Daily Bike Forecast — by Bike Snob NYC

February 19th, 2019: I'll Take The High Bridge

Clear and crisp weather today:

Tuesday Weather

Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 35. Wind chill values between 10 and 20. Northwest wind 9 to 13 mph.

Tuesday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25. Northwest wind 6 to 8 mph.

Sunrise: 6:45am

Sunset: 5:35pm

Enjoy it, because here's a quick look at how the next couple days are shaping up:

Wednesday Thursday Weather

And watch out for ticketing, because no doubt the NYPD will take full advantage of the lull in between wintry mixes to lend their own interpretation to Vision Zero:

Yes, this tweet appeared in yesterday's post, but it bears repeat viewing.

Meanwhile, as the days get longer you may find your thoughts turning to spring.  Sure, we've still got plenty of cold and blustery days still ahead, but this is the point in winter when it gets easier to imagine emerging out the other end of it.  Therefore, in the spirit of looking forward, recently I visited some of my favorite bits of New York City's cycling infrastructure.  So let's take a break from bemoaning all this ticketing and appreciate what we've got.  Today's selection is the High Bridge:

High Bridge

The High Bridge was reopened in 2015 after being closed for over 40 years.  First opened in 1848, it was an engineering marvel that carried water to a growing New York City, and not to get competitive or anything but it could totally beat up the Brooklyn Bridge. Strictly speaking, the High Bridge is not cycling infrastructure, but you can ride over it and that's good enough for me.  

Here's the approach to the High Bridge from University Avenue in the Bronx:

High Bridge

As you enter the little park on the Bronx side you get your first good look:

High Bridge

It's easy to see why it was Edgar Allan Poe's favorite sulking bridge.

The High Bridge is part of the Old Croton Aqueduct:

High Bridge

Which you can ride from the High Bridge all the way to Croton Dam:


It's been overrun by "civilization" in a number of spots, but the trip is well worth it:


Just make sure to buy a map from the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct (it's indispensable if you've never ridden it before), and (even more important) don't go when it's wet, because it turns to mud.

Even though the High Bridge is not technically bike infrastructure, it really should be.  From a cyclist perspective, the Harlem River Crossings between the Bronx and Manhattan mostly range from uncomfortable to extremely uncomfortable.  There's nothing to rival the sumptuous bike paths of the East River Crossings.  The High Bridge, however, is an exception: it's beautiful, totally car-free, and flanked by bike infrastructure on either end.  Unfortunately it's also technically a park, which means you don't have round-the-clock access:

High Bridge

And you can't even count on those hours; I've arrived at times only to find the gate inexplicably closed.

Still, the bridge itself is like no other in the city, with the High Bridge Water Tower looming in Manhattan:

High Bridge 5

And with views of the Harlem both downriver:

High Bridge 6

And upriver:

High Bridge 7

The High Bridge no longer carries the city's water, but the adjacent spans still carry most of the region's traffic and freight.

The bike path through High Bridge Park in Manhattan is one of the most beguiling in the whole city, and it ends all to quickly:

High Bridge

Before you know it, you emerge onto Edgecombe Avenue at at 165th Street:

High Bridge

Obviously if you're Manhattan-centric the trip also works in reverse, but not only do I live in the Bronx, but I prefer to travel the High Bridge in the direction that the water did, so there.

If you haven't visited the High Bridge yet put it on your spring riding list.