Shop Ride: Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

Did you ever go on a ride where it felt like the wind was at your back, your wheels were spinning freely, and you go ride for miles on end? Our shop ride on 1/27/19 from the Croton Dam to NYC via the OCA (Old Croton Aqueduct) Trail was not one of those rides.

The Croton Dam

The Croton Dam

Being a former Crotonite, I was excited to show our rides some of the great history around the dam, reservoir and aqueduct system (when the dam was built in the late 1800’s, it was the 2nd largest man-made stone structure the world after the Pyramids!). This system provided NYC with drinking water for many decades.

Oh yeah…and Croton was just listed as the best place to live in NY State by USA Today. “So watch out Utica, …Croton is a city on the Grow”

Ride Planning

First things first, the planning. In order to run a safe event, I like to adhere to the principles of the Ten Essentials. Here is what I brought on the trip.

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  • NAVIGATION Garmin, Phone, Paper Cue Sheets, Trail Maps, External Battery

  • SUN PROTECTION Long sleeve jacket, pants, helmet, sunscreen

  • INSULATION Base layer, upper and lower, gloves, balaclava

  • ILLUMINATION Front and rear lights

  • FIRST-AID SUPPLIES First Aid kit

  • FIRE Waterproof matches

  • REPAIR KIT AND TOOLS Repair Kit

  • NUTRITION On-Bike nutrition, rest stop mile 18

  • HYDRATION 2 water bottles, electrolyte tabs

  • EMERGENCY SHELTER Rescue/Survival Blanket

Blog Post: The Ten Essentials on a Shop Ride

Meeting at Grand Central to take train north

Meeting at Grand Central to take train north

Metro North Train to Croton

Metro North Train to Croton

The plan was to take the 7:45am Metro North Hudson Line train from Grand Central to Croton Harmon. The group would ride up to the Croton Dam, and then connect with the start of the OCA (Old Croton Aqueduct) Trail.

Aaron and His Surly Karate Monkey takes on the ice.

Aaron and His Surly Karate Monkey takes on the ice.

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We were met with sheets of ice on the trail for the first mile or so, followed by about 30 miles of frozen ruts, unfrozen ruts and oozing mud. This was the kind of mud that grabbed your tires and didn’t let go. Like quicksand.

The OCA trail has these ventilation shafts every mile

The OCA trail has these ventilation shafts every mile

The OCA trail was marked pretty well. As it moves south, through some pretty densely populated northern suburbs of New York City, the train maneuvers through backyards, parking lots, stairs and regular streets.

The OCA trail was marked pretty well. As it moves south, through some pretty densely populated northern suburbs of New York City, the train maneuvers through backyards, parking lots, stairs and regular streets.

This was a surprise…ravine climbing in Ossining, NY

This was a surprise…ravine climbing in Ossining, NY

Man (men) Down! Scenes of a double muddy spill. On the trail, your choices were to ride in the muddy center rut, or take your changes on the off-camber slick grass/ice/fallen leaves on the sides of the trail.

Man (men) Down! Scenes of a double muddy spill. On the trail, your choices were to ride in the muddy center rut, or take your changes on the off-camber slick grass/ice/fallen leaves on the sides of the trail.

The temperatures were in the low to mid-40’s for most of the ride, but started to dip as the day wore on and the sun began to lower.

Aqueduct Bridge, Ossining NY

Aqueduct Bridge, Ossining NY

Aqueduct Bridge, Ossining NY. Photo from Bridgehunter.com

Aqueduct Bridge, Ossining NY. Photo from Bridgehunter.com

Some great pizza was had at mile 20 at Bruno’s in Irvington, NY.

Some great pizza was had at mile 20 at Bruno’s in Irvington, NY.

The plan was to recreate the trail of the Aqueduct form the Croton Dam all the way to Bryant Park, in Manhattan. Bryant Park was the home of the terminal of the Croton Aqueduct.

Thee are some pretty amazing maps available for this route..see below

Thee are some pretty amazing maps available for this route..see below

Croton Reservoir, at what is now Bryant Park (behind the NY Public Library), Manhattan. Photo from bryantpark.org.

Croton Reservoir, at what is now Bryant Park (behind the NY Public Library), Manhattan. Photo from bryantpark.org.

The group got far, but splintered into small groups as the day got colder and the riding muddier. In the end, this will be a great ride to do in the summer/fall. If you are considering this route in the winter/spring, please be advised that you may have a rough time of it.

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Road Runner

The folks at Road Runner graciously gave us some great items to give away, which we did on the train on the ride up.

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Road Runner giveaway items

Road Runner giveaway items

Map

My Ride Statistics. My ride average moving speed was 8.7mph, but even that seemed to fast. It seemed every time I looked at my Garmin I was going 4mph.

Croton Aqueduct Map Set
15.00

This 2-sided 2 map set (Westchester Section and NYC Section) are each close to 3’ long, are beautifully illustrated on high quality paper, and are filled with history and landmarks.

Add To Cart

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190127 Shop Ride Croton Aqueduct