Friday, June 29, 2007

The Langster goes to the Hook

I finally got around to getting a ride in today. I spent the morning taking care of expenses and running errands. One of the errands was to stop by the gas station that towed my car last Friday and damaged my front bumper. Unfortunately the manager was not available even though I had told him I would be in today. I will have to go back on Monday morning.

I have been planning to ride out to Sandy Hook for the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately I usually changed my plans and rode a different route. Today was the day that I finally got out on to the Hook. I think my ride today was probably about 40 miles all together. This was probably the best ride I have had on the Langster so far.

If I go directly out to Sandy Hook from my house it is not really that far. Probably less than 10 miles. So I decided to take an indirect route out. For the most part I followed my usual route through Holmdel. Holland Road to Telegraph Road to Crawfords Corner to Holmdel Road. I rode through Middletown and made my way over to Navesink River Road.

I do not really like to stop to take pictures but I feel the need to document the ride. I decided to stop at the turnout before crossing over the Oceanic bridge into Rumson. This is an area filled with $10 million plus houses. There are a couple of new ones going up. It is just amazing how big these houses are. While I cannot afford the houses I can enjoy the wooden sailboats that are always moored in the cove during the summer months.

Once I got over the Oceanic bridge I cut through the Rumson and made my way over to Sea Bright where I picked up RT 36. I took RT 36 up to the entrance of Sandy Hook (Gateway National Park). Originally I got on the bike path. I notice two cyclists coming the other way and I was wondering why they were not using the bike path. Eventually I found out.

The path is very curvy and at first it is kind of fun. However, there is a lot of sand and stones on the path that make if very slippery. There are also cross walks that lead from the parking lots to the beach. It also goes through some wooded areas and the path is heavily covered with leaves. After a couple of miles of this I decided to bail over to the main road. This worked out much better.

The road on Sandy Hook is two wide lanes in each direction that forms a hair pin. It is an out a back route but it is pretty much flat. At one time Sandy Hook was a Army Base that protected the entrance to New York Harbor. Until recently the Coast Guard was a major presence but I think the base has been closed for the last couple of years. The buildings have been put to other use.

The Port of NY/NJ requires that ships coming into the port take on a Harbor Pilot. The ships anchor in the Atlantic off the coast of Sandy Hook and wait for an available Harbor Pilot. The pilots are located on Sandy Hook and take small boats out to the ships. I read an article about them in the Newark Star Ledger acouple of years ago. I guess the job is tough during bad weather and rough seas since the Pilots have to climb up rope ladders to get onto the ships.

Since the weather was not that great today the only people on the beach were the die hards. Certaintly not the massive crowds that can be expected over the next couple of days. This next week will be busy beach days on the Jersey Shore.

One thing I noticed right away was how much the salt in the air attached itself to my skin. I started to feel it on my skin as soon as I entered the park. The same thing happens when I ride along the beach in Long Branch but to a lesser extent.

I really had not decided how I was going to get back home from Sandy Hook. Eventually I decided that I needed to buy a frame pump so I decided to climb up to Scenic Overlook and take the back road down into Atlantic Highlands which where Tom's Atlantic Cyclery is located.

I had stopped by Tom's Atlantic Cyclery in the morning but I was really just killing time waiting for the weather to clear. I was sort of hoping they might have had a couple of the 2008 Specialized bikes in stock. I am really waiting to see the new Langsters. So far I have bought at least something at every shop I have gone to. Most of the purchases are little things like tubes or tools. On my first trip to the shop I forgot that I wanted to get a frame mount pump so I decided I would swing by on the Langster.

I selected a small carbon pump in the store. They guy who sold it to me said that he would install it for me. I have been carrying CO2 but I have never used it before and I do not want to learn how use it while I am sitting on the side of the road. I figured it will take both cartridges the first time I use it and then I am going to be in trouble. Since I carry two tubes with me I guess it only makes sense that I would carry two methods for inflating the tires.

There are two ways I could get back to my house from Atlantic Highlands. One way is mostly flat and the other way has the longest climb I have ever rode on the Langster. I was feeling good so I took the way with the long climb. I had scoped it out in the morning and I had decided that it might a little two hard. While it was challenging I still was able to get to the top pretty quickly. I am very proud of myself.

1 comment:

brettok said...

good stuff.... hey check out Josh and my new SS blog,

we'd love you to contribute to it if u like.