Archive for the ‘biking’ Category

red hook harvest

October 20, 2008

This past Saturday my friend Anne and I hopped on our bikes (after the helpful guys at Bicycle Station put Anne’s bike chain back on) and headed down to the Red Hook Harvest Festival hosted by Added Value and Herban Solutions at Red Hook Community Farm.

Truer words were never written

We arrived just in time to get a tutorial from Classie Parker on canning for the leaner months. She showed us how to “put some love into” pickled onions and dilly beans and we sampled some of her delicious canned peaches. Spectators were able to participate by canning their own veggies.

Classie’s puttin’ her love into it

Classie shows them how to can-can

There were all kinds of activities for kids: pumpkin picking and a carving contest, bite the apple on the string, and Halloween costume making from fabric scraps. Families had the opportunity to pet the farm’s chickens (whom, I’d like to add, were extraordinarily handsome).

Pickin’ pumpkins at the pumpkin patch

Here chickie-chickies

That’s one handsome chicken!

Swaying and bobbing for apples

Local restaurants including Applewood, The Good Fork, iCi, and Rice were serving up delicious soups and savories. I was happy to see that Rice sends their compost to the farm in these buckets.

Rice’s compost buckets

Companies like Tri-State Biodiesel, orgs like Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (we rode on part of the new bike path on the way to the fest), and nonprofits like Heifer International were on hand to answer questions and provide information to the public.

Local musicians provided entertainment, local students offered up African dance lessons, and the local farm stand was set up to sell fresh produce and meats.

Some of the entertainment

It was a beautiful, sunny day that brought together an urban community in an agrarian way.

Learn more about canning farm fresh food

yesterday’s brooklyn bike adventure

August 24, 2008

Yesterday morning I had the hankering for a bike ride. Knowing there were some decent bike routes to get to the Bay Ridge promenade that eventually runs beneath the Verazzano-Narrows, my boyfriend did a little research.

One of the sites he consulted was Ride the City (see my earlier post about it). This is one of those times he utters, “if I only had an iPhone… ,” because we don’t have a printer to reproduce the route for our bike trip. Plus, all of our area maps are in the car (I love maps). So he just wrote down all of the critical turns to get where we needed.

After eating a yummy farmer’s market lunch, we hopped on our bikes and headed out. We rode through the park and overshot our first turn by about 1/4 mile, going out the due south end instead of the SSW end (near Windsor Terrace). But we figured it out and were back on track after about a mile detour.

We rode through neighborhoods we had yet to see on bike: Kensington, Borough Park, Sunset Park. When we got to Sunset Park we went through the park whence the name came. There are some great views of the city from up there (you can see the Statue of Liberty in the middle right of this pic).

[Image: Gowanus Lounge]

From Sunset Park we rode down along 2nd avenue to 67th street, into Owl’s Head Park, a cute little park with a bay view.

[Image: Forgotten NY]

In the image above you can also see the entrance to the promenade that runs along the New York Bay. We entered there and rode down to the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge.

[Image: This one’s mine!]

There’s an exit from the promenade right by the bridge (where we’re standing in the above image), so we said goodbye to the bay and headed up 4th avenue. We stayed on 4th through Bay Ridge, then headed up 5th avenue back into Sunset Park. 5th ave in this part of Brooklyn is not the best place to bike (unless you’re into chaos). It was madness. If I were blindfolded, spun around, drugged, put in the trunk of a car and brought to this part of Brooklyn, I would think I were in another country. Somewhere in Central America. On every block there were at least 2 double parked cars on each side of the street. Pedestrians bounced across the street like Frogger — no fear, no discretion. Latino tunes blared from storefronts, cars, block parties.

Eventually, the madness gave way to industrial serenity as we neared Greenwood Cemetery. Thankfully, the northbound traffic was detoured and we had the entire lane to ourselves. As we rode past the cemetery we heard some exotic chirping. Those are definitely not natives. They’re the famous Brooklyn Parrots! They were thought to have been accidentally freed from their shipping crates at JFK in the late 1960s. The parrots eventually proliferated and made their way to different parts of Brooklyn and other boroughs.

[Image: Brooklyn Parrots]

The parrots blended in so well with the foliage, we had a hard time seeing them (and capturing them on camera). So we moved on, continuing down 5th ave and onto 16th street. We stopped at a coffee shop in Windsor Terrace for a snack and ended our adventure in Prospect Park (via the entrance we were supposed to start our ride from).

[Image: Mine again!]

The round trip was about 16 miles and much more entertaining than riding around the loop in the park 5 times. One of the best parts about biking in Brooklyn (or anywhere in the city for that matter) is the diversity — the culture varies, the people vary, businesses vary to cater to the people of the area. In a matter of a few miles we were in Italy, China, the Middle East, Mexico. Every time the landscape would change I would think, “this too, is Brooklyn.”

pedal power

August 1, 2008

I love my bike. It’s comfy, pink, and lovely. But I feel I’ve been neglecting my pedal-powered friend. One reason: I take the subway to work and walk everywhere in my neighborhood, so there’s really no need to ride it except for exercise. Maybe I’m a bit timid when it comes to traversing thoroughfares like Flatbush Ave, or a bit skittish around those double-parked Fresh Direct delivery trucks that like to take up a whole lane on a narrow street. When I’m planning my route, I also like to know there’s a bike lane and that I’m riding with traffic to avoid a head-on collision with a bike messenger.

My bike, the Electra Townie

Well, I’ve just been tipped off (thanks, Ideal Bite!) about a site that takes all the guesswork out of planning your bike route: Ride the City. Like any other map site, enter your starting point and destination — then Ride the City plans your route based on your specifications. You can choose between safest route (like me), safe route, or most direct route.

I think this beta site may still have some glitches, because when I tried to find the safest route from my apartment in Brooklyn to the office in Manhattan, it did not compute. Kinks aside, like HopStop, I’m sure Ride the City will be another indispensable tool for navigating the urban jungle.