Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#96 Rustic Bridge at The Pool - Central Park

Rustic Bridge at The Pool - Central Park
April 14, 2010, Rob Hickman, John Wyffels, Keith Nelson

View on Unicycle NYC Bridge Tour Map at:

Following last weeks epic multiple bridge crossing tour of Central Park, we had assumed we would not be pedaling through Central Park until the 5 Borough Cycle Tour on May 2. During the week, however, Rob discovered a picture of a Wooden Bridge in Central Park that did not match any of our collected spans. And so the park maps came back out, satellite images were scrutinized, and a return to the park was planned.

On the morning of the ride, Keith went to Rob's to discuss spoke and tire issues. Their discussion was redirected by Charlie, a carpenter for the Landlords of South 11th Street. Charlie gave a far reaching perspective on the neighborhood build. Charlie provided insider info on the Rose plaza demonstration. He mentioned that good money can be made through protest. Paid "demonstrators" are sent by landlords and developers to protest the rights of continued expansion.

On facebook, Baruch Herzfeld expressed that the protest's stated purpose was to stop the "artisten from defiling williamsburg" but actually was a protest by proxy against one large real estate developer who supports the wrong rebbe". The pre-ride conversation made of a bit of a late start. And the rush was on to get to Columbus Circle to meet John Wyffels. Our tardy arrival was compounded by the L train being stuck in a tunnel.

As we entered Columbus Circle we were excited to find a multitude of Unicycles for rent guys. And by the fountain we met up with John and took note of pre ride preparations. With the sudden rise in temperature, the previous week had brought up new challenges. We had gotten a taste of dehydration, sun exposure, over heating and chaffing the week before. And so changes had become apparent.

John's 36" ride was now equipped with the Car Coffin, a new two water bottle racks. He also remembered sun screen, which despite their blistering burns last week, Keith and Rob forgot. Rob rode with a chilly April ride in mind, dressed in cold wool button down. Keith and John were more optimistic for a heat wave wearing only t shirts.

Striving to remain in the good graces of the two wheelers riding the cycle loop, we pedaled from Columbus Circle counter clockwise up to 110th st.

At Lasker Rink where we entered the Ravine. Using Slammin' Andy's tattered map. a compass, and a GPS we headed up stream through the narrow gorge, scaling rock faces and whacking the dense vegetation. We had to portage over territory Kris Holm would have easily been able to ride. John impressed us by jumping over the 20' deep gorge. In the ravine we found three bridges and the remains of a fourth.

Off the park drive just south of the Huddlestone Arch (that we crossed last week) we found a small stone slab bridge - spanning the Loch, which flows from the Pool at 101st St. to Harlem meer.

We did not find the bridge whose image had started the trek back to Central Park. Wood Bridge #2 remains a mystery. According to public record, this very short wood bridge crosses the rivulet just west of Glen Span and just east of The Pool. Unlike other Central Park wood bridges, it doesn't feature contorted, distressed branches: instead, it has been ingeniously fashioned from old wooden parkway lampposts. Apparently vandals burn wooden bridges and they need to be replaced. Maybe the remains and footings we found were from this one.

We also found what looked to be a bridge, but was actually a mouth of a spring. We documented it, but for the moment, aren't calling it a bridge.

In the middle of the wild, we met a bird watcher. We explained our mission, and she directed us to the rustic bridge spanning the southern part of the pool. This low country style bridge was a challenging treat for the tour.

From an original Central Park list of 31 bridges, we managed to find 48 total. Once again, we are blazing the NYC Bridge trail. Soon to be your one stop location for Bridge facts, in every region we are already finding & listing more bridges than any other source. Each institution may know their bridges (MTA, DOT, Parks, etc.), but none keep track of the others. We expect to soon become the official resource for the all the New York City Bridges.

Along the way we saw peoples days change before our eyes. A disarmed park employee happily noticed "oh yeah, a couple of clowns." We got our second "jazzy" of the tour. And many a kid skipping school screamed "Awesome."

After one loop around the park, and the 5 borough cycle tour looming, we decided to do another. The Bridges had been documented for the day, although Central Park allowed for other documented locations beyond the spans.

Keith treated us to the merry go round. They even let us ride with our unis in the horse drawn chariot. There was something fitting about rolling up to Alice in Wonderland on one wheel. Rob's first action was to circle the sculpture as young children jumped to the safety of Alice. A quick sit on a mushroom, a moment with the Mad hatter and a tip of the hat to Alice, it was time to ride towards a more somber moment. We visited the King Wladyslaw Jagiello Monument to pay hommage to slain Polish president Lech Kaczynski and show our solidarity with the people of Poland. Afterwards we pedaled hard for the last few miles back to Columbus Circle.

Somewhere in the decent to the subway, we lost John. However mono wheel moments continued on the ride home. A 62 year old former King Charles Troupe member from the Bronx got on the L train at Union Square. He loudly pronounce that "In the 70's every kid in the Bronx had one of these". Rob let him try his out. The saddle stem was too tall so he mounted Keith's uni on the busy train. And so he idled and rolled on one wheel as the train crossed under the East river, thus marking the tour's first official tunnel span. At Bedford Avenue, he burst into song with his partner, as Rob & Keith departed.

Started: Apr 14, 2010 11:17:53 AM
Ride Time: 2:49:48
Stopped Time: 9:33
Distance: 12.86 miles
Average: 4.55 miles/hr
Fastest Speed: 15.77 miles/hr
Climb: 1227 feet

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