Bike from NY to LA. The Journey has begun. Day 1 Recap

I am currently writing to you from a youth hostel in Baltimore, Maryland, about 240 miles into the trip.  So how am I feeling? Pretty good actually.  I was the most sore after Day 1 and the soreness was all in my quads and my upper-back.  Very isolated.  I feel much better now, I think as of yesterday my body is just now starting to condition to being on a bicycle all day tackling these huge-ass mountain climbs.  Can’t wait until I’m out of these. Crazy thing is, I don’t really think I’m in the appalachian mountains yet. So yeah. I have that to look forward too.

Today is the morning of the 5th day of my trip and I noticed I hadn’t blogged at all.  When I get off the road, I’m usually so tired that I have to force myself to eat dinner before passing out for the night.  Then when I wake-up, it’s time to get back on the bike.  So instead of sparring you the details, I think it might just be ideal to update you in arrears.  So, this morning I’ll give you the details on Day 1.  But I don’t have the time to get into Day 2-4 at the moment, as I really need to eat some breakfast and get out of Baltimore. Hopefully, I’ll find the time to catch-up to the current day soon. So…

Day 1 – Times Square NYC to Hillsborough, NJ:

Justin McClelland starting the iHeartCardio ride in Times Square NYC

I originally intended to start on the 15th of August, but had to hold-off until the 16th as I waiting to receive some video equipment in the mail.  Besides that it poured rain that day.  Another good reason to chill out and wait.

On the morning of the 16th, I gotta be honest. I did not feel like leaving.  You may be surprised to learn that my largest fear of this trip was getting out of Times Square and New York and away from the hectic traffic in one piece.  I really wasn’t worried about anything on this ride besides that.  Thus, when I found myself leaving the comforts of my friends place in Harlem and lugging my bike complete with stuffed panniers down the stairs to the 137th Street – City College subway stop to head to Times Square…my internal dialogue went something like this:

Inner-self: “Are you seriously gonna do this?”
Me: “Yeah, it’s too late now. I’m already too far-in to change my mind”
Inner-self: “I know you said you wanted to do this for the challenge. But WHY?”
Me: “More like. Why NOT. And stop questioning me”
Inner-self: “Traffic is going to be a bitch in Times Square. I hope you know that.”
Me: “Why do you think I’m on the train at 6am stupid”
Inner-self: “Ok. You’re going to get rained-on, chased by dogs, and a snake bite.”
Me: “I’m done talking to you. This is my stop”

Heading out at 6am turned-out to be a really good idea.  The train was lightly occupied, so I had the room to be on there with my tank/bicycle and not be too much in the way of others.  And what was amazing is that nobody asked me what the deal was with my bike or where I was headed or anything. But that’s actually one of the thing I love about NYC. It seems that everyone minds their business until it’s time not to.

This is my exact view getting off the “1” train at the Times Square stop and heading up the street.  Can’t even explain the feeling that I had during this time. I was excited/nervous/timid. That about sums it up.

Once I started out on the bike, I was extremely unsure of where I was going.  I just knew that my main objective for the day was to get as far away from New York City traffic as possible.

My GPS plan had a huge hole in it.  I initially planned on using the Google maps bicycle directions.  Things is, these (beta) bicycle directions are available thru a non-mobile browser on a laptop/desktop.  But not on my iPhone browser.  I didn’t notice this until the day before I left. Soooo, I initially resorted to using the walking directions from my Motion-X app.  I quickly learned that those directions where super dumb.  They tried to have me on the side of highways.  Soooo, my only resort was to just use the maps app on my iphone and just eyeball it.  This actually turns out to not be so bad and is a bit more fun than staying along a planned route.

I ended up going north-west up around Clifton, NJ before heading back down south-west.  This was on purpose.  I wanted to stay out of Newark and Elizabeth, both highly trafficked areas.  This method added around 10-15 extra miles, but was well worth it. After about 70 miles, I called it quits and surprisingly got a cheap rate of $57 at a relatively new Days Inn in Hillsborough, NJ.

iHeartCardio NYC to Hillsborough NJ

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You can follow along in real-time and spot exactly where I am, as I have a GPS unit that updates a Google map in real-time every few minutes.  To view it, “LIKE” the iHeartCardio Facebook Fanpage.

Also, you may contribute to the American Heart Association which is the cause I’m riding for.  100% of what you donate goes to the AHA.  You may learn more about WHY you should donate. Whether you choose to donate or choose not to, please help SPREAD the word.

Last but not least, I want to thank my equipment sponsors. GoPro and Detours.

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