Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Biking in New York City

Central Park
The other day I was bicycling to Central Park for a picnic and enroute I met two European girls cycling their way around the city. What a great idea. Not only do you get to see the city from a different vantage point than that of the sidewalk, but you can also explore places not so easily covered on foot. The girls had already made their way up Riverside Park and across the Brooklyn Bridge and were enroute to doing the Central Park bike circuit. Pretty adventurous. My only concern was that the company that rented they their bikes, didn't provide them with helmets. Hmm.

My bike
I love cycling. In my youth I cycled Scotland, the southern coast of Spain, and a lot of London. Last year I got a new bike for my birthday - she's a beauty - and I bike to work and bike for most of my errands as well as for recreation with my family. I feel more connected to my community when I bike, and I like that. Of course, we all know how bicycling is hitting a wave of popularity in New York. Bike lanes are becoming more prevalent around the city, and there is talk about an ambitious bike-share program in the works from the Bloomberg administration. The Five Boro Bike Tour is well attended and every May we look forward to Bike Month NYC.

Riverside Greenway
We've thanks to give to bike advocate organizations - League of American Bicyclists is one - who ensure progress is made to encourage the embracing of this multi-beneficial mode of transport. They are also strong voices in improving general conditions for those of us closer to the road. Streetsblog is a great read, and Grist has got a Bikenomics series underscoring the health, economic, and what I paraphrase as "emotional well-being" benefits of bicycling.  Fast Company can always be relied upon for writing thought provoking pro-bike articles throughout the year - Biking Infrastructure Projects Create More Jobs Than Auto-Based Initiatives.

So, cycling infrastructure and the driving population's attitude toward cycling are key topics in the ongoing education of the benefits of bicycling. We've a long way to go, but it'll be fun getting there and we'll be in great shape when we arrive!

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