Leaving NYC, A Mechanical Failure and Into CT

Today is the 28th of June and I’m in New Britain, CT, halfway to my destination of Tolland, CT to stay with my friend Sam. My stay in Brooklyn was short, but awesome. Sarah hooked me up with a friend of hers living there named Abby. Thanks to Sarah for setting me up with a place to crash and thanks to Abby and her awesome roommates for offering me their couch for the night. Sadly she had to work most of the time I was there, but after a nap I did some exploring on my own. I took the Brooklyn Bridge back across to Manhattan the next day, dodging tourists the whole way, rode straight across Manhattan and headed up the greenway trail that runs the length of the island. Here are a few pictures of NYC, also I should note that because I’ve already used 30% of the space on my flickr account, I’m turning down the quality on my photos significantly. I’ll have to figure out some other way to store the hi res versions online.

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After that I hit the North and South County Trails which extend almost 50mi. out of NYC. You really don’t realize how mind bogglingly massive that city is until you try biking through it. It just goes, and goes and goes, all the while managing to be 5x as dense and crowded as other cities. The ride up the North and South Co. Trails was easy going, but strange. The whole time I felt as though I was having to pedal just slightly too hard. Were my tires low on air? No. Was something dragging against my tires? No. I was going downhill and flat, why was it taking just slightly more effort than normal?

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About 4mi. out from my destination (Carmel, NY), my host for the night, another cycling tourist named Brian, came out to meet me on the trail. He explained that the North and South County Trails were once a rail line and the entire thing was actually on a minute incline, just about a 1% grade. Brian’s actually leaving on a bicycle tour himself in less than a week as of the time of writing this, traveling the Sierra Nevada trail, from the Canadian to Mexican borders with three other guys. It’s funny how two people can be doing the exact same thing, but completely differently. Where as I’m steering myself through every major city I can, Brian’s actually steering himself away from them so as to see more countryside. Anyway, I’m lucky Brian came out to meet me, about a mile further down the road my bike rack broke, the lower left brace snapping off just about the screw.

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Brian was an awesome host, not only did he give me a ride the rest of the way to his house but he drove me around to get the rack welded into place again. Good luck on your trip man!

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After getting the rack fixed I set out, leaving well after noon, for New Britain, CT, 75mi. Away (I left from the welding shop, about a mile away from where my rack had broken). Unfortunately that just didn’t work out. In my haste to make miles as fast I took two costly wrong turns. Going 10mi. Out of your way by car isn’t such a big deal but in the hills of upstate NY and CT, it’s a grievous error. Further more, the trail that Google maps put me on, the Larkin State Park Trail, was extremely rough. One of the embankments I had to climb to get on the trail was so steep I almost couldn’t walk the bike up it. Furthermore there was a section for about a quarter of a mile flooded by a shallow creek which made for treacherous going. Lastly I had three flat tires that day, two rear and one front. At eight o’clock I had less than an hour’s daylight left and 20mi. as the crow flies to go, so when the third flat came, I texted my host to cancel and just spent the night camped out well off the trail.

Camping out this time was completely different from the last time. Despite still being a little nervous, I slept well for the most part. It was a clear night so I left the rain fly off and I spent the night listening to the forest, the wind in the trees and the odd night bird calling out. It’s oddly peaceful being tucked away in the woods, knowing that despite the fact that you can make out the headlights of cars on a road 200 yards away, no one knows you are there. I broke camp at 5AM, headed into the nearest town and found a picnic table to wait out the dawn and plot out my route for the day, 50ish miles to Tolland, CT where I’ll spend two days before heading northwest to Westfield, MA where Robbie lives. I’ve done about 20miles so far today . Time to hit the road again.

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On another note, it’s funny how as I’ve traveled I seem to keep finding other people who tour (i.e. travel long distances by bike). At the time of writing this I was sitting on the benches outside of a Subway when the owner, a guy in his 60s, pulled up and chatted me up about how he had toured several hundred miles along the coast. He’s not the first either. I guess I’ll do it when (if? haha) I return to normal life.

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