Yesterday we posted about riding at midnight during Hurricane Irene, but that was hardly our only adventure over the weekend. After the rain stopped, we headed to our friend Juanjo’s house in Brooklyn to pick up the bike we had stored in his garage during the hurricane. As we were about to head out, he suggested that we go for a ride to see the effects of the storm.
After we wheeled the bikes out of his garage, he hopped revved his up and dumped the clutch, spinning the bike in a neat circle. This wasn’t going to be an ordinary ride. Indeed, less than two minutes into the ride we turned onto a street where a giant tree had fallen and was blocking the road. Upon closer inspection we saw that it had crashed down onto a Bentley and a Hummer! There were so many uninteresting cars on that street; it was as if the tree knew what it was doing.
Our friend then suggested we head on to Hoboken, NJ because it was the nearest place that had reported floods. We rode across the Brooklyn Bridge, through lower Manhattan, and through the Holland Tunnel. From there it was a short ride to Hoboken, and when we arrived we couldn’t believe our eyes. Massive pools of water filled the streets, and it was impossible to progress without riding through it. Juanjo eagerly blasted through the first water crossing—we proceeded more tentatively. It went that way through the day. He looked totally at home blitzing up and down the street and spraying water everywhere, but after we saw him in one section over a foot deep, we began to think the whole idea might be a bad one.
Riding in the water wasn’t difficult; the front tire creates a bow wave and the rest of the bike stays relatively dry. The electronics are far from the water, and the intake on our bike was right below the gas tank. We lubed the chain when we got home, but besides that (and the thread of a cracked exhaust as it gets shocked by the cool water), there wasn’t much risk. A dropped bike could get hydraulic lock and bend a rod, so we reminded ourselves to kill the bikes if they looked like they were going over.
It was fun to get out and have a look around after the Hurricane—seeing all the water in person had much more impact than reading a news story or watching the tube. We’re even more thankful now that we live on high ground.
Photos by Juanjo Viagran