Let’s start this off with a little word association – New York City transportation. Now, quick, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Subways? Maybe shudders arise from flash backs to being packed like sardines on the E train in the blistering heat.
When anyone thinks of a New York City commute, bikes are hardly the first method that comez to mind. But it’s becoming the preferred method of transportation for many New Yorkers.
The image of NYC biking has always been of bike messengers or deliverymen darting all over the city, barreling through the seas of pedestrians on sidewalks. That scarring image is enough to seemingly convince only adrenaline junkies to bike around NYC.
However, due to increased environmental concerns, the past five years have brought on a surge of the every-man biker to NYC.
Cycling has quickly become the reusable organic grocery bag of transportation.
All around, in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, bikers are not just spandex adorned cyclists, but people in sundresses, business suits, even a few pigtail-wearing 5-year olds.
A cyclist waiting for a repair on his bike at Hudson Urban Bicycles in the West Village said, “At least 3 of the boroughs have done exceedingly well in accommodating the needs of our growing community of cyclists.”
The days of cyclists clinging to dear life in the midst of taxi drivers and Tri-State license plates are part of the past.
Once mentally preparing his last words, the STJ student can put all these ideas that biking in New York is safe, practical, and even fun, to the test.
The Greenway bike path by the St. John’s Manhattan campus, for example, is beautiful, relaxing, and has a rush of epic proportions.
After about 30 minutes of riding along the shorefront of Lower Manhattan, students should attempt the integrated bike lanes along the roads of the West and East Villages. The cars not only respected the bike lanes, they seem to cater to the needs of the cyclists. If buying a bike or dragging one from home is not a practical situation, consider renting one just for a day to explore the city. Many cyclists feel that the best biking is on Governor’s Island, where visitors can easily rent a bike. It’s a great day trip if anyone needs a break from the city but doesn’t want to travel very far to do so.
As a city cycling convert, to butcher a Julius Caesar quote, “I rode. I saw. I conquered.” If he had biked around New York, he would have agreed.
Tip sheet for city bikers
1. Brooklyn is the most bike-friendly borough, especially in the Williamsburg, Fort Greene, and Park Slope areas.
2. Manhattan is relatively easy to bike around if the biker is armed with a bike map. Stay away from Midtown and Chinatown. Really, don’t tempt fate and even try those two areas. Anyone can get hit, knocked off their bike, run over a pedestrian, and/or cry like a small child.
3. Queens is another great place to bike. Astoria and Long Island City seem to be the most bikeable areas. The area around St. John’s campus is also good turf during the day.
4. St. John’s is becoming a very bike-friendly campus, with a plethora of bike racks on the Queen’s campus.
5. A cyclist’s best friend is a good bike map, which can be found at www.nycbikemaps.com. The website offers great maps of routes, special conditions of roads, directions to bike on each road, and places to get repairs, rentals, sales, etc. in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and even New Jersey. The NYC Bike Map App for the iPhone is also a great free tool which can also be a lifesaver.