Attack of the large wheels: NYC edition

It was a hot summer in the big apple, Saturday, 15th of July, 2006. Hot like when you smell something burning and discover it’s your feet.
At around 1PM we all made introductions and re-introductions. David S., the lifetime dictator, Dave B (ultimate wheel dave), Adam, Brian, Ken, Nick, Joe, Teddy, and me (I hope I didn’t forget a name). All rode 36ers except Dave B. and Brian, who rode geared 29ers.

The NYC uni club gathered for their twice a month congregation at Grant’s Tomb, on Riverside Dr. There were a bunch of big wheelers here for this ride in particular, but also there was Rob, just getting his 7th, 8th, 9th, (and so on) free-mounts, and David S’s kids Fiona and Emmett, 10 and 7, who were free-mounting and cranking around merrily like they were motorized.

Some of us easily-impressed older guys watched and Brian filmed as a couple of the riders, Joe and Nick hucked the 4-step stone stairs down off the Grants’ Tomb platform. Joe nailed it 3 out of 4 that I saw, but his miss was a fairly gnarly looking rollout on the pavement. “Hey Brian, didja film that one? Good!” Maybe Joe will watch it and decide to wear a helmet. :astonished:

Not only that, but they rode up the steps as well. It actually inspired me to try and succeed at “rolling” up over a curb, first ever, woohoo! Small steps.

After not too much, well ok alot of delay, we took to the streets. From 122nd and Riverside we rode the mean streets of Manhattan’s upper west side south to 110th St. (all figures are aproximate) We hung a left and shot across avenues Broadway, Amsterdam and Columbus, alternating between sidewalk and street riding. Many strange reactions came from people upon seeing first one fast-riding big wheel and then realizing it’s a whole line of us, as we buzzed east across the city and finally came to the northwest corner of New York’s famous Central Park.

Entering the park we rolled onto the 6 mile loop bike-path and charged the hill, the whole pack of us towering over the runners and bikers and bladers. A couple stops were made so Brian could film Joe and Nick riding off these rocky protrusions on one side or other of the bikeway. A couple of low-angle, big-wheel ride-by scenes that Brian set up should end up really cool, too. I almost rode over him in one of those, but I don’t think he knows.

It was interesting to watch as Brian the film-crafter worked. A few times, someone suggested filming something and Brian would quickly explain why it’s not going to look good on film. And he himself got into the action when Adam filmed Brian ride off one of the dropoffs. And he STUCK it, too, I’d add.

After some more bikepath riding we left the park onto Central Park West. We zigged and zagged back over to the west side of Manhattan down some quieter cross streets in the hundred-teens. There we passed families out on their brownstone porches and we recieved much cheering as we razored past them on the sun-dappled street.

We twisted northward and before we knew it we were back at Grant’s Tomb and into the thick of the uni club activities. There was wheel-walking, uni-jumprope, hop-twists, custom cokers and kids with slushies. Also, there was juggling! While doing some low-level stuff myself, I saw some fantastic jugglery, up to and including a 5-club cascade, niiiiiiiice.

After meeting a friend who needed a ride north, I took ultimate-wheel Dave’s advice, and busted straight north on Riverside until I saw the signs for the George Washington Bridge. Back to Albany and ice the knee, and when I close my eyes, I’m still riding that lively Central Park bikepath.

Hey SteveYo,

Yes, it was terrific. Really good to see you and the other riders.

I was lucky enough to tag along with these Titans on Cokers (and GUNIs). These guys are fast and fearless. As for me, well I was kinda slow and timid.

These guys showed me riding way beyond my docile neighborhood rides, they added; up steps, down steps, up busy NY streets, and down rock faces in the park.

What a day it was for me. You’d have to know that I’ve lived 80 miles from NY city for 22 years and have always feared and never driven into NY city. That day I drove alone into the city, my first ever. Also this is the first time I joined a group unicyclist in a ride. Add to that I got tag along with such high skilled riders.

While the other riders weaved pass pedestrian’s and crossed streets seemingly irregardless of traffic or lights. I played catch up all the way, a bit overwhelmed by the all the people to dodge, my hesitation in judging the traffic and lights, all while taking in the whole big city scene. I mean we Coker’d NEW YORK CITY!

Yeah Central Park was great. I’ve always wanted to see. So may people, such activities; biking, roller blading, jogging, music, baseball, swimming, single folks hanging out, family picnics, and yesterday there were UNICYCLIST. It seemed sorta like a utopia within the city. Even the authorities were polite and courteous warning us when we approached a jogging only trail. And luckily Dave Stone was there to keep us attentive of the (speedy) bicyclist who’s route we were sharing. He warned us and I know at least one time kept me from playing unicycle bowling with a bicyclist group.

So much was going on, SteveYo and Dave Stone have already mentioned lot’s more. Many thanks to everyone for letting me join in the ride, and pausing to allow me to catch up often enough.

The day was Totally UNIque.

Great job, SteveYo and Chrashing Kenny to write up the day so nicely. I take it, Ken, that you made it home ok despite my help?

It was nice to see you both and to get to know you a lot better (I knew everyone else pretty well). I hope you make a return trip soon.

Steve, I think you nailed the details of our ride (you too, Ken). However, my little guy Emmett is ALMOST 7 – he’s still 6, that is. And future rider Maeve is 2. I just pulled her uni out of the other car (a 12"er!). I’m sure she’ll want to start soon!

Oops - apologies to Emmett, though I doubt he’d mind being called older than he is, if he’s anything like my kids. Good luck to Mave on her upcoming efforts!

I’m looking forward to Brian’s next film, like Steveyo, mentioned, he’s a real film-crafter. He bravely gets that expensive camera up close, and into the spokes. I’m sure he got some terrific shots, and he had other great plans in the works during his vist.

David, You gave me the key info to get back on the 9a north, from 133nd street. Getting to and from NYC was actually a breeze, with no traffic or problems worth mentioning.

Hello Steveyo,
How’s the knee doing? You know I have to mention that even with your injury, you well outpaced me.

In fact, in the park, after you went back to get your camelback, you were doubling back, we were out of sight from the road, and you passed by. You were hurrying to re-join the pack. Luckily someone spotted you, and yelled. I turned and all I saw was a yellow blur passing by. I had missed David’s speed clocking on the guni, so your riding was probably the fastest I saw that day.

First, thanks for the compliment on my speed, but I think maybe I was blurry because you had sweat in your eyes!:wink:

Knee’s OK. It’s much more irritated by the ultimate I’m playing with the kids at camp then by cycling, which has me icing it as I’m typing this. Of course, it was not ultimate but a fast UPD on my 36er that gave me this little knee ligament tweak.

i think this was my favourite filming session so far, it was great seeing you all again, and Chrashing, it was great seeing you up and riding this time!! (those who were at the NY muni weekend a few years back will remember ken wasn’t yet riding so he came running along with us on one of our muni rides)

Steve, I’m glad you could make it afterall, my tire was quite low as you mentioned, my riding was much better after pumping it up some.

Thanks especially to Adam and Renie for putting up with me all week!

It was great riding with the glidecam and not wiping out with it this time!

but…if we could all do me a favour and stop with the minute by minute details of the rest of my trip (and resulting footage), it would be nice, although it would save me from having to make a trailer for the movie :slight_smile:

don’t worry, no one gave away the coolest stuff yet…