Thursday, October 24, 2013

On Your Left! Exerstriding in the City

Elizabeth Zelvin

Working out with my Exerstrider walking poles by striding along a country road is one thing: using them daily in the heart of New York City is another. City folks are less willing to “share the road,” and the many tourists who visit Manhattan tend to be oblivious to the traffic—foot and otherwise—around them as they study their maps and stare up at the tops of buildings. Natives and visitors alike are as likely to be texting on their cell phones as watching where they’re going at any given moment.

“On your left!” is the runner’s equivalent of “Excuse me” or “I’d like to pass.” It can be said politely or belligerently. Faster runners call it out as they breeze by slower runners on the track around the Central Park Reservoir, which you’ve probably seen in movies and which must appear in every foreign guidebook, because so many different languages can be heard every day on the 1 5/8 mile circuit.

Central Park Reservoir track

Central Park, with its 58 miles of pedestrian paths (not counting the track, the bridle path, and the road that circles the park), is my favorite place to go Exerstriding. I’m only a block away from the entrance at West 86th Street. I need to put special tips on my poles for the dirt track, so sometimes I use the pedestrian lanes on the road instead. High-tech bicycles whiz past, horse-drawn carriages clop by, and young people with terrific calf muscles pedal pedi-cabs at $2.50 or $3 per minute.

Path along the lake in Central Park

I usually stride from 86th Street to the bottom of the park (Columbus Circle and Central Park South), then take one of the avenues back up—Columbus, Amsterdam, or Broadway, depending on what errands I have to do. If I take Broadway, I pass Lincoln Center, where I can stop and buy tickets to the Philharmonic or the Metropolitan Opera.

Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center

Broadway gets kind of crowded around the popular Fairway market. I can stop and take a shopping break if I’ve remembered to bring along a big sling-type bag to put my purchases in: Exerstriding takes both hands.

Fairway, Broadway

New York is filled with life and color, and I love striding through it. I have only one tiny complaint: As in the country only more so, every few blocks someone makes a crack about snow or skiing.


Sandra Parshall said...

Oh, Liz, you make me feel like a slug! I admire your energy and enthusiasm.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Sandy, being out and about with my walking poles is almost as good as walking a dog for meeting people and making friends. :)

Janwalkswithpolesanddogs said...

I love your enthusiasm. I wish everyone knew how much more of a workout you get by using Exerstrider Walking Poles. I take mine along to the dog park when I go. My body loves me for it!

Dru said...

I need to get an Exerstrider.