Maybe not this week with the frigid temperatures... but spring is right around the corner. In November, my friend, Sarah, and I went on a bike tour into Brooklyn with a client who is bringing a large group of potential bike riders to the city next August.
If any of you, like me, have resisted riding bicycles in New York--because of the taxis, the New Jersey drivers, the buses, the trucks, the odd door swinging open, the Rhode Island drivers, the ipod-budded pedestrian who steps out between parked cars, the horse-drawn carriages, the wheeled hot dog carts, and the Connecticut drivers--a bike tour is the perfect opportunity to ride and feel safe. On a tour, you travel in a pack--the larger, the better. Six bikes riding in a group are treated like a car. Twenty in a group are treated like a truck. For big groups, one guide leads, one guide brings up the rear, and they usher their riders through streets that no longer seem as frightening.
And what an amazing way to relate to the city! Fifteen minutes before the end of our tour, we were still on the Brooklyn Bridge, but we were soon coasting into the court district, riding on a plaza between courthouses, zipping through Columbus Park, turning up Mulberry, crossing on Jersey Street (a two-block street just south of Houston that, according to Jesse, tests the knowledge and patience of every bike messenger), and heading up Lafayette and Third to Union Square where we hung a right and arrived back at the bike store right on time.
Riding down the east side towards the Manhattan Bridge. Spending most of the first ride away from traffic gives you the chance to familiarize yourself with your bike and the skill of your fellow riders.
View north from the Manhattan Bridge.
The Manhattan Bridge, which partially opened for traffic one hundred years ago this month.
Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park between the bridges in DUMBO.
(I just read on their website that this state park forbids pets, alcohol, and bicycle riding. Oops.)
Robert and Sarah with that amazing Brooklyn Bridge.
Robert and Sarah ON that amazing Brooklyn Bridge. Minutes later we would be shouting at tourists who were walking in the bike lane. (Actually I wouldn't have to shout. I deliberately rode in the back and let the riders in the front risk their lives to clear the path for me. Sorry, Sarah.)