October 29, 2012
HUNKER DOWN AND CONTEMPLATE CHANGING THE WORLD
As Hurricane Sandy makes her way to the New York Tristate area, the city and surrounding communities are shutting down.
In some locations winds have reached 90 mph before the storm even reaches the shores of Southern New Jersey, with average gusts at 45 and 50 mph, making most travel hazardous.
The George Washington Bridge pedestrian and cycling path has been closed, and the Brooklyn Battery and Holland Tunnels are going to be closed to all traffic by 2 PM today.
In New York, the Metropolitan Transit Authority shut down its entire system starting at 7 PM last night, with subways first, followed by buses, then the Long Island Rail Road, Metro North lines, and finally the New Jersey PATH at midnight.
Most schools were canceled, the stock market did not open, and many businesses are closed for at least today. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at noon that all public schools will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday as well.
Power has been turned off in sections of Long Island, and parts of New Jersey and Maryland that run along side the ocean.
Essential businesses such as supermarkets and drug stores are still open, but all water supplies have been exhausted in the major stores. New York schools will not reopen until Wednesday, and the MTA does not expect to reopen until 12 hours after the end of the storm passes, now predicted to be midday Wednesday.
Vehicles were sparse on the streets in New Jersey this morning, because all night long on Sunday newscasters made dire predictions about the impact of Sandy who was heading up from the south, and due to hit land around midnight tonight.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued an evacuation order for all low lying areas of the five boroughs, as did Governor Christie for many of the beach fronted areas in New Jersey. The Mayor said that anyone in Zone A areas (see map) should get out of those areas immediately.
Early this morning, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that regulates the George Washington Bridge closed the pedestrian and cycling path across the bridge, and have indicated that if winds increase, the bridge may also be closed to motorized traffic.
In New Jersey, people used the day off from work to get an extra work out at the gym, and the lanes at the Jewish Community Center pool were overwhelmed with swimmers. Still, traffic on the roadways is fairly light, as wind gusts reach 40 to 45 miles per hour, and loose branches and limbs are being tossed onto roadways.
Many people in New York and New Jersey are taping their windows, and in the low-lying areas, surrounding their homes with sandbags, and nailing boards over their windows.
Stay tuned for more news on bridge closures. But seriously folks, try to stay indoors.
TIME TO HUNKER DOWN AND CONTEMPLATE
But it’s an ideal time to hunker down at home and do your New Year’s Resolutions early about how you are
going to help make cycling safer and better for everyone.
Obviously, it is not advised that you venture out in the storm on your bicycle. Here are some things to contemplate while you are stuck at home:
(1) Did you donate to a worthwhile cycling cause this year? It still isn’t too late. Many of these organizations really need your help so they can make roads safer for cyclists. Here are some of our top ranked favorites:
- The New York Bicycling Coalition: Based in NY State, this organization depends solely on membership. Run by Brian Kehoe, the NYBC helps communities identify better ways to structure their roads, paths and byways to ease the conflict between drivers and cyclists. Become an NYBC member today!
- Transportation Alternatives. Okay well, you know we don’t always agree with TA, but they are the best thing going for New York City cyclists today, yesterday, and tomorrow. If you don’t belong, and you’re a cyclist, you’re a schmoe! This group is partially responsible for many of the changes in city
cycling, and will continue to do so even long after Janette Sadisk Khan, the current darling helming the NYC Department of Transportation, leaves along with the Bloomberg administration.
- Recycle A Bicycle. Hey, if you haven’t heard of these guys, where you been? This is one of the greatest groups ever formed in the city to help recycle old bikes and give them or sell them at a small price to people who can use them. That’s really important if you are starting a kid’s bike team. So GIVE to Recycle A Bicycle, if not money, then at least your old bike!
- Cyclists International. Yes, we hate to blow our own horn, but we are self-supporting. That means all reporting and admin costs are paid out of a not for profit budget! To make a donation to CI, email firstname.lastname@example.org!
- League of American Bicyclists. This is the group that brings you the bike summit every year, providing a forum for all of the great minds in cycling advocacy in the United States to get together and find news ways to get the difficult job done of making our roads safer. You should either join LAB, and or consider a trip down to the summit next March 4-6, 2013 in Washington, DC.
- New Jersey Bike Walk Coalition.Recognizing that making streets more accessible to cyclists also
means making it safer for walkers, the NJBWC holds a summit each year to discuss ways to make this happen in your community. But they also need real help in getting things done, so DONATE NOW!
- Bike New York. Run by Ken Podziba, previous Commissioner of Sports under the Bloomberg administration, Bike New York runs the Five Boro Bike Tour every year. Last year was the biggest ever, and they even added the Bike Expo New York, so that cyclists and retailers could get together under one roof. We went and it was a blast! But BNY also is the number one bicycle skills training organization in New York City, and their programs depend entirely on private funding. So please give to Bike New York!
In addition to joining all these great advocacy organizations, you might consider joining a local bicycle club. What do they do for you? They help motivate you to get on your bike and ride, provide useful instruction, and open your world to new friendships with other cyclists.
In New Jersey’s Bergen County, the primary cycling club is Bicycle Touring Club of North Jersey, but there is also the North Bergen based Tenafly Road Dawgs, a private group that holds very fast training rides every morning starting in the tony town of Tenafly, NJ.
Here are a list of the clubs:
NEW YORK CITY
- Century Road Club Association. Racing, training, and youth development teams in this over-600 member group. Sponsors weekend races in Central Park and Prospect Park, as well as some out in Queens. CRCA was one of the clubs that had 6-day racers back in the day.
- New York Cycle Club. This group not only holds rides, but they also get involved in advocacy on a limited basis. Year end parties add to the fun. If you join you might be able to win a trip to Mallorca,
Spain for training camp!
- Five Boro Bicycle Club, (5BBC). Although there is some overlap between the two clubs, Five Boro has some memorable rides. Starting with the Montauk Century which takes riders out to Montauk, Long Island every summer, the club hosts many exciting weekend trips like the Seagull Century in Maryland, held in October, the Slaves of Sleepy Hollow, Farm Jazztastic Queens, and Clearwater Hudson River Revival, just to name a few. So many good folks from 5BBC, there is really no reason not to join!
- Tenafly Road Dawgz.This private club operates mostly out of Tenafly New Jersey, but it’s the best bet in North Bergen for fast training rides, and motivation to race in bike and tri events. If you’re looking for a slow ride, don’t look here however. Though the 9 AM ride is generally more easy-going that the hard-driven 6 AM ride. They have a great party each year, and the more you ride, the more you will
get roasted in their annual video.
- Bicycle Touring Club of North Jersey. We haven’t spent much time riding with this group, but we have spoken to some of the members. You missed the annual new member dinner (held yesterday) but you can still make it for the yearly party, and the club’s not to be missed Ramapo Rally that takes you through the hills of New Jersey.
- Other clubs are listed according to their location on the Department of Transportation site., and racing clubs can be located through the USA Cycling site.
While you’re at it, if you don’t have an indoor trainer, now is the time to consider buying one. With global warming paradoxically becoming the norm, you can expect more storms like this one in the future.
Happy Indoor Cycling!