Today I took my bike out for the first time in the city. First of all, I have to say, that my timing was amazingly stupid, because today was genuinely hot. A high of 92. For the most part I was in shade by the river, but still. It was hot. Hot. Hot, I tell you.
I was expecting to be frightened and tense while biking–I mean, it’s New York. I’m used to Portland, where the cyclists are plentiful and respected. We all know how crazy traffic in NYC is, right? Yeah. Here’s the interesting thing. Traffic in the city is slow.
I didn’t think about that until I was on the bike. Even obeying all the traffic laws, I was always moving faster than vehicular traffic. Why? Well, first of all, I planned my route so I was on bike lanes almost the whole way. So, when there was an obstruction, I just sailed past it. Second, cabs stop all the time to let people out.
By the end of the ride, I wound up being more aggressive about merging into traffic when someone was stopped in the bike lane. Again, I expected that would be scary, but really, I’m going the same speed as traffic. I’d look. Signal. Change into their lane. Not once–and this is NYC–not once did anyone honk at me. I even had a cabbie, a cabbie mind you, wave me ahead.
I think because I was behaving like a vehicle and they’d seen me stopping at traffic lights (there was a long stretch where I was next to the same three cabs) they were inclined to not hate me for making their lives difficult.
I, on the other hand, began to loathe the other cyclists and pedestrians who just wander out into the street as if no one is going to run them down.