All my friends learned how to ride a bicycle around the age of 5. I learned at 7, when I finally grew tired of chasing them on foot. As a teenager, my bike provided the perfect locomotive means for causing mischief. Then I got my driver’s license; a new form of mischief that gained preeminence as my bike was relegated to the garage. It wasn’t until much later, in my mid-thirties, that I experienced a rejuvenated interest in bicycles, this time as a tool for exploration and adventure.
Each journey begins with a map. First, a crude analysis of olive and sepia-shaded topographical splotches. Then the rough measurements of distance by thumb. Finally, the connecting of cities together with wayward lines. But, as the saying goes, the map is not the territory. It’s when you traverse the distance on two-wheels that you achieve a better understanding. You feel the temperature, the mileage, the ascents and descents with your body in a way that eludes the passenger in a car. The slower, self-guided pace allows you to gain a sense of the subtle, chromatic changes in geography as you inch ahead and record the information of places in your muscle and bone.
To quote Andy Robinson, a member of the Ride to Rio quartet, “On a bike you are slow enough to immerse yourself in the character of new places, but fast enough that the experience is always fresh.”
Everywhere there are networks of forgotten roads and trails lying dormant in the shadows of our highways. The primary motivation behind Velotrope is to provide a functional resource for those interested in discovering these roads and using them to escape our beloved concrete jungles for a respite; to share routes, pictures, stories, and other useful info to help get you to unique destinations and back. And most importantly, to point you in the direction of some decent grub and a cold beer after your ride.
Although I reside in Brooklyn and much of Velotrope’s material covers locations within the New York metropolitan area, my hope is to expand that criteria to include rides from different parts of the country and different parts of the world.
Reader feedback is much appreciated. Since, in practical terms, these are not rides that are done on a routine basis, updates and newly shared discoveries are always welcome.