Sometimes living in New York is a drag. It is, after all, the original concrete jungle, so full of people—more than 8 million of them, at last count—that there's no space for wilderness or animals, and you can't do anything active without elbowing the dozens of people who surround you. Respectable skiing is a 4.5-hour drive away, access to hiking trails is impeded by either a long train ride or a maze of potholed highways and for a decent surf break, you have to take the A train clear to the end of the line. Lame.
Over the past four years, though, I've discovered New York isn't all bad. In part because of its 620 (soon-to-be 900) miles of bike lanes—the most of any city in North America—that accomodate 65,000-plus bike commuters. I happen to be one of them.
For me, bike commuting is good for my physical and mental health. It's a perfect, 30-minute transition—heart and legs pumping, mind laser-focused on nothing but my immediate surroundings—from the desk-bound day job to home life. It's a twice-a-day adventure that bookends the workday as I cruise past street musicians and food carts, beneath architectural masterpieces and over historic bridges spanning the East River (which, I'll add, looks much prettier than you'd imagine at sunset). On top of that, It saves me $104 on a monthly subway pass, and is a feast for all five senses (I do, on occasion, swallow a bug).
As summer winds down, bringing temps and humidity with it, we're rolling into some of my favorite bike commuting months—September and October. It's cool enough that you're not drenched with sweat, yet warm enough that nothing goes numb. The fairweather riders begin clearing out of the bike lanes, and, at pedaling pace, you can sense—in slightly earlier sunsets and single-digit temperature variations—the seasons changing bit by bit.
So, what are you waiting for? Here, you'll find tips on how to get started bike commuting, what gear you can count on to deliver you safely and in style and how-tos that will keep you from calling bicycle AAA. (Click on, "Read More" for all of the stories)