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Well, it actually happened. After all the time spent dreaming and pretending, I'm now on a bike heading in one direction with no intention of turning round. And, indeed, nothing to turn back for. In the USA, I am in that category of 'no fixed address' - that's a though I'm still coming to terms with.
I started relatively early, but not perhaps as early as I should have. Opting to hang out with some great people in Brooklyn on Saturday night was definitely the right choice though - it managed to de-stress me so much that I was able to at least make the most of the 3 hours I had to sleep. So, after minimal shut-eye and more last minute packing and apartment cleaning, I managed to get out my front door by 9am. It took me seemingly forever to get through Manhattan and up the west side to the George Washington Bridge - a leviathon of a structure, proudly spanning the Hudson at the very north tip of the island.
It's Saturday evening in New York...and I'm still in New York. I just ended up being under-prepared for a departure this morning, and luckily my roommate allowed me to stay an extra day. But worry not, I'm perfectly on course for leaving tomorrow.
My head swims with emotions and feelings I can't articulate. I am at once electrified and terrified; positive and doubtful. My mental state is struggling to deal with the logistics of packing everything I own onto a bike, combined with planning a trip into the unknown. It is pushed to breaking point when I actually consider the realities of what lies beyond the front door.
But this is my dream. Undoubtedly I have been unsuccessful in some key areas of my organisation, and it is a matter of fact that I will fail in many more over the coming days and weeks. But isn't this the learning curve? I sure hope so. The happiest I have been in the last few days has been on my practice rides, with various stages of a fully loaded bike. This comforts me no end. I am prepared for loneliness, discomfort, uncertainty and fear. I have been dealing with them to a certain degree during my planning stages. But wait...I am also ready for exhilaration, euphoria, experiences that will blow me away. The two-edged sword of the 'unknown' I guess.
Anyway, enough of this....I shall depart for real tomorrow...updates soon....
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Don’t listen to what anyone says. It is a magical place, full of unique sights, sounds, smells, people. I don’t think there’s anywhere else quite like it, and this is something to be thankful for. A couple of days ago I was blessed with a rare morning off from the normal rigours of my current routine, and I decided that instead of my standard morning cycle, I would make the trip that thousands of New Yorkers do every year when the sun reappears in the sky – I was headed for Coney Island.
I awoke early enough to avoid fellow revelers who had a similar idea of sun, sand and sea, but I couldn't avoid the Brooklyn Rush Hour Traffic. My route takes me from down Myrtle Avenue until I hit Vanderbilt –a street that transforms midway from a pothole-ridden nightmare full of badly parked cars, into a road characteristic of why Brooklyn is becoming a veritable biker’s inner-city paradise. A broad cycle path leads me smoothly to the Grand Army Plaza. Consisting of concentric circles arrange as streets, this is not only the Brooklyn equivalent of the Arc d’Triompe, but also forms the entrance to Prospect Park.
So here it is - I will be spending the coming months with a bike named...Lola! Quite the turn around after it looked like it was definitely going to be a Billy - but there you go. Obviously the Lola fans came out en force right at the end. As entertaining as Billy is, I think I probably prefer Lola - it seems like less of a joke name! Plus, as I said before, when I'm in that delirious, half crazed, just-cycled-hundreds-of-miles-on-my-own kind of state that I'll inevitably reach, it'll be nice to have a song to sing to my bike. You all know the song, right? If not check it out here. (I never thought I'd be posted links to songs by the Kinks on my website, but here we are...another positive to come out of the naming competition!)
Anyway, thanks so much to everyone who suggested names and took part in the poll - I'm kind of astounded that over 300 people voted on it! That really makes me happy, so thanks guys.
Three people suggested Lola originally - Vanessa, an anonymous submission from this website, and my Mum! So a special thanks to you three, good choice.
Keep an eye on the site over the next couple of days, there's definitely some fairly big news coming. Until then here's a couple more photos from New York.
It's true, I do care about the lovely people that read this blog, and I do feel shamefully guilty that I don't update it more often but the truth is that at the minute, there just isn't that much going on. Well, nothing that is directly relevant to this expedition anyway. The main reason for that is that there's so much other stuff going on in my life, The Cycling Reporter planning has bee confined to the back seat. This won't be the case forever, but please bear with me while it is.
I don't want to bore you with stories of what I had for breakfast (Maple syrup and brown sugar flavoured oatmeal, sprinkled with a handful of raisins and some sliced banana) but I'll share some of my highlights from my last week or so in NYC.
Sorry for the delay since my last post. I've been pretty busy, but I guess I've also been pretty lazy in not posting! Update wise, there's not a huge deal to mention. I've been thrown in the deep end with work here, and it's a lot of fun. I'm starting to get to know my way round parts of the city, and finding good hang out spots. The tourist attractions have on the whole still eluded me so far, but I'll catch them soon I'm sure, and right now I'm happy just to be living and working here - it's nice to feel more like a local every day! It's also pretty cool when I get given errands to run such as 'Just drop this off to the Empire State Building, will you?' So work in Manhattan is great, and living in Brooklyn is also going well so far. It means a 40 minute commute to the production company everyday, but it's kinda nice in a way - without wanting to sound cliched, Brooklyn feels more 'real' than Manhattan. That doesn't explain it very well, I'll think on it and write more when I can articulate it. They're both amazing places to spend time though, so I guess I'm lucky to be able to.
The down side is that it seems impossible for me to stop spending money. Even if I have everything I need for the day, somehow I still manage to spend something somewhere. Frugality is slowly taking hold again however, so it should just be a matter of time before I learn how to survive here without having to pay for it. It's definitely an expensive city though - I guess I just overlooked that. But still, fun to be had on every corner, you can't really put a price on that, eh?!
The expedition side has kinda had an enforced break since the move, and I restarted it sluggishly by sending out a few emails and making a couple of calls. It's not much, but a start. I have been spreading the word to the people I've met here so far though, so hopefully I can build some interest in the trip from there. I've got a positive reception about it, and I'm learning a lot about the documentary process every day through the production company I'm with. I guess that means once I get myself organised and proactive again, everything will start sliding into place.
There should be some good news related to the expedition coming at the weekend, so keep an eye out for that, but until then I won't bore you with any more details of my day to day life - I'll write again when I've formed some coherent thoughts about NYC. Perhaps it's still just a little to fresh for me to express how I'm finding it yet - we'll see. Meanwhile, here's a few more snaps. They're mainly of Brooklyn - a few on the Bedford-Stuyvesant area where I live, and some more on and around the Brooklyn Bridge. The uploading process isn't going very smoothly, so it's rather a random selection, but I'll put up the others at a later date.