I was told that there are three things you need to know when hauling down the streets of the lower east side during rush hour traffic.
A rich vocabulary of obscene retorts
A disregard for social etiquette
And a simple understanding…”if an area is wide enough to get your bike through then it’s fair grounds.”
This past Tuesday’s experience proved at least the first statement to be true. It didn’t take long to be reminded what city I was in as cab drivers and city slickers played shouting matches all while whipping their vehicles around traffic. I wasn’t so much stunned at the obscenities being shouted but the fact that New Yorkers never seem to take their eyes off their profanity laced victim as they careen from lane to lane and around corners. It was an awesome display of navigation. Needless to say the experience was an absolute thrill. From the city skyline, to the attractive and fashionable urbanites gracing the streets (there were so many!) it made me realized just how impressive NYC can be. When I was young, friends and I would ride NY through the summer. Yet for whatever reason we never reached the lower east side. It occurred to me long before the Do You – Ride tour that maybe I should continue where I left off as a kid and make it down to lower Manhattan. The experience was a pleasure.. Here are a few things that I learned.
I always seem to forget just how vast and yet clustered the city can be. In just one ride I covered the Manhattan Bridge, the Waterfront, Soho, Little Italy, Chinatown ( one of many – don’t be fooled), and Union Square. Seriously, I don’t think you can hide from activity in the city. it’s everywhere, always. Never mind the ubiquitous displays of enterprise, take a long look at the beautiful playground around you. I honestly didn’t want to stop riding.
These are the things to fear most during normal rides
People swinging doors open
Cars switching lanes without signaling
Abrupt stops in traffic
Pedestrians closing off your line of ride.
High traffic makes things much more navigable. The cars move much slower (most times completely still) and are therefore much more predictable and less likely to pull off crazy stunts like speeding in reverse down a one way street.
The city does a better job than most at designing designated paths for riders. And unlike some areas that I’ve been to in the past the roads aren’t littered with potholes. Beyond these typical troubles are the usual double parked cars and unruly red light right lane turners.
Don’t be surprise if you see me down again hurling down Park Ave on my giant with a camera on my head. I will certainly be back. I’m thinking next time I’ll hit up the Brooklyn bridge and ride up towards midtown.
For those of you living in the city there is no excuse to getting on that two wheeled transport and taking advantage of what NYC offers. You have a playground at your finger tips. Do You – RIDE!