A Low Carbon Trip to the Cup Races

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We weren’t going to miss the Louis Vuitton Americas Cup races in New York Harbor. The logical low carbon way to get there would have been to sail our boat down and back . . . but the boat is not in commission yet, and Robin has always wanted to try biking down the bike path on the west side of Manhattan, so we loaded two road bikes into the Prius on Sunday and drove the first ten miles of the way to the George Washington Bridge (my share: 2 pounds of CO2). We unloaded the bikes and rode down the top of the Palisades on Route 9W (one blown out tire, fortunately I had a spare tube and Robin knew where the bike store in Fort Lee was).

With a brisk tailwind, we made great time and could look forward to a good show with these high tech, high speed catamarans.  With a few near misses on the GW Bridge we made it to Manhattan with about twenty minutes to the first race.  Took some time to find the crossing to bike path, but it was a fun ride. We paced a Danish sailboat called Blue Bite all the way down the west side. They were bound for the Azores — we knew this because we spoke to the family crew at Haverstraw Marina on Saturday, where they were stocking up supplies and checking weather.

standandpic We caught the end of the second race, and all of the third race. The spectator area near the World Financial Center ferry terminal was close to the action, though I did have to stand high on my bike to look over the shoulders of the crowd. With a good breeze, we got to see the flying hulls and flying boats.

After the races, and hot pretzels, we took the ferry across to Jersey City (another 2 pounds CO2 for the one mile crossing — ferries are awfully inefficient as public transportation goes, less than 10 passenger miles per gallon of diesel). We biked up the boardwalks and parks of all the new condo developments on the Jersey side until we got to the Henry Hudson Drive entrance to the Palisades Park.  This narrow road took us through improbably quiet and secluded woodlands under the Palisades Cliffs right across the river from Manhattan and the Bronx. Several waterfalls in their Spring splendor enticed us to break up the uphills. waterfall  What we didn’t know is that a rockslide blocked normal access from the north end of the drive back up to Alpine and Route 9W.  Rather than backtack the whole seven miles to Edgewater, we humped our bikes (carefully) over the pile of rocks.rockpile

Tired and happy, we got back to our car at about six thirty, loaded the bikes in the back, and drove the ten miles back home (another 2 pounds CO2) for another sunset dinner on our porch.

Total greenhouse gas cost of a trip to the big city to see the races: six pounds of CO2. Seeing the cup boats in NY Harbor: Priceless.

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