We found a good place to hire bikes near Lucy and Sean's for $20 each for four hours - much better than the $15/hr signs we'd seen closer to Central Park! And the bikes were actually better than we'd expected.
It was a perfect day - warm, blue skies, no wind... I'd been feeling a bit of ennui in Boston waiting for the tent but being back on the bike with the sun beating down it all melted away. I found myself grinning as we rode along the path.
It was the first time we'd really ridden for over a week and it felt good!! We rode down the Hudson bike path going past Chelsea piers, the former World Trade Centre site (where construction is booming!) and down to Battery Park, to gaze across the water at the Statue of Liberty.
The path 'mostly' goes around the whole island of Manhattan so we decided to keep riding around the point at the bottom and up the eastern side to Central Park. We rode under the bridges, which was just amazing, and looked across to Brooklyn instead of Jersey.
Things were going well until the lane merged back into the traffic and we found ourselves on a freeway... we must have missed a turn into the side streets... we rode the rental bikes as fast as we could on the narrow shoulder as cars honked and swerved around us. But there was nowhere to go - the road had high concrete barriers on both sides.
On our left we saw an exit - but we could hardly ride across four lanes of traffic to use it - so we kept riding.
Eventually on our right the top of the fence was missing and we were able to pass the bikes over and climb onto a pedestrian path on the water. We continued along for about 7km until the path stopped at a large set of stairs leading to a bridge over the freeway. We carried the bikes up and continued down the path again.
We ended up riding through the streets of Harlem after the path stopped for a third time with no warning. Riding around this side of the island was not as easy as we had hoped. We were running out of time and still had to get to Central Park so we rode down to W110th St and enjoyed the smooth road going through the park along with hundreds of other cyclists.
Riding around New York had been great - but it was time to go back to Boston. We said bye to another pair of terrific hosts and went to Penn Station where the Megabus would take us back 'home' to Mari and Jenny's.
While we waited for the bus Sam was approached by a man 'collecting money for the homeless'. Sam politely declined but the man kept pushing and became rude. So Sam told him to move on... some heated words were exchanged and the guy went onto other people waiting for various buses - many of them giving him money so he'd go away.
Sam went up and asked him his name and which charity he worked for - because he had no tag, official papers, wasn't giving out receipts.. the guy became angry and said his boyfriend would smash Sam. Sam said he was getting the police. The guy ran.
Sam followed him to the bathrooms where the guy locked himself in. The police were called but somehow the guy snuck out... the police set out in pursuit and Sam returned to me just in time to board our bus, which I'd been worried was going to leave without us.
While Sam was gone I'd been approached by a man claiming he was just out of jail and he had nothing - could I help?? It seems all the scammers know where to target the tourists...