Saturday, August 21, 2010

crazy bikers

I'm hanging out at Inna's finishing my book while she writes at the library. I have been contemplating what to do with myself this morning before meeting her for lunch in a few hours. I thought it would be a great idea to go for a run and run/walk across the brooklyn bridge, something I've never done in the 20+ times I've been here. I looked it up, though, and her apartment is 3.6 miles from the bridge so, round trip, when you add the distance of crossing the bridge twice, it would be over 8 miles. I don't think I'd make it to lunch in time, or to any of the thrift stores on my list for this afternoon. Inna suggested taking the subway to lower manhattan and running back but that would still be a long way. You can only guess how much I miss Lucy, who could get me to that bridge in no time. I'm reminded again of how great bikes are and how pertinent it is that I bring a bike on my next visit. Though I'm not sure I can ride with the crazy bikers in New York City...

I really wonder how these bikers survive and enjoy themselves in this city. Its not so bad in Brooklyn but I feel like riding in Manhattan would be a nightmare. There seems too much congestion on the sidewalk and too many crazy angry drivers on the streets to feel welcome and comfortable anywhere. But people do it. There are bikes locked up everywhere and plenty of bikers on the road. I'm sure if you're not afraid of the traffic biking would be great for commuting but it would be a challenge to find real rides around here because what are you going to do, bike in circles through central park? That would get old fast. I also have to wonder if you have to be certifiably crazy to bike on the streets in Manhattan. For one, practically nobody wears helmets, which really upsets me. I want to yell at them like I did at the juggler on ragbrai but I'd like not to be responsible for causing any distractions to their already haphazard situations. Second, people ride their bikes the wrong way on one way sreets! And it's not like I saw one person do this and made a sweeping generalization. In the 36 hours I've been here, I've seen at least five people riding the wrong way, mostly without helmets. I am very much an advocate for biking and bike inclusion but it upsets me to see people so blatantly and dangerously breaking traffic laws when I try so hard to obey them. You have to follow the same laws as cars do or you can't expect to ever be accepted onto the road with welcome arms. Or to have anyone want to favor you and build you bike lanes.

While being in the city without a bike reminds me of how great and convenient they are, it also makes me appreciate the more open spaces on which I can ride at home and the higher level of safety and respect with which people ride on the streets in dc. I don't think today is the day for me to venture to, and across, the Brooklyn Bridge. I will wait for a time when Lucy is here to help me accomplish that. I think I'll run in prospect park, meet Inna for lunch, explore the city, and then meet up with Nicole, all the while remembering and appreciating the comfort with which I can ride bikes at home.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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