Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Bike NYC

by Don

This year I developed a fondness for bicycling in Manhattan, which is quite surprising given my aversion to riding with traffic. What helps me is over the past three years, New York has added 200 miles of bike lanes, some of which are protected bike paths completely segregated from cars.

On four separate days I loaded my bike into the car and drove to New York to explore this new treasure.

On April 30 I went to the Blessing of the Bikes at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. I stood with my bike in the sanctuary along with hundreds of other cyclists and their bicycles. The priest read scripture, led us in prayer, and sprinkled us with holy water. After the service I joined the Five Borough Bicycle Club for a ride to Brooklyn and to the New Amsterdam Bike Show. Most of this ride was on the Greenway, which hugs the Manhattan coastline. 

Six weeks later I returned for the World Naked Bike Ride. Even though it was June, it was a frigid day and as a result the ride was cancelled. Instead, I cycled to the Plaza Hotel in search of a temporary display of Ai Weiwei’s “Circle of Animals: Zodiac Heads” sculpture. While cycling along 1st Ave I realized the scope of the bike infrastructure. To my surprise, there were signs directing cyclists to various destinations.

A week later I returned at 8 PM for “Bike All Night.” This turned out to be too disorganized for me. I left the group and explored the Greenway, Broadway, the financial district and Central Park instead.

By far, my longest ride this year was the NYC Century on September 18. This ride, covering 100 miles in a single day, extended into Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. The highlight was finally making it to the site of the 1964 World’s Fair and posing next to the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows.

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