Back before the Garmin I used a simple app to map routes. I didn’t get turn by turn directions but I was able to follow along and look at my phone when I needed help navigating.
I left my place in Fresh Meadows around 11:00am on a Sunday in the summer of 2014. Using the bike lanes and greenways I made my way past Flushing Meadow Park, Through Forest Park, Past Highland Park, and through Prospect Park before making my way to the greenway that runs along the Belt Parkway by the water. It was very pretty. About half the ride was along that greenway. It broke up and resumed in a few places but, for the most part, it ran continuously along the water. I had to look at the map on my phone a lot between Prospect Park and the greenway but I found my way.
I rode miles along the waterfront and it was so nice. It was a hot day but it was cooler by the water. There were benches for people to sit on and it was nice and wide so everyone could take advantage of the path. When that stretch ended I rode on the bike lanes in the streets of Brooklyn. I passed a guy riding a hybrid. He caught up to me and was chatting me up. I rode faster than he did so he couldn’t keep up with me long enough to say much and I wasn’t very interested in his company. At a stoplight he caught up to me and forgot to unclip. He fell right on me but I was able to stay upright. He was embarrassed and that was the last I saw of him. I was confused as to why a guy with a hybrid bike wearing non cycling specific clothing would want clipless pedals but who am I to judge?
The path resumed behind a cheap hotel by the beach. Remember that story I told you about how I fell on that guy in the sand? It was right there. That stretch went on for miles. Eventually I came upon a confusing junction. I stayed to the right and went over a small pedestrian bridge. I believe I was in the Rockaways. I wasn’t sure how I got there and my phone was about to die. I stopped and asked a guy on a retro road bike with cool leopard bar tape for directions. He was nice enough to lead me back. I was about to say goodbye when he requested a kiss for payment. He was cute and had a nice smile so I gave him a peck.
A few miles later the greenway came to an end and I made my way up Woodhaven Boulevard back to Forest Park. From there I took the bike lanes back home. It was a very fun first adventure that went on for about 55 miles and had me back home by late afternoon. Every time I see that jersey in my closet, old and discolored from sweat, I think of that adventure when it was vibrant and new. I went on many adventures after that, including riding through the city, which I will tell you about soon enough.
I have learned so much by exploring different places and talking to different people. Sometimes getting lost can be fun. I’ve met so many interesting people and learned so much about different lifestyles by striking up conversations when I stop to ask for directions. Go out, get lost, and have a good time!