Biking: First Day Observations

Although Brooklyn and biking seem to go hand in hand, I never jumped on that band wagon. I rode a bike around my suburban neighborhood as a kid, I’ll ride when at the beach or doing a winery tour in Argentina (because that’s safe), but since I moved to Brooklyn 1.5 years ago I have never thought of getting a bike. Well, that’s a lie. I’ve thought about it, and then realized how scared and amateur I would feel. So, I’ve stuck to what I know well – public transportation and walking.

Until this month. When my sister and I were in Portsmouth in the beginning of August our awesome hotel had bikes for guests to borrow. We took them around town, riding along the water, through the residential area, to breakfast, and on to a little island. It was a fast, fun way to explore the city, allowing us to discover things we probably would not have on foot. I thought, “Hey, how convenient would this be in Brooklyn.. riding to the store, the gym, friend’s places, the park, work.. so much faster than walking and so much nicer than the subway.” Since then I’ve been doing some research, ie asking all my biking friends what they think. My friends run the gamut – from casual Kmart to fancy $4,000 and everything in between. I realized there were a lot of important features I needed to know about – road bikes vs cruisers, gears vs no gears, the height, the fenders, the wheels, how old and heavy (I live on the 4th floor of a walk up) is it, does it need work done?

After a couple weeks of online shopping and asking friends and families tons of questions, I went to check out a Pacific Shorewood Cruiser I found on Craiglist. It was within my price range, had all the features I wanted, and was super cute! I took it for a test drive and was sold. Today I rode to work for the first time, a little over 3.5 miles, and it was awesome. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought, and in fact felt really comfortable. I have a lot to learn about bike etiquette and do’s and don’ts, but here are my first day observations and questions:

  • On days I decide to ride to work, my commute will be cut by 15-20 minutes.
  • Cars actually seem to be aware of bikers, even on streets with no bike lanes. Brooklyn is sure to be better about this than Manhattan, though. Or maybe I was in the way of traffic and they were being nice? I’ll have to figure that one out.
  • Who has the right of way when you’re in the bike line and you’re going straight but traffic is making a turn in front of you?
  • How closely do bikes have to follow traffic laws? Is it OK to go through a red light if there are no cars coming in the opposite direction?
  • I don’t care how many vents your helmet claims to have to prevent you from getting hot, your head will still sweat.
  • I will be slower than most bikers at first, although I was glad to see that all bikers go at different paces.
  • Related to above, what’s the etiquette on bike passing?
I dropped my bike off to get tuned up and realized I am going to miss it for the next few days. I see the start of a great relationship.
M

The Great Googa Mooga Festival

The Great Googa Mooga Festival went on this past Saturday and Sunday in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. What is Googa Mooga? The definition according to the event’s website:

The Great GoogaMooga: n. an amusement park of food & drink; adj. something wonderfully great; excl. “oh my goodness!” or “how bout that!”

Googa Mooga

General admission tickets were free, but you had to register for them, and choose one of the 2 days to attend. Or you could pay $250 for “Extra Googa Mooga,” which included free stuff. It was the first time this festival went on, but the hype was huge, proven by the press both leading up to and at the event (a Food Network interview happened right next to us), and the high number of well known eateries, breweries, wineries, musical artists, and well known contributors (Anthony Bourdain!). I attended Saturday, along with thousands of other people looking for food, drink, sun, music, and fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were a LOT of complaints by some of the attendees, especially voiced on the Googa Facebook page, mainly about the crowds, extremely long lines for food and drink, confusion about having your ID checked, how to purchase drinks, and the sparse cell phone service. My friends and I experienced all of this – it took us awhile to figure out where to go just to purchase a drink, and we moved lines 3 times before figuring out we were in the right place where we then waited over an hour to get a beer, the whole time not receiving phone calls, and our text messages taking extra long to go through.

Fun for all ages!

But it didn’t really matter to us; we were there to enjoy each other’s company, the (very) warm weather, and the experience. We also know there are kinks to work out, some of which they even did for the 2nd day. While in the beer line, we took turns waiting in the food lines. Once we finally figured it all out and got our drinks and food, a couple hours after arriving, we set up shop on our blanket next to some other friends. For the next few hours we enjoyed some of the best things of summer – being with friends, playing cards, eating and drinking, listening to live music, and soaking up the sun. If a couple of us dared to go wait in another long line for drink or food, at least we knew we had a home base.

The day turned into evening and ended after an awesome hour long performance by The Roots. Overall, a great day and way to get the summer going.

 

 

M

Things that made me smile this past week

Sitting outside with beers, Jenga, and $1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup S’mores with good friends at a beer garden in Philly

Celebrating Mother’s Day with my family

Weekly Zumba class

Grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s

Making beer bread for potluck night with my neighbors

This website and this website, make me laugh everyday

Hearing this song for the first time in awhile, which brought back memories of Buenos Aires

Baby elephant at the beach, so cute

And things I’m looking forward to this weekend…

Cheering my friends on in the Brooklyn Half Marathon

Googa Mooga Festival in Prospect Park

More spring weather

M

Morning Cookies

What’s the first thing you think of on a Saturday morning in Crown Heights upon opening your eyes to curtain-filtered sunrise in host Meghan’s Brooklyn abode but three ingredient peanut butter cookies of course!  So you kick her out of the house and make her run around the block anxiously to the point where she only does 2 miles of a 3.5 mile run “by accident” because she knows there will be warm and chewy cookies waiting for her upon her return.  And voila, after mixing a cup of smooth, creamy peanut butter with a cup of sugar (yes, equal parts) with a single egg and rolling them up into little balls and placing them on a baking sheet and setting them in an oven at 350F for until then smell done, you have yourselves some great little scrumptious morning cookie accompaniments to coffee in NYC.

P