For those not familiar with the NYC area, the VZ is the longest suspension bridge in the Americas, see
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verrazano-Narrows_Bridge . It connects Staten Island to the other four boroughs of NYC. I understand that
there are regular commuters who cross the VZ by motorbike daily, but with both my home and office located in Staten Island, I am not one of the regular bridge commuters.
Before taking the ride, I understood theoretically that the S150 is "freeway legal"; the VZ Bridge is part of the interstate system; ergo, crossing the bridge on the S150 should not be a problem. In performing my due diligence, however, I found out the NYC Bridges and Tunnels Code doesn't allow for tires with a width of less than three inches, or outside tire diameters of less than 16 inches. See Section 1022.1(l) at web.mta.info/bandt/regs.pdf . Concerned my trip would be cancelled because of my 10" and 11" tires, which is the diameter of the rims, I inspected the tires with my trusted measuring tape. My measurements revealed that the S150 tires have a width of about 3.5 inches and an "edge to edge" diameter of a little more than 16 inches. For regulatory purposes, the S150 was ready for the bridge crossing!
The morning of my trip was beautiful- sunny, 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and winds of less that 5 miles an hour. The perfect day for a bridge crossing!
Taking the service road adjacent to the Staten Island Expressway, I made my way to the entrance ramp at Lilly Pond Avenue. The colossal steel towers of the VZ loomed before me, imposing in their immensity and framing the horizon in blue steel.
As I left the last stop light behind me, I proceeded down the entrance ramp, pinned the throttle and focused on merging with the flowing traffic. During my entrance maneuver, a maroon SUV passed me. So as not to have to rely on my speedometer, I decided to "chase" the SUV at a four second gap to maintain highway speed. As I accelerated, the SUV stopped receding and I eased off the throttle to match speeds with the SUV and the flow of traffic. Having successfully merged with traffic, I gave a quick look at my speedometer, which showed that I hit 60mph-- the fastest I had ever gone on the Vespa!
No sooner had I hit my stride, then the first set of bridge joints, giant metal zippers fastening two slabs of asphalt that connect the towers to the span, came rushing towards me. The reason for the tire size regulations suddenly became clear to me, and without time for a prayer, I twisted the throttle and crossed over the gaps without incident!
Now, on the span proper, I found some of the nicest paving in New York City. Smooth, unmarked asphalt for steady riding! The howling wind roared like the ocean of white noise between radio stations and as I reached the middle of the bridge, I hazarded a look over the side and was treated to a spectacular view of Coney Island and the container ships in the harbor!
Eyes back on the road, the second set of bridge joints appeared and the road began to curve to the left. Staying to the right, I signaled, then drifted into my exit lane and approached 92nd Street. My inaugural bridge crossing was a success, and I was now ready for my trip through Brooklyn!
Overall, the bridge crossing experience was exhilarating, but over too quickly! The ride to the oil change was an uneventful montage of buildings, bodegas and brownstones.
The return trip through Brooklyn was largely uneventful. Though I had been around the Fulton Street area hundreds of times on foot, commuting by Vespa was a different experience entirely. The sheer number of people on the street never ceases to amaze me!
My return ride over the bridge was windier, but having previously traversed the VZ, my confidence made it a more relaxing journey. Happily, I can say that it was a fun experience and I can confirm the S150 is capable of crossing the VZ bridge!
Congratulatory photo of me at 4th Avenue and Marine Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn!
Vespa waiting for first service!