Did I say that the season for long bike rides that involve the train is over? I was wrong. Yesterday, I went on yet another weekend club ride. This ride was from Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx to New Haven, Connecticut.
Cycling to New Haven in mid November might not seem like the greatest bike ride. The high temperature this time of year is in the low 50s, not 60° as it was yesterday. (We did however get some rain.) The route is reasonably long, about 77 miles from the Bronx to Union Station in New Haven, but it’s a very flat route. We followed the proposed East Coast Greenway, along Long Island Sound, with a mere 2,857 feet of elevation gain. That allowed us to keep a good pace and finish before sunset, arriving in New Haven around 4:15 PM.
Although the temperature was warm, the sky was overcast from start to finish. The threat of rain started around mile 20, and then started a light mist. Around mile 40, the mist turned to drizzle and then to light rain. Thankfully it never got worse than that. At mile 47, we ate lunch and waited out the rain. By the time, we headed out, the rain had stopped, and it never started again.
The rain, however, left some very slick road conditions. Just after leaving Fairfield, I rode around a corner and my back wheel grazed a wet steel grate, and I went down. In the summer, this would have ended my day. But because it was autumn, I landed on a pile of leaves. I had a small scrape, but that’s it. Once I brushed the leaves off my clothes and realigned my chain, I was fine the rest of the day.
The rest of the day was peppered with spills and near misses due to slippery conditions. One guy in our group also slipped as we were crossing railroad tracks east of Bridgeport. He fishtailed and then hit the asphalt. He recovered and finished the ride, but it seemed he hit the ground much harder than I. Crossing a steel bridge is hard enough on a bike, but please don’t attempt it on a rainy day. We all successfully crossed one near Stratford (I think), but not without some very scary slipping and fishtailing. Had one of us fallen, one rider speculated, we would have been bloodied by the steel grates on the bridge.
Nearing the end of the ride, the humidity and the dropping temperatures combined to create some very thick fog, especially along the shore. For a five-mile stretch, I actually took off my glasses because it was easier to ride with blurry vision than without seeing more than ten feet in front of me. We rode prudently, keeping a slow pace and with our blinky bike lights set to the solid position.