This weekend was the inaugural overnight camping trip for the Women's Adventure Cycling Club. We met up at Grand Central Station on Saturday morning, five women with fully loaded bicycles. We decided to cut out miles of city traffic and sitting behind stifling hot exhaust pipes to start pedaling from Peekskill to our destination - Charles Fahnestock State Park.
We were joined by one more woman in Peekskill making us six strong. After a few minutes consulting our map and filling up our water bottles at the friendly local taco joint (go
if you're in Peekskill!), we were off!
Our trusty steeds ranged the spectrum - together our motley crew of bikes included an aluminum road bike, a steel touring bike, some vintage Raleigh and Nishiki beauties, a fat bike and a three-speed! Despite these differences, we stuck together and if a gap emerged, we pulled over to regroup and assess how everyone was feeling throughout the day, working together towards our shared goal - climb all the hills (they call this area the Hudson Highlands after all) before spending a cool evening under the stars serenaded by crickets and cicadas.
We stopped for lunch at the Putnam Valley Post Office, which had everything we needed - a wide sidewalk under an awning. Our spread ranged from fresh fruit and veggies, sandwiches, wine-flavored sausage, moon cheese, pb&j and beef jerky. People coming in and out of the post office looked longingly at our delicious lunch, some offering a piece of advice about the route we should take to get to Fahnestock - thanks guys, but we got this!
Over the next few hours, we rode past several glass-calm lakes and through countless lush forests. The beauty of bike camping is how easy it becomes to forget about Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn when you are pedaling through nature (and entertain the thought of leaving it all behind).
While our mode of transportation was not an automobile, we kept on the lookout for a gas station where we could fill up on a different type of fuel: electrolyte-filled liquids, salty snacks and a few well-earned treats
Just when it seemed like the hills would continue forever, we reached our turn into Fahnestock campground... which was uphill! We grabbed some firewood and some water and started setting up camp and feasting on dinner, which included risotto, beans, and more fresh veggies. The campground had showers, which we welcomed happily after a hot and humid day of climbing hills (especially once the bugs realized we were around and started feasting on us).
Soon the sun had set and we illuminated the darkness with our lanterns and bike lights. We turned in under a sky full of stars after a few s'mores and conversation, getting to know each other better.
The sun was our alarm clock the next morning and we slowly got started, packing up and brewing coffee. We sped out of camp shortly after 9 am with fresh legs and relief that the 9 mile day from Fahnestock to Cold Spring would largely be downhill. Once in Coldspring we grabbed a second breakfast and, for some, third cup of coffee before catching the train back into the city.