bridge

Three days a week, I drive south on the Garden State Parkway and marvel at a rickety footbridge that passes overhead. At some point, it occurred to me, “OH! That must be the Manasquan Bike Path!” [It’s formally known as the Edgar Felix Bike Path.) And, since it seemed to be on my way to and from Ocean County College, and since I like to try new places to in-line skate, I decided I’d stop and check it out at some point.

I read that the eastern portion (the beginning in Manasquan) was rough (not fun if you’re on skates with unforgiving hard rubber wheels), so I began at the western portion (the ending in Allaire Village’s parking lot).

At first, it was pretty enjoyable. There was some debris in the trail, a few annoying road crossings, nothing major. And then I arrived at the part I’d been looking forward to: the bridges over the Garden State Parkway!

Eagerly, I rolled one foot onto the bridge.

And almost fell over.

The wooden planks were UNEVEN, UNSTABLE, and had GIANT GAPS between some of them: my wheels kept getting caught!

(The video below is poorly shot and may make you dizzy. Watch at your own risk. If it doesn’t work, the video at OTDP should work.)

If you watch that video, the “thunk th-thunk” sound is one of the loose planks making racket as I tap it with my foot. Timewise, because my one-handed video skills suck, you can see the boards move around 0:07. NOTE THE TRAFFIC zooming below (at 65mph in a 55 zone. They just changed the speed limit from 65 to 55 within this past year, and drivers haven’t embraced the change yet.).

After it became very clear that skating wasn’t working, I managed to make my way across the bridge by grabbing a railing (see that thing in the top picture that’s hanging in pieces? that.) and pulling myself across the bridge, hand over hand, slowly and very unsurely.

I repeated this procedure for the second bridge. (Two bridges for two directions of parkway traffic… and one median between them.)

On the way back, I actually took off my skates and walked across both bridges in my sock feet. I have never been desperate enough to do that before.

I didn’t manage to do the whole trail. Shortly after a really obnoxious road crossing…

(I looked at this and said, “You’ve got to be KIDDING me”), the trail becomes so bumpy and gravel-like that skating without falling over becomes impossible. I turned around and headed back.

This is a bike path. It wasn’t set up with Rollerbladers in mind.

P.S. I’ve updated my original in-line skating post with this trail.

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