Posts tagged ‘New York City’

February 2, 2012

Pedestrian Tourist Impressions of New York Biking

Cycle Cafe, New York City

It's exactly what the name suggests: Food in the front, bikes in the bike (sales and rentals). This is one door away from the hotel we picked booking online--it's karma!

My first view of biking in New York City came through the window of the SuperShuttle from LaGuardia: A young white guy in tan shorts wearing a helmet, clipped in on a road bike, blinky on his backpack, taking the lane and cheating the red to anticipate the green light that was about to change in his favor but hadn’t yet when he wove his way through a sea of drivers in a way I would never do even in lil old Spokane, let alone New York.

The second guy, dark-skinned, rode against the one-way on his low-slung bike wearing a ball cap and a hoodie pulled up over it, no helmet.

#3 was a guy on the sidewalk with a flashing headlight. Number four was on a separated bikepath on what I think was the Hudson bridge.

And finally, number five, actually spotted by Second Daughter for me: a woman wearing a helmet standing with her bike at a stoplight.

Number six powering up a hill on a side street, number seven a kid ducking up onto a sidewalk and then popping into the crosswalk—I stopped counting them as individuals as we got farther and farther into Manhattan.

We chose our hotel based on three factors: location (proximity to the studios where my younger daughter is auditioning for several musical theater college programs), price, and my daughter’s love of the French toile wallpaper in the pictures.

When we got here, we found out that not only are we literally next door to the Eugene O’Neill Theater (where “Book of Mormon” is currently showing), but we have a wonderful amenity right on the other side, as shown in the picture above.

On the High Line next to an intriguing wire and wood sculpture. This elevated pedestrian walkway is a converted freight rail line. No bikes allowed but when you're on it you understand. It's peaceful and leisurely up there and not the least bit touristy.

So far I haven’t ridden a bike here yet. But I’ve gotten to see special green-painted bike lanes and a bike-specific traffic signal (so cute! A little picture of a bike) and we walked on the High Line, a converted freight rail line that makes a wonderful urban pathway in a neighborhood near the Hudson River.

Bikes are everywhere. Bike racks abound. Lots of people here need to grease their chains—I hear them coming as they chirp-chirp-chirp down the street. Some wear helmets but most don’t, which gives me anxious little flutters on their behalf as I watch taxis veering around them with a beep of the horn. I have yet to see any seriously fashionable high-heeled women on bikes but I keep looking.

I mentioned on Twitter that I’m here and got advice from some of the women’s bike bloggers I highlighted in my NYC blogspedition. Bicycle Habitat, one of the great shops that was recommended, was on top of their social media game and tweeted that I should stop by, along with a recommendation for a tourist bike ride I’m hoping to get to take sometime in the next couple of days.

We’re walking like crazy, of course, and taking the subways. It is so amazingly easy to get around without a car in a metro area that has transit service.

I ❤ New York!

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • When you’re a pedestrian tourist in another city what do you notice about people on bikes?
January 31, 2012

New York, New York: The Blogspedition Visits The City that Never Sleeps

Thanks to the Women’s Bike Blog list I can get a taste of New York biking life before I get there. Herewith a round-up of the blogs I’ve collected from New York City. They all give me different voices and views and I love the local insights.

I get to chat with some of them occasionally on Twitter and have reached out to ask what I should check out while I’m in New York. We’re now tweeting about the possibility of a women’s bike blog tweet-up (live meeting of people who know each other via Twitter). I love the community I’ve found through the simple mechanism of starting a list!

  • Sheryl Yvette: Love her attitude! She’s a glamour girl who blogs about her Weight Watchers and fitness. She also blogs at High Heels and Two Wheels on the Weight Watchers site. Twitter: @SherylYvette and @bitchcakesny
  • Houdini and Me: This blogger named her dog Houdini and her bike Martha Stewart. In the “it’s a small world” category she’s also an actress, which I thought was cool when I spotted that originally since Second Daughter is planning to embark on musical theater studies. Twitter: @HoudiniAndMe
  • The Fun Between My Legs: Points for title creativity! And have to love the 25-year-old author’s bio: “Lewd, crude and tattooed newlywed and stepmom living on a cruiser bicycle in the nitty gritty.” Twitter: @M3s0
  • The Bike Writer: 20-something Mandi commutes daily from Queens to Union Square so she knows city riding! If I were heading to New York to participate in a specific big bike tour I would definitely read her reviews before committing. Twitter: @thebikewriter
  • The Julie Blog: Julie rides a great-looking Linus Dutchie bike she has accessorized in pink. I love it. And she’s been on the Martha Stewart show to show how to make her pretty silk bead necklace. Twitter: @juleskills
  • Velojoy: She contributes to Momentum Magazine, which I read. Reading a guest blog post on winter bike cleaning may inspire me, since as I noted in a recent winter ride report the road is making for a pretty grimy bike these days. Twitter: @velojoy
  • The Monday Biker: She has a Brompton folding bike I’d love to get a look at. I learned a new term from one of her December posts: “Panda bike photography” is a picture taken of yourself, by yourself, while on your bike. I may have to try this when the roads aren’t slippery.
  • For the Love of Bikes: I love the illustration at the top of this blog: A bike with hearts in the spokes and pedals. A recent post tells me about a Greek restaurant I may have to check out: Souvlaki GR’s on the Lower East Side. You Downton Abbey fans should catch this post on the show’s bikes. Twitter: @4theloveofbikes
  • Inspired Cyclist: She posts some great ride photos—I loved her round-up for Thanksgiving. Twitter: @inspiredcyclist
  • A Packable Feast: Mostly writes about creative lunches—well beyond the PBH and carrot sticks my mom used to pack!—but also gets in a little biking now and then.
  • Adeline Adeline: A blog from a shop I hope to visit.
  • Changing Amy: She blogs from the Bronx about the weight-loss roller coaster she’s on.
  • Brooklyn by Bike: Title pretty  much says it all! Twitter: brooklynbybike
  • Mid-Life Cycling: Blogging and biking in Queens. I appreciate her voice—you’ll get a great understanding for who she is from this post.

