Monday, October 28, 2013

The Curvy Cyclist – New York is Wheel-y Getting Bike Friendly Now


New York City, where I have done all of my city cycling since the early 80s, is experiencing a bit of a bike riding craze.  With the new CitiBike program installing a plethora of kiosks every few blocks, it seems as though the bike has become the new means of transportation.  The program started at the beginning of summer so everyone could enjoy the bikes before the cold weather set in.  It’s incredible advertising for Citibank, that’s for sure... I am happy to say I was an “early adaptor” and still don’t think the kiosks, even though there are many around town, are convenient enough.  I am spoiled because I store my bike in my apartment every night, take my bike down the stairs, assemble it, and off I go!  Renting a bike costs a bit, too.   $95 a year and $9.95 a half hour with fines of $4 for every fifteen minutes.  I have had my bike for over three years, and have used it every day or thereabouts.  The foldable bike cost me about $575 and if I figure if I use it 300 days out of the year and I’ve had it for three years, that’s 900 days....I would say it cost me pennies a day for the use of my bike....and since I can fold it up and bring it wherever I go, I never have to worry that it will get stolen again.  The thirty five bikes that preceded this foldable one more than throws off the savings average when you factor in all those dollars down the drain.  But, as I said, the way I rationalize it is: Every delivery guy needs to have a bike to have a job, so I’ve given thirty five people jobs in this city over the last few decades!!!

The city has become so much friendlier in the past year for a cyclist.  Just today I was biking along the path next to the East River in Manhattan and I came to a huge staircase and thought to myself how I didn’t want to carry my 30 pound bike up those fifty stairs.  Just then I noticed this little metal gutter that was installed down the side of the stairs right under the railing.  Wow, some genius actually thought about how to make that haul a lot easier.  So I put my bike in the little slot and pushed it up the stairs.  It was a great stair climbing cardio workout but not awkward nor cumbersome at all.  I stopped midway to take the picture that I include in the article and this hunky guy asked me if I needed a hand with my bike the rest of the way up.  He was sweating profusely and even had a little drop hanging off the end of his nose.  I thanked him but said, “Thanks to the city installing this little channel up the stairs, I am independent...but I so appreciate it!!”  I guess I had two options to make the ascent easier!  One useful, the other handsome!!

During my travels I also saw this little tiny yellow Smart Car in the smallest of parking spaces and noticed the license plate said “Parkable”....love the humor!!  Took a photo of it, too! 

I will spare you the picture of the smooshed dead rat I was forced to run over as a bus was speeding to my left.  My mind was going back and forth trying to manuveur and decide between Rat-Bus-Rat-Bus-Rat-Bus....RAT!  I had to run right over the flattened rodent remains or perhaps be smooshed by the bus and wind up looking like the rat!

It’s been very hot this summer, but a little triple digit heat index never stopped me.  I just drink a lot of water and carry a lot of paper towels, oh and wear waterproof makeup!!!  A girl’s best friend!!  I drink at least eight glasses of water day.  I remind myself to drink that much and I have this nifty trick that helps me keep track.  I wear eight beaded bracelets (different colors for different outfits) on my right wrist every morning and as I drink a glass of water I take one of the bracelets and switch it to my left wrist...by the end of the day, all the bracelets are on the other wrist if I’ve had my quota.  I am thinking of marketing the sets of eight bracelets and call them “Aqua-lets”....my stepdaughter came up with that name and I LOVE it!!! 

Hope this inspires you to grab a bike a take to the streets wherever you may be...once you get over the initial traffic terror grip of fear, just remember to wear a helmut and pay attention.  The other muscle bike riding exercises is your brain as you have to think and react all the time.  Keeps your reflexes in gear, too!

Submitted by - Catherine Schuller "The Curvy Cyclist"

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