bronx. We can call this our two borough bike ride, though all we did was set wheels in the Bronx before turning back to hunt for Riverside Park.

Views of High Bridge:

It has only been open a month and it is already receiving a lot of activity, which is nice to see.
After our quick turnaround, we continued our ride to find a good entry point to Riverside Park. This turned out to be more challenging than we had thought. After spending some time in a cemetery, we asked a live person for advice. He recommended the bridge at 145th Street. Sounded good to us. It is a nice pedestrian bridge, which we walked our bikes across. The trouble is, the other side is well above Riverside Park. Your options are to go down a tall set of stairs, or take a slow elevator barely big enough for two bikes. Don opted for the stairs. I took the elevator with a couple of strangers -- one of whom commented the elevator was broken much of last summer. It felt like a poor design to me. 

We were finally down in Riverside Park. The views were stunning. Despite it being part of July 4th weekend, it was relatively quiet, with only a few renegade cyclists who seemed to be more interested in training for next year's Tour de France than enjoying the nice day. We continued riding to just under the George Washington Bridge and to the 40-foot tall Little Red Lighthouse I had heard about, and I had seen at the beginning of our journey. It is darling.

Then as the expression goes, or in this case should go, "everything that goes down must come up," we ascended a bike path to a bridge to a few streets to a spiral ramp to get back onto the George Washington Bridge. The return trip did not feel as flat as the trip into NYC had felt. Once back in New Jersey and at our car, we looked at the bridge again. Yes, it does tilt slightly down towards NYC, and no, I am not going crazy (at least not about this). 

All in all, we rode about 16 miles -- most of which seemed uphill to me.

If you decide after reading this post this sounds like fun, please look for the free parking lot at the top of Palisades Park, less than a quarter mile from the George Washington Bridge, and skip paying $10 to park and the giant uphill.

Best as I can tell, the free lot is located at where Bruce Reynolds intersects with Hudson Terrace at Cetral Ave. Plaza Street. As lots become full, they might set up a station, but it was free the day we went. It also had signs saying no cycling, but the policeman who saw me cycling in that area while I was scoping it out did not stop me, and many people had empty bike racks on their cars. The link for more information is: 


  1. Very interesting. I was surprised you did not have difficulty getting your bicycles down to the High Bridge after getting to Highbridge Park. The best route via bicycle is not obvious or direct. The best directions for this are here:

  2. There was a sign near the tower pointing us to the intersection of Evercomb(?) and 168th(?) pointing us in the direction of a ramp. Mostly I just followed my husband. I'll share the link with him. They did an awesome job with the park.