Biking to Smorgasburg



Rocinanté got a ride in, to East River State Park, after about three weeks of sitting in a dark, dusty, make-shift bicycle storage room in my apartment building (they should get more bike hooks).

I put off riding around for the first few weeks over concerns about my quick release wheels, and inadequate security. Riding around is one thing, but what if I want to stop and take a look around? One U-lock won’t cut it in NYC, so I’ve been told.

On a random day, I went to check out Velo Brooklyn Bushwick Bike Shop on Dekalb Ave (between Central and Wilson avenues), spoke with the staff about swapping out my quick release and voila. The next day, I walked out of the shop with pinhead skewers, and a new tire to replace the old one that was nearing retirement. And now both tires are the same size too.

delicious, delicious tacos
delicious, delicious tacos
With a new tire, new locking skewers, and no excuses, I took the opportunity on Saturday to check out a local event, which apparently happens every Saturday from April to November (because I can’t read, and thought it was a one-weekend thing).

Welcome to Smorgasburg: a smorgasboard of foods that appear to be the same but, in reality, is very unique and different with a flair of “localness” and handcraftedness. Everything your inner Brooklyn hipster craves.

There’s also a flea market component to this, which I didn’t see at East River State Park. Then again, in my overwhelmed state of having just biked a ways in the streets, trying not to get doored or go down a wrong street, I wasn’t looking very hard.

I was more like “okay. I just biked the streets of Brooklyn a little, through an industrial warehouse zone. That’s cool. I’m alive… I’m hungry.”

The saddest part of this trip is probably the fact that I went by myself. I have yet to make any new #bikenyc friends, but hopefully that will change soon as I get into the bike-groove and make why over to some Social Cycling NYC rides. (Though, I’m open to riding with anyone who bikes to and from Brooklyn to Union Square Park area as I have yet to attempt crossing the bridge by bike to get to and from the New School. I’m not even quite sure how to take my bike on the train yet either…)

When I got to the park, I walked around a bit, and saw two long lines: One for the coveted ramen burger, the other for home frite. Really could’ve gone for some crispy potatoes, but that line… it was just too long for someone who was gawking at food by themselves.

To give you an idea of what this ramen burger looks like, here’s a Tweet I found:

Okay, enough of that ramen burger.

After doing a couple rounds to really see what was up, I settled for a cup of ginger beer from Brooklyn Soda Works (yum), and two Korean tacos and a carnitas taco from this place, the name of which I don’t remember. Sorry! But the Korean tacos were delicious. The bugolgi was tasty, and the kimchi sauce wasn’t too spicy, but it had enough kick to make it worthwhile. My nose was getting runny from the hotness.

After stuffing my face with tacos and quenching my thirst with flavorful ginger beer, I did another quick round to make an informal mental note of the food places that I should *try* to remember and check out. (I say try because honestly, I basically forgot the names of the places…)

Once I was done, I made my way back to the bike to navigate the labrynthine one-way streets of Brooklyn. I survived the ride home.

There’s an interesting new element that I experienced in my biking that I did not experience biking back in the DC-MD area. There’s no real feeling of isolation when I’m out on the streets.

There was a yakitori stand too! Brings back memories of home :D
There was a yakitori stand too! Brings back memories of home 😀
I’m a bit freaked out, I won’t lie about that, and the possibility of getting doored scares the hell out of me, but I’ve noticed a different pace in every aspect of my biking.

While biking on the trail in Maryland, I tried to bike as fast a I could. Here in Brooklyn, despite the car traffic and other cyclists who may find me annoying, I find myself being more diligent, and taking it slower and being okay with the slower pace. There’s a feeling of being rushed, but it’s balanced with a feeling of tranquility and peace.

Riding through the warehouse section near Irving Avenue was a bit intense (mostly from the isolation), but all in all, it wasn’t a bad experience. I enjoyed seeing bike lanes and sharrows everywhere, at least once I got into Williamsburg.

The great thing about Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea is that they have multiple locations, and since it’s happening every weekend through November, I might bike down to Park Slope and check out the non-food stuffs soon.


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