Central Park Paceline with a Citi Bike

This might have been the dumbest ride ever. It was a New York Cycle Club ride in Central Park using Citi Bikes. We were going to use our pacelining skills and see how quickly (or slowly) we can do a 6.2-mile lap on the Central Park drives. It was even listed as an “A” ride with a 10-mph pace. In a sense, we were slumming it, but it also an unscientific test of the Citi Bike equipment. And as silly as this ride seemed, I woke up at 6:00 AM today to ride this very casual “A” ride.

NYCC Citibike Paceline

The ride must have seemed silly to a lot of other people because there were only five people signed up and one of them dropped out. But our diminished turnout was to our advantage because finding a bike near the south end of Central Park was challenging. The station at 6th Avenue and 59th Street was empty so we had to find bikes at the nearby station at Grand Army Plaza. I had picked up a bike near Grand Central Terminal and rode to the park. After checking my bike in and out, we headed into the park for our morning ride.

Things moved along pretty well. There was no shortage of roadies speedily weaving in and out at with no audible warnings of their approach. (Now I remember why I don’t ride laps in Central Park.) We handled the hills pretty well, except that we had to wait for a couple of riders after climbing Harlem Hill with a forty-five pound bike. One rider, who was a club member but was not part of our group, stopped and recognized that we were part of the Citi Bike Central Park Paceline ride.

The ride took us about thirty-two minutes to complete the 6.2-mile loop, including the time we spent stopped in the park. This is about eight minutes longer than what it used to take me when I rode around in circles there years ago. A typical “A” rider can probably do a lap in about 15 minutes.

After finishing my first “A” ride with the club, I pedaled down to Grand Central Terminal to catch a subway train back to Queens. I needed a shower and a nap. Waking up at 6:00 AM for a silly, 6.2-mile ride was just too early.

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