Two weeks ago we decided to do a mini-tour to the Bronx, New York to help Tanya Fields, founder of the Blk Project break ground for their brand spankin’ new garden location! Tanya Fields and her organization can be found here.
This is the event we are participating in:
Tanya is a powerhouse of a woman. Her organization “seeks to address food justice and economic development by harnessing the local, good food movement….[T]hrough culturally relevant education, beautification of public spaces, urban gardening and community programming …. [We} enrich the lives of women who are routinely overlooked and overburdened, yet serve an important and critical role in the larger fabric of society…”.
We couldn’t pass up this opportunity to help a great purpose, so we decided that we would bicycle the 83-miles to the Bronx from Hamden, CT. How bad could it be?
Well, It’s a wet hell out there. (***** Attention: This post was written at 6:45 am after a fitful nights of sleep, we are a bit sarcastic, worn and tired, the day wasn’t THAT BAD, we actually had lots of fun, but if it doesn’t shine through, blame the hour*****)
The plan was to arrive at 8:30 and be on the road by 10AM. It was a shaky start, we didn’t actually leave until like 10:40, but with our rain gear in tow we set out following our trusting Garmin Tour Edge, GPS. Which definitely takes some getting used to. Thought we were going to die on some critical parts of the trip. We probably spent about an hour just going circles, in retrospect.
We celebrated at each town we crossed, with our heads held high and our asses off the seat. We felt like bosses as we road over a bridge into Stratford, that’s when the rain gave us everything it had in store, little did we know it would get worse.
Despite the downpour of rain that greeted us as we arrived in Bridgeport, we felt that we could meet our 6 PM window to be in Pound Ridge, NY where we had a Warm Showers host waiting for us at their cozy home. Our hopes dwindled when we noticed that Seth had a flat.
This couldn’t have happened in a better city! The residents of Bridgeport really shined in our time of need. As the Walmart-bought tire pump detonated in Seth’s hand, a smiling resident pointed us towards Spokes & Wheels, a bike shop. With the help of some Brideport-ites we arrived in one piece.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the owner’s of this shop.
These guys would have been more at home selling Choppers than cycles, but they knew their shit. They let us fill up our tires, purchase a bike pump and gave us the following: Candy, granola bars, a discount on the bike pump, a new water bottle and a whole lotta energy and support!
Then we started to push it a little harder, kidding ourselves that we could beat the sunset to reach our destination in New York. It was about 6:20PM when we set off with a 12.5 mile per hour pace to NY. The next tip off we got around 7:30, was that it was a 30 minute drive by car. Apparently our touring specific GPS found no problem sending us on a 5 mile path through a whirlwind of cars racing home on a winding upward road.
Shout out to the fog: It looked like Sleepy Hollow! We were set to become headless horsemen. In fact, our steads tenatively named: Zesty Calzone and JasLeaveIt pulled us towards our future salvation.
“Are you collecting cans” Came a smokey voice from a dark side from the house.
“No, we are going to Pound Ridge!” We said.
“Well, Pound Ridge is about 30 minutes up the road……….by car.” The man said.
Michael, the voice from the dark, advised us that were were some $100 hotels about 3 miles down the road. Jasmine’s cheap penny pincher nature frowned at the idea, immediately. Killing Seth’s buzz of a comfortable nights sleep. In about a few minutes, the man offered his tent to us for the night.
It was heavy so he graciously went out of his way to drive it down the road to our location, the woods behind a middle school, sandwiched between a quiet neighborhood.
We thanked him profusely and set off into the darkness to set up the tent.
We found a spot, cleared it out and looked at the tent before us.
We couldn’t be sure if it was big-top circus tent or an army surplus canvas!!
But when we popped it open we were both shocked to see the spidery limbs of this self-erecting tent! Within moments we had easily popped that sucker up in total darkness!
Fatigued, we collapsed inside.
What followed next was that bizarre lull between, sleep, dream, nightmare and waking day. Sleep should have come easily, however every time we closed our eyes we were haunted with the feeling of being back on our bikes. Seth felt like his feet were still on the pedals, but jammed. And Jasmine felt like she was teetering on a shaky bike. Physically, we were anchored to the ground.
Simply, it was a fitful night’s sleep.
In the dark eve on the next morning, Jasmine noticed rain droplets splattering on her sleeping bag and dampening the corners of the tent. It was 4 AM.
We woke, packed and welcomed the cold sheet of rain on our cold bodies. We dropped the tent off and drowsily made our way back towards the town of Norwalk, where we had stayed for the night.
Just our luck we found the Dunkin Donuts where we penned this post today and a laundromat to dry our wet things.
The question is: We are 45 miles from the Bronx, with no place to stay on Friday evening and an obligation to be at a soon-to-be community garden Saturday at 10 AM, what are we to do?