Sunday, March 21, 2010

Upper Hudson River Valley Bridges

Third Street Railroad Overpass - Hudson, NY., March 21, 2010
Keith Nelson, Jim Owen, Rob Hickman

Rip Van Winkle Bridge - Greene / Columbia counties, NY., March 21, 2010
Keith Nelson, Jim Owen, Stephanie Monseu, Rob Hickman

Uncle Sam Bridge - Catskill, NY, March 21, 2010
Rob Hickman, Keith Nelson, Jim Owen

Catskill Creek Railroad bridge - Catskill, NY., March 21, 2010
Keith Nelson, Jim Owen, Rob Hickman

Ferry Street Railroad Overpass - Hudson, NY., March 21, 2010
Keith Nelson, Rob Hickman, Jim Owen

Training for the Five Borough Bike Tour (and consequently the Verrazano Bridge) we travelled north of the City for twelve miles of country riding, five bridges and mountain grades unlike slopes previously pedaled. Not a single of today's crossings counts towards the 2078 bridges needed to be crossed in New York City.

Keith Nelson, Rob Hickman, and Jim Owen departed Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Hudson, NY headquarters at 11 am. Following a quick stop at Steiner's Sporting Goods for a new pair of cycle shorts for Keith, the trio started the first descent of the day. A quick right at the bottom of the hill started the climb up Mt Merino. The next three miles rolled, climbed, and plummeted with a picturesque view of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains.

Taking a right on the Highway, the trio met Stephanie Monseu, the first female to take part in a bridge crossing. The foursome headed to the Rip van Winkle Bridge, which spans the Hudson River linking Columbia and Greene counties

We were obviously not the first people to cross the Rip Van Winkle on unicycles, as suicide hotline boxes were conveniently spaced across the span.

Stephanie rode with us for the next mile. She directed us into downtown Catskill, before making a U-turn and heading back to Columbia County. The boys headed for the steepest hill of the trip, which dropped us onto Main Street in Catskill. Keith and Rob were both unable to descend the steep grade in one pass, while Jim showed off using only one pedal. At the bottom and after one more turn, we headed across the Uncle Sam Bridge, spanning Catskill creek. Samual Wilson, who inspired the character Uncle Sam, lived nearby from 1817 - 1822.

Once across the Uncle Sam Bridge we faced a number of disappointments. The Coney Island Ice Cream shop was closed for another month, and the Captain Kidd Pirate Bar didn't open until 4pm. With no sugar boost or malted nourishment, we headed back across creek and river.

The creek re-crossing took place on an unlabeled and dilapidated former rail bridge turned pedestrian crossing. It was now time to climb back up the hills that proved nearly impossible to come down. The return was just as challenging and picturesque as the trip to Catskill. With the sun breaking through the clouds, we encountered a number of pedestrians on the Rip Van Winkle. , rolling along Mt. Merino, back to Hudson, and one more bridge to Cross. A circle to the waterfront provided the crossing of the Ferry Bridge.

Jim gave Rob & Keith a rail riding demo in preparation for the many city railroad bridges needed to be traversed. Lacking the third rail, Amtrak rails are much safer than NYC subway bridges.

Yuengling tastes great after 12 miles of riding. The rest of the day was spent pedaling penny farthings and going to Hell on Wheel, the Chatham Unicycle Club.

Mar 21, 2010 11:19:55 AM
Ride Time: 2:53:53
Stopped Time: 49:24
Distance: 11.47 miles
Average: 3.96 miles/hr
Fastest Speed: 9.66 miles/hr
Climb: 1463 feet

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