Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

30 July 2018

To The Reservoir

You come back from a trip like none you took before.  You wish you were still on it.  So what do you do?

Well, heading back to Cambodia and Laos right now isn't very feasible, at least not at this moment.  I am determined, however, to return.

So what to do in the meantime?  Well, I can take other shorter, less exotic journeys.  That's an especially good strategy when you go to someplace that, though near, you've never visited before.

That's what I did yesterday, with Bill and his girlfriend Cindy.  We went to Croton Gorge Park, about 75 kilometers from my apartment.  

Now, you don't go to a place like that for cultural experiences,  or exotic architecture or natural scenery.  You go for the same reason city folk like us were there on a nearly-perfect summer day:  It's a pleasant way to spend a weekend day.

From the main parking lot, you can ride a dirt-and-gravel trail up the hill to the aqueduct.  A lot of people think you "need" a mountain bike, but I had no trouble with it while pedaling Arielle, my Mercian Audax, shod with 700 X 28C Continental Gatorskin tires.  Bill didn't have any problem, either, on his Trek road bike.  Cindy rode a Fuji Sagres with Pasela 700 X 28 tires; she slowed down in a couple of spots only because of her inexperience in riding in such conditions.

At the aqueduct, there is a beautiful road--which, at times, turns into a wide hard-packed trail--that more or less follows the shoreline of the "lake".  Part of the road has "lake" in its name; indeed, many people refer to the reservoir as a lake because it's easy to forget that it's a manmade body of water.

The "falls" under the aqueduct were designed to stream the water, by gravity, to Manhattan.  Built between 1837 and 1842, it's believed to be the first municipal water system of its type in the United States.  At that time, most New Yorkers got their water from wells and springs, almost all of which have been filled in.  (Chances are, if a New York street name has "Brook", "River" or some other body of water in its name, it probably was just that.)  By the time the Croton system was being built, most of those water sources were already tainted, and people made the water palatable--if not safe--by adding spirits to it. (An early emphasis of the temperance movement was the provision of fresh water to the poor.) Not surprisingly, New York had rates of cholera and other water-borne diseases on par with those of places like Bombay (Mumbai).

Anyway, a short ride along New York State Road 129 took us to something called the North Country Trail, of which we rode part.  We weren't surprised to see many other cyclists, as well as hikers, along the way.  

We've made plans to go back.  I'd really like to ride the area in the fall.  

(Bill took the photos of me and Cindy; I took the others.)

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