A few possibly defunct ones but I know blogging can lapse and start again:

  • This Side of the Blue: Last posted in 2009.
  • Thoughts from the Bubble: Last posted in July 2011.
  • Thoughts of Mint Green: Last posted in April 2011.
  • Squid Knits: Last posted in September 2011. I’ve found quite a few knitting bikers in my rounds of women’s bike blogs.
  • Dykes on BiCycles: Site says it’s under reconstruction and they haven’t said anything on Twitter since last June, so…. Twitter: @dob_c
  • FixiePostcard: Be ready for the autoplay sound on the site. Last post May 2011 and the Twitter account she used to have no longer has the @fixiepostcard name so I can’t find it.

Your Turn

  • Know of any NYC women’s bike blogs not on this list? Post links here and I’ll update the master list.
January 29, 2012

Looking for a Bite/Bike of the Big Apple: The Bikespedition Heads to New York City

Thanks to the talents of Second Daughter, I head to New York City this week. She will audition for several performing arts programs at the colleges she has targeted through diligent research. I will sit and knit in Stage Mom mode while she sings, dances, and delivers the monologues she’s been practicing upstairs.

I also hope to get out on the street and check out a few bike-related destinations. It will be co-o-o-old February,  and the New York bike share system isn’t yet up and running so I think I’m talking about taking transit, walking and looking. It should still be inspiring.

I plan to take some pictures while I’m there and post my fuzzy-cell-phone-images impressions of biking in New York to share the experience with you–a bikespedition of a different sort.

Here’s a partial list of things I hope to see and do and a few New York bike resources. If you’ve biked New York I’d love your recommendations for the must-see elements.

  • NYC Bike Share: I don’t get to do this! It’s launching summer 2012. I’m just noting it here as a future bike attraction. If I get to ride at all in New York it will be because some kind person lends me a bike and a helmet.
  • The High Line: A public park built on an elevated freight line that was transformed into a linear park.
  • Times Square: Sort of a “well, of course” for a trip to New York that revolves around theater, but my reason for being excited is that this will be my first trip to New York since they closed Times Square to vehicular traffic. (Can you say “transportation geek”?)
  • Adeline Adeline: Eldest Daughter gave me a way-cool ringy-dingy bike bell for Christmas that came from this shop. I’ve followed them on Twitter for quite a while thanks to discovering them through my compilation of the Women Bike Blogs list. I have a feeling they’re like the shop I would open if Bike Style Spokane ever became a storefront.
  • Bike New York: General resource site I’ll try to read through since I can only imagine how much hairier biking is in a city the size of New York compared to tame little Spokane!
  • New York City Bike Maps: Looking at the bike map of Manhattan they have the exact same situation as Spokane does: Bike lanes that stop and start. But seeing them installed in a major metro area with far more traffic than Spokane should reinforce my belief that we can have an outstanding bike network here at home. If they can make room for bike lanes in NYC, with some of the world’s priciest real estate underfoot, surely Spokane can!
  • Riding in general: We’ll be staying in the Theater District. Everything in New York feels close together to me—it’s either a walk or a subway ride away with no parking hassle or expense—and I’d love it if I could find a way to ride a bike through Central Park or Greenwich Village.
  • Celebrity spotting: Since lots of famous actors and actresses live in New York City, and quite a few have been known to ride bikes, I may spot someone famous on two wheels. Not quite as exciting as meeting Mia Birk, but still.

Back to the talents of Second Daughter, I just have to share a taste. I wish the sound were really true to her voice but I just appreciate having any kind of video record at all.

Your Turn

  • Have you biked in New York, or another major metro? What was it like?
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