My god, what would I do without bicycling? I’d probably have to go on some kind of medication.
My friend Nicole recently lawfully wedded Tom, although their ceremony won’t be until next spring, and they have decided, like any good married couple should, to get the hell out of New York. They will be relocating to Southern California.
As a last hurrah here in the Empire State, they planned a Labor Day weekend in Patchogue, Long Island, where they currently live, with beer at the Blue Point Brewery, bowling at the local alley, and a Saturday BBQ. I was lucky enough to be invited to this weekend of beer, bowling, and BBQ, and, like the cycling glutton that I am, I decided to add another b-word to the mix. I would bike out to Patchogue.
My route from to Patchougue was almost identical to the Ride to Montauk, except that I would only be going one-third of the distance, about fifty miles. It was a train-assisted ride because I had a doctor’s appointment in Manhattan that morning so I was figured it would be easier to start in Jamaica, shaving off some junk miles and to also bypass some Labor Day weekend traffic. I took the F train to Sutphin Blvd and biked south on Sutphin through Jamaica Center onto 109th Ave, then to 137th St, and onto Linden Blvd (which has bike sharrows). After that, I crossed Merrick Ave, which is very familiar to those of us who do the 150-mile Ride to Montauk route, out of Queens and onto Nassau county.
The rest of the route was very familiar to me. I’ve now ridden it twice and have marked it at least four times. It’s one of those routes that I can almost do without a cue sheet.
Since I was not riding very far today, I was able to stop and look around a bit more than usual. I hadn’t realized how pretty the neighborhoods were once we get past Valley Stream and off Merrick Blvd in Lynbrook. There were a few times I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to turn, but thankfully the route marks from the Ride to Montauk, including the ones Andre and I made in May, were still there.
Another nice aspect about this particular ride is that I had time for a leisurely lunch about half way through. I noticed a sandwich shop in Amityville that looked good and, boy, did it deliver. Here’s a recommendation for KJ’s Heroes in Amityville. Delicious!
The rest of the ride was a breeze, and I, of course, stopped to see my favorite swans in Argyle Lake in Babylon.
Once I got past Babylon, I picked up the pace. This seems consistent with my previous experiences on this ride. It gets easier the further east you go, except for those hills in Montauk.
I arrived in Blue Point at 4:21, nine minutes ahead of my estimated time of arrival. However, it worked out perfectly because as I rolled into the parking lot, my friends were walking in from their car. Talk about timing!
And, of course, I did get a beer or two.
Thanks to my friends, Nicole and Tom, and good luck out west. I really admire your courage to take a plunge like this. I hope to do something like myself in the near future.