PHOTO ESSAY:CYCLING FROM NEW YORK CITY TO MONTAUK
I remember that punishing day like it was yesterday. I had been in New York for over a year and had explored all five boroughs extensively on my bicycle. I always believe the best way to adjust to a city is by going out and exploring the surrounding, and it’s even more fun if you have a group of friends to bomb around with.
Nothing was on the calendar for that week in early September, 2013, My wife was photographing a wedding and I was at a loose end. Time to come up with a plan, something involving a bicycle ride, a long ride, hell, let’s see if I can ride 100miles in one day. Hang on, I’ve done that on several occasions before, but on a Single Speed bike I haven’t.
Firing up the most visited website on my browser, google maps, I knew in an instant where I was going. As the page rendered over Long Island my eyes traced over the roads to the picture perfect seaside town of Montauk. 121 miles away from my apartment in Brooklyn. Let’s do this!
Riding 121 miles wasn’t the only challenge I set myself, I also wanted to document my ride in photographs. The idea was simple. Every half hour I would stop and take a photo. Easy? No. It’s far harder than it sounds, just the idea of stopping, getting the camera out, taking a photo and then having to start up again is so demoralizing when you have so many miles to cover. But still, I persevered and came out with a rather
interesting, fascinating ‘American’ set of photos. Judge for yourself.
Photos taken with a Fujifilm Natura Classica on Kodak Portra 800 film.
Terrain and Route
The majority of this route is as flat as a pancake with only a couple of small climbs near Montauk. Once you escape the clutches of Queens it’s a relatively easy route to follow.
I took a pretty dull route down the center of Long Island, Starbucks, Subway, Gas Station…. Starbucks, Subway, Gas Station…… . Traffic on a Sunday was very light along the HW25, and for the most part it either has a wide shoulder or bicycle lanes. Things improve for bikes once you get to Hampton Bay as there is a bicycle route along H.W 80 and 27. (Follow the bicycle route signs).
I’ve heard there’s a good bicycle route along the coast from Babylon to Montauk (85 miles) but unfortunately I couldn’t find a safe route from Queens to Babylon. I guess I could have taken a train there.
Transport back to NYC
Good news, you can take your bicycle on the long Island Railroad for a $5 bicycle permit. Exchange the temporary permit at a station for a free lifetime bicycle permit.