NYC-By-Bike: My Jersey Shore

From a series of posts on exploring New York's neighborhoods, bike lanes and parks.
Looking at a map of New York this morning I realized in all my years of biking here, I've only biked over two of the five major bridges, the Brooklyn and the Manhattan. So I set out this morning on Day 2 of my biking NYC adventure with the goal of remedying this embarrassing lack of exploration.
Forgetting that the mid-day Brooklyn Bridge tourist traffic is horrendous, I soldiered across, relying too heavily on the delicious squealing noise produced by even the slightest touch to my cantilever breaks.
Photo 1: My favorite section of the West Side bike path - there's nothing like the rusting skeletons of former industrial spaces to make you wonder about the future basis for our region's economy.
It was another terrific sunny day with a high close to fifty and a steady breeze blowing south down the Hudson. Perfect biking weather in that it was warm enough to not wear gloves, but still cool enough so that even if you pedaled hard you wouldn't break a sweat.
I headed north towards the George Washington Bridge staying faithful to the West Side bike path aside from one brief and desperate detour to find a Starbucks bathroom. (The challenge of finding public restrooms along these routes makes me wish I were a dude).
Photo 2: The GW Bridge bike path.
After a few moments of confusion trying to locate the entrance to the bike path across the bridge,
I thought my troubles were over. According to the NYC bike map I looked at, once I got across the bridge I'd be able to follow a dedicated bike and pedestrian path along the waterfront most of the way to Jersey City.
Had I known what was in store for me, I would have taken my first encounter with Jersey's bike infrastructure as a warning, pulled a U-turn and headed straight back over the bridge. As you can see from Photo 3, the traffic sign (which happened to be turned off) is parked in such a way so it completely obstructs the pavement.
But it only got worse. After a few hundred yards half way down a steep, curving hill, the paved bike path ended and so I bravely pulled out onto the four-lane, shoulderless highway known as River Road.
As cars and semis sped past, far exceeding the 35pm posted speed limit, I consoled myself with the fact that soon the greenway would begin and I'd be off this Post Road-like deathtrap, no longer fearing for my life each time I swerved to avoid roadside debris or the frequently placed wastewater drainage grates.
But the greenway I found was miserable. It turned sharply every few-hundred feet and was paved with rounded bricks (Photo 4) that caused my bike seat to vibrate like a sex toy. Worst of all it lasted less than a mile before boxing out at the one-way entrance to a shopping mall parking garage. Biking the wrong-way out of the suburban parking lot, I was deposited back on "the River."
I could see the Manhattan skyline over my left shoulder, and I started to worry that if I didn't find a ferry terminal or a PATH station before the evening rush hour started, I would surely perish in this hostile land of big-box stores and cookie-cutter condo low-rises. Not a second too soon, I arrived in Hoboken and gratefully caught the first PATH train back to Manhattan.
Photo 5: Corny bike shot of downtown Hoboken.
I'm sure there are lovely places in Jersey to bike, but I'll definitely want to do some more research before I visit the Garden State again. Tomorrow I think I'll stick around Brooklyn and exploring the Gateway National Recreation Area.

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