Central Park

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General Information
Way Points: 

 Central Park Drive

Hank Schiffman
Signature Route : 
Region Name(s): 
New York City, Training locations
A, B, C
Vertical Gain: 
Difficulty Rating: 
3 out of 5
Attached Files

Central Park, Olmsted and Vaux’s jewel of our fair city.

4 transverses for traffic to flow east/west hidden from park users, so integrated in design that it was a couple of years riding 3 loops of the Drive for training before I realized there were 4, not 3.

Among other things, it is the land of many uses. Thus moral and ethical restrictions are on you before going full tilt on your bike.

Timing is essential. Park users are even less attuned to safety than greenway users. Descending south on the West Drive down Harlem Hill, a lad in front of me on a bike did an impromptu u turn: no signal, no looking to see who was around or behind him. Timing of this sort relied solely on chance; it saved us from a collision. People of Earth, this is a warning: do loops of the park early in the morning when fools and idiots are still in bed; you want the sort of timing you can control: train during low volume usage. Ride as defensively as you ride offensively. Consider that the first recorded motor fatality in the USA occured just outside the park.

The Park Drive was designed prior to motor traffic. Our bike speeds are closer to horse and carriage than automobile, thus are nearer to the effect of original intention. The flow we get on our bikes is a feature, not a bug.

The essential rectangle of the Drive is obscured with counter turns, creating an illusion of disorientation and making the user feel the road is theme and variation on being linear.

Hills are manageble with gearing. Repeated riding gives the rider the opportunity to learn how to juggle effort and gearing to optimize ascents, skills that apply to the riding world beyond the park.

Dedicated members of the cycling community, NYCC included, worked diligently to achieve the status we currently enjoy as bicyclists, sharing the park with diverse users. Do not jeopardize our privlege by riding like an outlier. Others will certainly do so, but we must hold the center. The ability to train legally in the heart of Manhattan is a jewel in our crown, but it is merely on loan.

6.1 miles per loop Central Park hills counterclockwise:  

                                                 miles            gain in feet     % grade

Harlem Hill:                                0.32             84'                4.4%

West Drive Hill beteen 88 & 89th: 0.15            24'                 3.0%

Cat Hill:                                      0.25            49'                 3.7%

HS 10/24/21

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