Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Carroll Gardens to Times Square . . .

This coming weekend--much like the last--the weather is allegedly prepared to abandon its sadistic winter ways and bestow Gotham with a touch of light and warmth. Which, for me, no matter what happened on a rainy night a few years ago in San Francisco, means getting back on my bike and riding to work as often as possible.

The dilemma that I am confronted with at this time of year is what route to take from my apartment in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn to 4 Times Square. It seems straightforward- cross the Brooklyn Bridge, cut down Chambers Street, head north on the West Side Highway bike path and then venture back east towards Times Square around 42nd Street.

But one has to consider a few things when planning the best way to and from the County of Kings

- Traffic. It is well known that NYC cab drivers (especially the virulent menace of livery/gypsy cabs) are the worst drivers in the Western Hemisphere (I didn't say FROM the Western Hemisphere) so it is best to avoid busy thoroughfares such as Chambers, 42nd Street, etc. Even with a bike lane, these guys are always on their cell phones and can't seem to drive in a straight line for too long.

-Tourists. Although the walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge is clearly divided so as to safely accommodate both walkers AND cyclists this does not prevent the cute couple from Indianapolis, here on their honeymoon, or the group from Germany from ambling into the bike line. They mean no harm but, damn, they slow you down and scare the shit out of you. Who wants to run over somebody on vacation?

-Roller Bladers. The bane of my cycling existence. Hordes of them clog up the West Side Highway bike lane and have caused me to wreck in the past. This Friday, when the temperature reaches the 70's, I can see them now: Hands behind the back, swaying from side to side and from lane to lane, iPod blasting the latest Coldplay album, in their own little universe. Ugh.

-Pot Holes. Another reason to avoid Chambers Street.

So, I in lieu of the "easy" way to and from work, I believe that this Friday I'll be taking the Brooklyn Bridge/West Side Hwy in--at 7am there are not too many tourists out, or roller bladers out-- and coming home via the East Side, as prescribed by the peeps at Ride The City, a great website that helps the urban cyclist get around safely.

Pray for me . . . .


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