Friday, April 20, 2012

Astoria to Hicksville (57.31 miles)

Yesterday I decided I wanted to try to ride to my friends house in Hicksville again. When I call to make plans, I find out that he had made the decision to purchase a bike, and it was being shipped the next day!

He also informed me that he had the day off from work and that I was welcome to come over anytime I liked.

Soon I was gearing up and finalizing the new route which I would use to hopefully make a successful trip to his place (my first attempt went long/got lost, and fell short ending with my friend picking me up....).

The weather was ideal, breezy in the 60's, mostly sunny the whole way there. The first 3/5's of my route consist of familiar territory. I basically use the same route as if I was going to my fathers house. It's the last 10 miles of back roads and shoulder-less main roads that gets particularly tricky for me. I tried to keep the route as simple as possible, consisting of only 19 turns to get me from Alley Pond Park, to my friends block in Hicksville.

I notice a pesticide sign stating unsafe conditions for humans uncomfortably close to my person. A motorcycle pulls up to the light.

Crossing Roosevelt Avenue Bridge into the heart of Flushing.

Bowne to the entrance to Kissena Park.

Resting near the entrance to Kissena Park, a man stretches while a plane passes overhead.

Kissena Park, along the Brooklyn Queens Greenway.

Rapid Descent into Alley Pond Park, the Greenway ends.

Union Tpke, Creedmoor, and some commentary.

As I made my way into Nassau County, I found the route I had decided on was mostly bike friendly leading up to Herricks Road. Herricks becomes Old Country Road, and turns back North, towards my friends neighborhood. This slight dogleg South then Northeast is necessary to avoid the more complicated, and dangerous roads that run through the middle of Nassau County. Once on Old Country I found some creative use of sidewalks was necessary as the afternoon traffic didn't seem to want to bother with a bike where there often isn't one. This made for slow going heading East, but I was prepared for this as it was my first time riding this road. 87th Avenue, Broadway, and Eisenhower Park were very nice this time of year; many trees in bloom. Also seen was the Oscar Meyer Weiner Truck. With only one wrong turn and a small back track I made it to my friends house in just over 2 hours, covering 26.17 miles.

I stop in some shade and comment on the trip so far.

Broadway through Garden City Park, Westbury.

It's the Oscar Meyer Weiner Truck!!!

Passing Eisenhower Park, Westbury.

Unfortunately for me, my ride back from Hicksville did not go as well as my trip there. Trying to follow directions backwards, forgetting to read street signs, and an unfamiliar route, added an extra 5+ miles to the ride home.
The first 5 miles went exceptionally well, I found the traffic at 9:30pm to be light on Old Country Road, and I could ride in the shoulder or extra wide right lane keeping a 17 mph pace. At this point is where I made my fatal error. In my exhilarated state from having made such good time, I rode past my next turn, and rode nearly five miles too correct, and back track my route. After making one wrong turn, a small consolation was footage of an arriving train on Railroad Avenue.

One great thing about night riding this route is the abundance of 24hr stores which can easily accommodate a bike, and carts where you can get food or beverages, not to mention that this particular route includes the Greenway, which features many running water fountains for at least half of the year. I stopped for some trail mix at a 24hr Walgreens with a large entrance, and snacks at a register by the door. Also, I stopped at a Latin food cart on Roosevelt Avenue, and had a delicious Fruit Punch soda for a treat.

Finally reaching the entrance to Alley Pond Park, all was black, and silent. My legs were tired but I refused to walk the hills, resigning myself to spinning as best I could. Flying through the dark conditions on the Greenway is not recommended for safety, but sure is fun. The cool crisp air was refreshing, even as my legs began to complain more and more. Arriving home tired but not too sore, I set my videos for upload, and went to bed.

Making good time on Old Country Road.

From the Majestic Diner to Cherry Lane.

Herricks Road, Mineola.

I pull up to Railroad Avenue just as a train approaches

Bryant becomes 87th Avenue.

Commonwealth Blvd at night.

Rapid descent through the Brooklyn Queens Greenway at night. (Dark footage.)

Following the Greenway through St Josephs Prep and into 188th Street Park.

Kissena Park at night.

Creepy building.

Flushing to Citifield, the 7 train arrives over head.

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