I had never cycled up to Rye before. I did some research and it seemed like an interesting ride. The scout with Nathalie Pham was great...good bike trails, a tasty pub meal, sitting on the back porch of John Jay's house and some scenic Rye sights. We found a hole in the schedule and listed the ride. The Facebook event was published, cue sheets were made, and we were ready to roll.
And then weather happened. Snow and sleet blanketed the area during the week. Not a lot, just enough to make it sloppy on top of the already existing snow fall. We followed the weather. Weather Underground, The Weather Channel, The New York Times and local TV were all consulted. Of course, they all presented different versions of what Sunday would be like. No rain. 20% chance of rain. Starting in the morning, afternoon, evening. Temperatures as high as 47 with no wind. Or was it 35 with a 10-15 MPH wind? By Friday we did not know.
As sturdy winter riders, we made the call to do the ride. We were going up to Rye! Or so we thought. You know those forecasts saying a high of 47 degrees – they lied. It was a cold group of nine that started, and a colder group of seven who finished. But, undeterred, off we went.
We used the Grand Concourse to head up through the Bronx. The bike lane was buried under the snow. Motorists were digging out and icy snow boulders littered the way. We had the whole panoply of road conditions – ice, slush, sand and yet, it was still passable. HOLE ! Yes, the new crop of potholes was impressive as well.
Onto the Mosholu trail. Well, the sidewalk actually as the trail was covered over. And then we could ride no further. Several inches of slush blocked our way and so we portaged. But it was only for about 50 feet and the trail was then plowed out. We gathered at the Allerton Fields for a bathroom break and pep talk. Yes, it is colder. Yes, the roads are somewhat worse than we expected. But – we are going to Rye. There was talk of a mutiny.
We continued on, with the Mosholu trail being somewhat cleared. Then the Pelham Parkway trail being a slushy, icy mess. No way I wanted to take a group further north. We had a compression stop and determined that it was not safe to head to Rye. Fortunately, the Bronx is full of wonders. We ended up going to see Lourdes of the Bronx, which was only a few miles away. The request was made to pray for warmer weather.
I had decided the head to Arthur Avenue for lunch – but my Sweep had other ideas. And a good point listens to his Sweep. Scouting a different ride we came across an amazing restaurant, Taqueria Tlaxcalli in Parkchester. Too small for a large group, but just right for seven hungry cyclists. We were soon chowing down on posole, burritos, tortas, and other delicacies in the cozy warmth of the restaurant – Paul, one of our new riders had a bowl of soup the size of a hot tub. The intended ride to Rye was soon forgotten.
For me, some of the lunch was spent figuring out the route home. A new cue was rapidly scribbled on the back of the old. Streets I had never traveled on before. We passed public housing and a colorful block of brownstones. Rode by a raging waterfall on the Bronx River. We zig-zagged through the South Bronx before hitting the Willis Avenue Bridge [although a local barbershop identified the street as “Willy Avenue] and home.
You never know when you are planning a ride what conditions will arise during the day. I have had bridges shut down. Police investigations close roads. And of course, the inevitable cries of “We're Hungry!” I really did want to go to Rye – and we will at a later date. But, sometimes you just have to take it as it comes and change stuff around. Through it all, it was a very fun ride. Thanks to our intrepid riders: Paul, Bill, Babby, Elyssa, Rudy and of course my Sweep and scouting partner, Natty. Well done everyone.