Frequently Asked Questions on Kayak Commuting

Here is what the Oru kayak plus all my gear look like loaded up on the bike.  While the kayak is not all that heavy, it is a bit awkwardly shaped for my rack.  Coincidentally, it fits perfectly squeezed under my seat and tends to stay put when secured using bungee cables.

Here is what the Oru kayak plus all my gear look like loaded up on the bike. While the kayak is not all that heavy, it is a bit awkwardly shaped for my rack. Fortunately, it squeezes under my seat just right and tends to stay put when secured using bungee cables.

Last Friday I loaded the Oru Kayak onto my bike in the morning for only the second time and headed out to work.  It was to be my first round trip kayak commute.  Given the tricky logistics of a one-way kayak commute, I was very much looking forward to getting in some more paddling without having to carry the kayak half a mile into my office first.  Predictably, the process of setting up and dismantling the boat in Manhattan always attracts a crowd of curious onlookers with myriad questions.  I’ve also gotten quite a few questions from friends and colleagues both online and in real life.  Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions I’ve received.

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My First Kayak Commute

Family kayak trip in the Croton River.

Adventure Sunday kayak trip in the Croton River with family and friends.  We had remarkably beautiful weather for the kayak portion of our adventure on an otherwise rainy day.

In the previous post, I described the genesis of the idea of a kayak commute and some of the initial steps taken towards bringing that idea to reality.  I acquired an Oru folding kayak, went out on a guided trip across the Hudson, and honed my kayaking skills with family and friends.  The foundation had been laid for me to complete my first solo kayak trip across the Hudson as part of my daily commute.

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The George Washington Bridge and the Differences in NY and NJ Cycling

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The George Washington Bridge spans not only a great river, but also a great difference in attitudes towards cycling.

Due to a quirk of our nanny situation, I was freed from having to take my daughter to school this morning.  I took advantage by taking the long way to work over the George Washington Bridge and through New Jersey.  The ride reminded me of how different attitudes towards cycling are in New York and New Jersey.  As difficult as it can sometimes be to cycle in New York City, you only need to cross the river to realize how great we have it on this side of the Hudson.

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Bike MS NYC (Almost) Century Ride Part II: The Fun Part

Yesterday I started a post about last Sunday’s Bike MS NYC ride.  I signed up for the century (100 mile) option, despite the fact that I had never ridden anywhere near 100 miles, and the last time I had ridden for so long was at last year’s Bike MS NYC, when I completed the 55-mile route.  If you haven’t already read the first post, I suggest you start here then come back.  At the end of the last post, I described how the day started off rather inauspiciously, due to both the unexpected rain and the fact that I was already sore from a 4-mile run to pick up my rider packet at the last moment.  This post picks up where the last one left off, as I headed to the starting line on my bike.

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A packed starting line on a rainy day at Bike MS NYC 2013.

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Bike MS NYC (Almost) Century Ride Part I: An Inauspicious Start

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Lined up at the start line.

Yesterday I participated in Bike MS NYC.  With over 5,000 participants, it is the largest charitable fundraising bike ride in New York City.  They offer three routes, a 30 mile loop around Manhattan that is closed to traffic, and 55 and 100 mile options that are mostly on open roads through New Jersey’s Hudson and Bergen counties and New York’s Rockland county.  All routes start and end in Midtown on the Far West Side.  Last year I completed the 55-mile route, which takes one just past the NJ/NY border into Tallman Mountain State Park.  This year I opted to try the century ride, which just barely makes it into Harriman State Park, at the foot of Bear Mountain.

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Accidents Happen

I’ve hesitated to post thus far about this unfortunate side effect of bike commuting.  Bike commuting has so many great things going for it, and I fear that even mentioning accident or injury might dissuade someone on the fence from ever trying it out.  But for whatever reason, the past month or so has been unlucky for me on the injury front, so I’ve decided to write about it.

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Hudson River Greenway Extended to Tip of Manhattan

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New wayfinding signs inside Inwood Hill Park point users in the right direction between the Amtrak Bridge and the Henry Hudson Bridge.

Every once in a while the city does something to make me feel like they care about me.  Today is one of those days.  On my morning ride through Inwood Hill Park, I found a crew of about 3 workers putting up signs designating my usual route as an official extension of the NYC Greenway – Manhattan Waterfront.

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