Riding our bikes while listening to birds singing beautiful, coordinated melodies. I can smell the strawberries from the Strawberry field from the distance. We parked our bikes and pick some of the berries… We continue our bike ride, the fresh wind caress my face and hair. Where ever I looked, people are smiling and they look as happy as we are. The sun is shining with glory but not too hot, so our day looks clear and perfect. Families all together playing on the park, a couple having a romantic picnic over the green, emerald grass. The sound of the city disappears with the distraction of nature, the smell of flowers, the glowing pond and lakes… The Castle enchanted the moment, feeling like I was in another era. Perfection is all around us. The shade of the millions of trees is comfortable and the bike track is so smooth and flat that…^&^##$%^&(*&(*&*&^ WAKE UP!!!!!
That was just my day dreaming adventure of what I tought it was going to be biking in Central Park. Now the real story went a little bit different…
I been in Central Park before, about 3 times, but only to the area between the W 59th St. and Bethesda fountain and The Loeb Central Park Boathouse (The Lake).
So, I was guilty of dreaming unrealistic dreams about my next visit to Central Park. Specially…. Number 1, I wanted to see the whole park and number 2, I want to take a tour bike… I thought it was going to be easier to bike, that to walk around so much. The park is huge and there was a lot that I wanted to see and learn about it… besides I love biking (but far from being a professional).
OK!Check this out. First, we got late to the bike tour, so instead we rented the bicycles for 4 hours (it was included with the NY passes that we bought)Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours & Rentals
Second, there are no strawberries on the Strawberry Field!(This was so funny to me because I thought that I never visited the Strawberry Field before,I thought it was called like that literally because had strawberries. But I did visited before, but didn’t know that the John Lennon Memorial was the Strawberry Field.) O____o
Third, Central Park is Not Flat! I did not know that the park has hills… You know, up and down hills!! I love biking but I do it more recreational not as an exercise event. I am not used to ride going up hills! Did I mention that Orlando is flat! So, if you are not in good shape or at least you are not used to ride bicycle up hills you will have a tremendous work out.
After getting our bikes, I was designated to be the “tour guide” because I had the list of things to see. After studying the map, and get a little lost we found the bike lane. For my disappointment the bike lane runs along a street that goes around the outer part of the park. The park doesn’t have a bike trail through the park where the trees, ponds, lakes, castle and all the pretty scenery is. For us to be able to see anything in our list we supposed to leave the bike lane and walk our bikes through the interior part of the park, is prohibited to ride bicycles on the walking path. Another little detail, we were not able to leave the bicycles unattended because we didn’t get the locks that were provided for us… We tought we were not going to need them. Oops!
We started and there it came the first hill, without breath we decide to take our first break.
Later continuing our bike ride our speed was almost none, many bikers continuously went by passing us. Our second stop was by the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, by the 5th Ave. It was my first time seen this pretty sight. Jay stayed guarding the bikes while we went to see the reservoir. Remember, we left the locks… we thought we were not going to need them… Hmmmm we were wrong!
As we continued, more hills came along followed by tiredness, sweat, thirst, back pain, leg pain, and all the complaints, and pain list that you can imagine. The fun part was every time we went down the hill… Weeeeeeee! I loved it! The wind, the speed, it was awesome until… the next hill. My son Jay was having a blast, he loved the challenge. He is in great shape and exercise almost every day, so for him was just one more day of exercise. He had to stop many times to wait for us. Jorge and my mom were on a tandem (2 person bike) so when my mom couldn´t do it any more she walk and Jorge kept going on the bike but at Snail speed. My daughter Jadzia and me, we invented a new technic… it’s called riding & walking bike technic. Walk your bike up hill and ride it down hill as simple as that. It was the only way for us to do it. I know! I know!! Its terrible!!
For some reason none of us wanted to stop to see anything, we wanted to finish. We didn’t stop anymore,there were not pretty, inspiring sights, just the street and people passing by us.
At the end we laugh at ourselves and had fun with our funny experience. My mom felt pretty good with herself after riding a bike now that she is 66 years old and haven’t ride a bicycle for a long time. Something I can tell you for sure the “Biking in Central Park” bucket list item is checked mark and have a DONE! in bold letters on the side. 😉
Reality hit me, my expectation of riding a bike in Central Park were different of what we lived, but still I loved the fact that we had own story to tell. It was a great experience because as a family we created memories, we had bonding time and our own unique travel story. Travel is about been real and enjoy the experience no matter if is not a Cinderella setting. Travel with family is about having a great attitude, is about making the decision of enjoying and embracing life with happiness.
Have you ever had a similar experience? Where your expectation were too high? Share your story with me!