Monday, June 27, 2011

Riding Along The Rahway

The old Boyd Hat Company factory

This weekend's SOMbike ride was a tour of the proposed Greenway along the east branch of the Rahway River, through Maplewood, South Orange, Orange and West Orange. Cami Zelevansky, who is working with the Greenway committee in Maplewood, led the way on the first half of the ride, showing us where the path would be laid, what changes needed to be made and where there are still decisions to be made -- the Greenway is still a good ways from being even conceptually complete. The main piece of news I learned on this portion of the ride is that the old pump house south of 3rd Street has been condemned -- tragic! It is one of the most beautiful structures in our town. Cami told us the structure is contaminated with toxic chemicals and would be infeasibly expensive to renovate.

The ride through Orange and West Orange was led by Patrick Morrissey, executive director of HANDS, Inc. and proprietor of Hat City Kitchen. He showed us around the old hat manufacturing district in the valley, we saw some gorgeous old factories and warehouses that HANDS is redeveloping into mixed-use condominiums and business and art space, and some that have been condemned; we looked at the art spaces that have already been developed as part of the Valley Arts District; we saw the east fork of the east branch of the Rahway, a river fork I had not known about -- it is mostly underground in culverts but the narrow channel where it is at the surface, behind the old Monroe Calculator Company factory, is a lovely hidden bit of wilderness rising up in the middle of the city. We ended up at Hat City Kitchen, where Pat treated us to a beer, and then rode on home.

Jeremy Osner

Saturday, June 18, 2011

SOMbike Family Ride: The M/SO Connection (Saturday, 6/25, 4 PM)

See the future of biking in M/SO - join us for a ride along the Maplewood Greenway. We'll follow the river path from Maplewood to South Orange, then pedal to Hat City Kitchen, where Manager Larry Weinstein, an avid cyclist, will welcome us.
The Maplewood Greenway will ultimately connect the two towns by way of a protected walkway along the river and continuous protected bikeway. It will connect Maplewood Middle to South Orange Middle Schools, the Parks and the two towns.

Meet-up: Saturday, June 25th, 4PM, NJ Transit Parking Lot, Maplewood Ave. & Baker, Maplewood or 4:30 PM, Baird Parking lot, 5 Mead St., South Orange

Check for last minute details and weather issues.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Visit to Folk Engineered

About 15 people turned out for the ride to Newark to visit Folk Engineered's bicycle shop -- the weather was fine, not too hot and the rain held off, and the ride took us about 40 minutes. Marie and Ryan greeted us at their door and showed us around the shop, it was great to watch Ryan demonstrate the basic steps of milling and assembling a steel frame.

Click through for photos of the shop.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Join Us For A Visit to the only Handmade Bicycle Manufacturer in Essex County

If you've dreamed of owning a custom fitted bike, are curious about what it takes to build a bike, or start an artisanal business, join us for an up close and personal visit with Folk Engineered Custom Handmade Bicycles in Newark. We'll meet with the owners, ask questions, discuss, view, gawk.

Check out their excellent website:

Date: Sunday, June 12th
Time: 2 PM
Meet-up on Bikes: The Baird Center Parking Lot, 5 Mead St. South Orange. Ten miles round trip.
Meet-up at Folk Engineered: (In case of rain or if you don't want to bike) 3 PM