It would be dumb if I didn’t elaborate, a little, on an exceptional way to see and taste Long Island, from tip to toe, in a day. OK, so that may be a little exaggerated, but still…
The event is called the Ride to Montauk. There are several points from which to start, but they all end up at the tip of Long Island in Montauk State Park. The Penn Station start in Manhattan seemed like the appropriate one for me. The organizers do a heck of a job with the not-so-simple logistics task of trucking and train-ing (LIRR) thousands of people, bags, and bikes where they need to go, both before and after the event. The cue sheet for my start point was a mere five pages of 193 turns.
The whether this year could not have been more favorable. The 70 degree temperature at Penn Station start time of 5 a.m. was the same 70 degrees at 4 p.m in Montauk. The day had not a cloud in the sky with a light westerly breeze to the rider’s backs.
The point of this post? If anyone has a yen for a beautiful New York urban/suburban ride, this would be one. From Penn Station the course headed south, then east over the Williamsburg bridge as the dark sky turned a deep dawn red, providing a unique view of New York prior to rising. Peddling through parts of Brooklyn and Queens before traffic was a relative treat. The rest of the ride wound through back streets of Long Island towns, with yards and trees, past farms and marshes, white sand dunes along the sea, and the high hedges of the Hampton estates.
It wasn’t all rosy for the few who required ambulance assistance from unfortunate spills. But most who stayed off the pavement were treated to a beautiful mix of scenery with a few anticipated and well-stocked rest-stops sprinkled in. The rest-stop 30 miles from the finish is famous for serving homemade pies. In prior rides, I had snubbed the pies in favor of purer nutrition. This time I ate two (large) pieces, one blueberry and one cherry, my pie fix satisfied.
The end of the ride had hot showers, food, and Blue Point draft beer waiting. The expended energy made the three-hour bus ride back to Penn Station relaxing as the trip ended with the New York skyline set against a different tonal dusk-red sky.
If the spirit moves you one year, consider a Long Island ride.
P.S. I made the ride with my half-brother skf.