I cycle through my hobbies pretty regularly: I was seriously into knitting, then vegan cooking & baking, then gardening, and now biking. Each is a part of my daily life but I have periods where I FREAKIN’ LOVE [insert hobby of the month here].
With my most recent interest in biking, I decided to sign up for a metric century (100km or 62mi) with a women’s cycling group for the Rapha Women’s 100 Challenge. I was wary of the distance as the longest ride I’d done prior to this was the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, which is just around 42 miles. I’d also never ridden outside of NYC proper and this ride would take us into Long Island. I’d also never ridden long distance without Alex so I was going to be all alone.
All of the worrying was for naught! The ride was a lot of fun and I was surprised by my ability to ride almost 80 miles in one day and the seeming ease with which I was able to do it.
I ended up doing over 122km since I needed to get to the starting location from the Staten Island Ferry terminal (and back). I felt great! I was sweaty, covered head-to-toe in sunblock, and surrounded by like-minded ladies. We passed by three beaches, walked across two bridges, and biked through three counties. (I actually biked through 5, including Manhattan’s New York county and Staten Island’s Richmond county.) It was glorious!
I loved it so much that, a week later, I embarked on my own pseudo-long-distance ride. I biked along the eastern coast of Staten Island through two beaches down to the southern-most part of New York State. I then biked up to Bloomingdale Park before making my way back home. All-in-all, I rode 38.9 miles on Staten Island’s horrible roads with some heavy traffic on Hylan Boulevard. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again because, honestly, it’s hard biking on Staten Island streets. There’s debris, potholes, and psychotic motorists.
The one upside of this terrible ride was that, as a result, I needed new tires. I’ve been riding on my bike’s stock tires since I got it back in January 2012. I estimate that I’ve ridden somewhere around 4500 miles on its tires. It’s about time that I replaced them! But it wasn’t until after this Staten Island ride that I really had a reason to: the threading on the sidewalls wore down to the point where multiple bulges had developed. It was no longer safe to ride on them so I got myself a pair of Gatorskin tires—and then installed them myself, like the badass that I am.
At the same time, I also got myself a couple of Castelli cycling jerseys, a pair of Louis Garneau cycling shoes, and a set of Shimano PD-A530 combination clipless/platform pedals. I look like a serious cyclist now, ready to tackle more long distance rides!