Warm weather has arrived! That means it’s time for everyone to break their steadfast cold-weather routine and explore the city. We’re hitting close to home today with a ride to one of our newest bicycle education centers on Randall’s Island! This island adventure begins in the heart of Harlem on 125th Street beneath the Metro North Rail Station. Continuing east you’ll notice the big blue bridge in the distance. This is actually one of three spans which make up the Robert F. Kennedy (formerly known as the Triboro Bridge).
If you want to talk about bad timing, work on the Triboro Bridge began on October 25, 1929 otherwise known as Black Friday. Due to new-found budget cuts, courtesy of the Great Depression, the bridge was scaled down from its two roadway capacity. The resulting decrease in weight meant less material was needed to maintain the bridge’s strength, thus keeping the project affordable in such dire times. Fast forward back to today. This bridge’s “tri-borough” span is made possible by the land beneath called Randall’s Island. Each of the three bridge spans has a bicycle path. Be careful as you approach the Manhattan entrance though. There is a lot of traffic at the intersection. When crossing the bridge, the bike map instructs riders to dismount and walk across for safety purposes. When you land on the island you’ll make a hard right and follow the signs to bring you to the Randall’s Island main loop. From there it’s easy to make your way around the island via the greenway.
Heading south, you can’t beat the views of Manhattan! If you can peel your head from the majestic cityscape, you’ll notice that Randall’s Island is filled with fields for all kinds of athletic activities.
Whether it’s tennis, soccer, football or golf, you can do it here. These fields are almost always busy with various teams and leagues from around the city. Be sure you have a frisbee packed in your panniers, or at least a picnic blanket!
As you continue along, you’ll find yourself rolling through a wetland. This area was created with function in mind to filter storm water runoff from asphalt surfaces before it enters the East River. In the summer time you may find camp groups studying the habitat to learn about its environmental benefits and all of its native flora and fauna.
You may not notice, but as you continue south, you’ll actually find yourself on a different Island. Randall’s Island was joined with its southern neighbor, Ward’s Island via landfill. You’ll pass the Ward’s Island Pedestrian Bridge with an elevator span which is raised when large ships need to pass beneath. What’s special about this slender bridge is its pedestrian-only access from April through November.
As mentioned above, Randall’s Island is home to one of our newest bicycle education centers. We’ll be spending the summer working with camp groups to teach New York City youth the rules of the road. This location is expected to serve more than 200 youth throughout the summer. In addition, we’ll be holding weekend Learn to Ride classes for youth and adults throughout the season. This is one of 8 bicycle education centers we have stationed throughout the city to provide free classes for everyone!
Be advised that the greenway around the island meets a dead end once you pass beneath the large blue span of the Queens-bound end of the RFK Bridge and climb the small hill.
At this point you can choose whichever borough suits you best on your way home. It’s a steeper climb, but a ride up the big blue suspension span is 100% worth it. After the epic view, you’ll find yourself in Queens. From there, you can make your way back to the riverside along Astoria Park and follow Vernon Blvd all the way down to the Queensboro Bridge. Hopefully that’s enough to wet your appetites, but as the weather gets even warmer, don’t be afraid to get out there. Drop us a line if you do (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
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