Having tried to throw off the ravages of jet lag, I gave up trying to fight the sleep demons and went for a walk early. It was steaming hot even at silly o’clock, so I headed to the East River on the Brooklyn side.
There is a tiny park nestling between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge. It seems tiny because it is dwarfed on either side by these two gargantuan structures that seem to stand over this small patch of greenery in such a dominant way. The bridges seem even bigger than they are due to their height, no doubt built so the bridge decks would allow masted ships to pass beneath.
Brooklyn Bridge was opened in 1883 and is a truly impressive structure. I marvel at how the builders of the time managed to create this masterpiece in stone and metal. At the time it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. John Roebling who designed it and his son Washington who completed it has true vision and I take my hat off to them both. No wonder it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
The Manhattan Bridge was completed slightly later, in 1909. It carries 7 lanes of road and 4 railway tracks and like its neighbour, is truly magnificent.
One of the things I wanted to do in New York was to see these two bridges and photograph them. I went back later to the park as the sun was going down to take a shot or two of the bridges. As it was a hot day, the small park was crowded with people just sitting there, like me, watching and photographing the bridges as the sun changed how they both looked.
Yesterday was a busy day. As well as watching the football games and photographing bridges, I collected the bike from the airport. I had heard some horror stories about how long this might take, how difficult it could be to clear customs and that the bike might have been emptied of its life giving fuel, that I approached it with some trepidation. I needed have worried, as it was all very easy. Finding the right buildings in the cargo area was simple, the lady at Continental Airlines Cargo was very helpful, the Border Protection Customs Officers were really helpful (and had a genuine interest in my bike tour), the foreman at the cargo warehouse help me un-crate the bike and there was enough fuel in it to get me back into Brooklyn. No sweat! All very easy, so thanks to all involved.
I rode my first 14 miles on my bike in the USA!
I guess as I rode my bike, the 23rd June was the proper start of the tour.