On Thursday, about 250 cyclists in varying states of physical fitness departed on the annual All Night Bike Ride, led as ever by the indefatigable Kenneth Jackson. Bwog has just recently recovered.
We started at the sundial, and departed under cover of darkness with a police escort and even a volunteer ambulance to take care of the weak. After the t-shirts were dispensed and waivers collected, the peloton departed in a whooping mass through the Amsterdam Gates, proceeded down Morningside Drive, and made its way over to Central Park West. What followed was an epic journey down the length of Manhattan, with adrenaline barely serving to keep some of us awake after a long week.
More photos and a sadly incomplete chronicle of the trip after the jump.
Professor Jackson, clad in bike shorts astride his red Trek 700, led the brigade–like Washington D.C.’s Capitol dome, none were allowed to surpass him. The horde gushed through Central Park like a storm surge, overwhelming all cyclists unfortunate enough to be caught going the other way.
According to a TA, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff (whom Bwogger and Urban Studies geek Sara was sure she saw biking through the Village) was in charge of the City that night while Mayor Bloomberg was away. Apparently, he could reverse the flow of traffic on the avenues, but couldn’t change the alternate side of the street parking rules.
Going through Times Square was a highlight. Construction workers, along with everyone else, didn’t quite know what to make of us. Passersby cheered, took pictures, or just stared quizzically at the motley jumble.
“Is this Critical Mass?” they’d ask, referring to the monthly anarchic bike ride through cities all over the country (this month’s was actually the next night).
No, we’d answer. Just a bunch of nerdy Columbia students.
The best response to the “What is this for?” question came from a dour Professor Sam Moyn.
“Class,” he replied.
A water main broke as we went through Union Square, foreshadowing the skies breaking open when we arrived at NYU, drenching those who didn’t run for cover fast enough.
A few spirited souls led fight songs during the ride around Washington Square Park. Mostly, though, we let the NYUers get ready for their Friday classes in peace.
After streaming down the Westside highway for a while, we hopped over to the park, and rode all the way down the waterfront to the Staten Island Ferry. The bikers dismounted and ascended into the terminal in a pack.
On the boat, there was much oohing and ahhing over the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island and the Verrazano Bridge as the group crammed the front of the boat. At least one person pulled a Titanic. On Staten Island soil for a total of three minutes, much of the group spent the return trip unconscious:
The most stalwart riders returned from the Brooklyn Bridge at about 7:00 in the morning.