As part of my summer vacation, I was surprised with a trip to New York City. I was there last year only for a couple days and I knew I just had to get back to see all the sites. I was fortunate to spend a full day in Central Park and enjoy all the sights and sounds. I would love to share with you a ride in Central Park (and some of my pictures).
Just a bit of background ...the park was completed in 1870 and spans 843 hectares (think – Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park [at 130 hectares] times eight). It is huge! Around the park there is Central Park Drive which is open to walkers, joggers, roller bladders and of course, cyclists. Riders are a diverse group from seasoned cyclists to tourists riding rental bikes for the day. And I can’t forget the bicycle taxis!
Central Park Drive is a 6.03 mile (9.7 km) loop around the park. Set the scene by mentally taking your class participants to the park by picking the time of year (e.g., beautiful autumn leaves on trees or hot, sweltering days of summer). List things that they may see on their ride such as the outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), horse drawn carriages, lots of trees and wildlife such as extra large squirrels, numerous bodies of water (the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir), and of course, the world famous Great Lawn.
Instead of being one of the wide-eye tourists with cameras hanging around their necks, your cycle participants are the bicycle taxis drivers (see above picture) that drive tourists around the park. Cycle participants pick up a single tourist at the south east tip of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (right by The Met) and he requests a ride around the Reservoir, which is 1.58 miles (2.5 km). Assume cycle participants ride at 25 km per hour, the loop will take 7.5 minutes to complete. What cycle participants don’t know that the loop varies in terrain and there are surprises on the way! Start heading north on the east side of the Reservoir.
0-1 minutes: slight incline to the terrain; add tension stay seated
1-2 minutes: seated time trial/steady pace with one tourist
2-2.5 minutes: you run into large group of runners who are taking up most of the road; you need to dodge runners by adding tension and riding out of the saddle
2.5-3 minutes: tourist is not happy with your swerving and requests to get out; light tension on the flat
3-4 minutes: two female tourists pick up the ride at the north end of the reservoir with many heavy shopping bags; add tension to compensate for extra weight; push hard!
4-4.5 minutes: the path curves and you meet up with other bicycle taxis; to show off your excellent cycling ability, you start to pick up the pace and move into standing jog
5-5.5 minutes: you round the northwest corner and leave the other bicycle taxis behind, keep the same tension as above but sit down into saddle, remember you still have the two tourists
5.5-6 minutes: two tourists request to get out as they are heading to the Upper West Side, you let them out and turn tension back to seated time trial/steady pace with no tourists; Freedom!
6-7 minutes: you are waved down by a family of three that want to squeeze into your small carrier. They insist so you let them in. Turn up the tension and stay seated. Hold the pace to pull them to the finish of the loop.
7-7.5 minutes: You hope and pray the family wants to get out at the Great Lawn and hurry pedal your feet (increase speed) only to run into a horse and carriage that makes you want to speed even faster (increase speed).
Unfortunately, the family won’t get out at the Great Lawn and you race back to the Met and drop them off with a huff and a puff!
Feel free to modify your ride as required with the well detailed map of the Park.
Why not include some New York City Themed songs. Here is my list:
Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z and Alicia Keys (censored radio version)
I Love New York – Madonna
NY minute – Mobile
New York Minute – Eagles (good cool down song)
New York City Boy - Pet Shop Boys
Sex and the City Theme Song
Theme from New York New York – Frank Sinatra
New York Groove – KISS
New York – U2
New York City – Boney M
New York is My Home – Ray Charles
Or check out more options on Wikipedia.
I HEART NYC!
Workman's Cycle Drills & Skills
Enjoy some of my favorite cycle workout drills either in a cycle class or on your own bike at home!