The Cyclist Solidarity of NYC

  • today When:
    2012
  • place Where:
    USA
  • by

A two week urban tour of one of America’s, indeed the world’s, great cities. The ride was timed to include the NYC Century, a 100-mile ride, organised by Transportation Alternatives (TA) that attracts thousands. It also included a four-day ride in Boston. It is very difficult to take your bike on the train so, on the Boston city tour, I used their public bike share system.

Central Park is a great place to start cycling in NYC. It’s big and it is central. Over in Brooklyn, Prospect Park is also very good.

Venturing out onto the streets you soon find yourself mixing it with humanity. There is a great feeling of solidarity amongst the cyclists.

NYC is a city of subcultures. There are areas of Brooklyn where the orthodox Jews resisted the introduction of bike paths that were only white lines painted on the road, by painting them with black paint at night. Their concern was that cycling encouraged immorality due to revealing lycra clothing.

Across the East River, the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges both have bike paths and carry thousands of bikes a day. Although helmet wearing is not mandatory, in peak hour on these bridges, over 80% wear one.

In lower Manhattan at the Museum of Indian History this powerful statement could just have well been written about the plight of Australia’s indigenous people. Where a massacre was called a victory.

Also in lower Manhattan. Non-American find the US obsession with their flag hard to understand. And Americans don’t like it being pointed out or challenged. It is as if their flag is a holy institution.

Map of the NYC Century route. Despite signposting many riders end up doing 180-190km instead of 160.

TA does a great catering job. They also take pictures of each rider just before the Verrazano Bridge and sell them.

Lots of riders do it every year. It is a major social event in the city.

The Triborough bridge linking The Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. The bike path is not great but it is an essential link in the entire metropolis.

This is the bridge across the Hudson to New Jersey. You have to ride 230 blocks to upper Manhattan to get to it, but it is really a must-do.

Nothing beats the buzz of riding on the streets in mid-town and lower Manhattan.

Author: Noel McFarlane

Noel has been building and designing touring bikes for over 30 years. He has travelled to over 40 countries while testing a wide array of parts and has now distilled his extensive experience into what you find here today; a selection of touring and adventure bikes made with utility and style in mind.

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