[Yak] Trip Report: Bicycling in NYC and at Bike NY/The Five Boro
ltierstein at earthlink.net
Mon May 4 15:09:47 CDT 2009
I just got back from an extended weekend in NYC, where I volunteered at Bike NY/The Five Boro Bike Tour yesterday (Sunday). It's been a few years since I bicycled in NYC and I allowed time on this trip for some around town riding. I was pleasantly surprised.
There are many more miles of marked bike paths than I remember. The most impressive is Broadway Blvd, where they actually reduced the number of lanes on Broadway and added a mall/island, with benches, chairs and tables, separating the bike lane from the traffic. A big improvement. There are also bike lanes in Brooklyn where I don't remember any being. That said, the west side greenway (along the hudson river) was partly obstructed by construction, and had been that way for quite some time (according to the neighborhood paper). However, that construction was supposed to be finished soon.
Never, ever try to bicycle across the Brooklyn Bridge on a fairly nice Saturday afternoon. The tourists, walkers, and gawkers will drive you crazy. Instead, use the Manhattan Bridge. The Manhattan Bridge has always had a bike/ped path, but it was closed for years because of security concerns -- You could see from the bridge into the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Since the Navy Yard no longer functions as such, that objection is no longer applicable and a few years ago, the bike and ped paths (separate, one on each side of the bridge) were put back into commission. A new bicycle ramp approach was built on the Brooklyn side. The Manhattan side entrance/exit is a bit hairy, especially if you want to get from there to the West Side, but doable.
There is a fairly serviceable NYC Bike Map, including all five boroughs. I got a free one at a bike shop.
Thank goodness I was volunteering at Bike NY, not actually riding the route. I only rode (the NWT) from the Staten Island Ferry to the festival in Ft Wadsworth. It rained the whole day. Some friends of mine rode the entire tour, but they are experienced cyclists who were dressed for the weather. The EMTs were kept busy -- treating accidents on the road from riders inexperienced with wet roadways and warding off hypothermia, especially for those riders who, despite WARNINGS IN CAPITAL LETTERS, PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED, wore the "death cloth", aka cotton.
I got between Washington DC and NYC via bus -- Vamoose Bus there and Bolt Bus home -- less than $25 (as opposed to $100 on Amtrak), and wifi on the Bolt Bus. No problem with the Bike Friday. Got to the stop a few minutes early, quick folded the thing, removed the handlebars, and put it into its carrying bag. It went under the bus with no problems and no questions asked. busjunction.com is a great web site listing all the cheap bus services between DC and NYC, and elsewhere as well, and what amenities (wifi, electic outlets) are provided on each.
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