Open Thread: Share Your Bike-to-Work Stories

liu_yassky_white.jpg
City Council Members John Liu and David Yassky bike to City Hall at a press event yesterday (the other 49 took a pass), as Paul Steely White brings up the rear in style.

The weather may not be fully cooperating, but we know Streetsbloggers won’t be deterred on National Bike to Work Day. We want to hear those morning bike commute stories. Impromptu bike posses? Helpful TA volunteers? Fresh paint on the bike lane? Something more sinister? Tell us all about it in the comments.

Photo: David Freedlander / AM New York

  • I was deterred by the rain and so were most this morning, I think. My morning dose of “sinister” came on the subway.

  • Dave G.

    The rain had me waffling, but Paul Steely White’s inspirational words on WNYC convinced me.

    I barely got wet thanks to my relatively short ride and my unique ability to maneuver between raindrops.

  • Well, glad they could get all of the NYPD vehicles out of the Centre Sreet bike lane for the photo op.

  • Dan, I know what you mean, but those vehicles usually start blocking the bike lane south of the spot depicted becasue of the pinchpoint created by the bridge plaza. Plus further south is closer to the entrance in the gate to City Hall, convenience is paramount.

  • Ryan

    Building management (Kalikow Group) at my office doesn’t allow bicycles in the building. I don’t trust leaving my bike on the street all day, so it’s a no go for me.

  • Telecommuting on Fridays – just as good for the environment, but less exercise!

  • BTW – note Paul’s superior posture to the two CMs. He looks a lot more comfortable…and he’s more dressed up

  • beng722

    Like most, I’ll be forced into the subways when I leave in about an hour. Four days a week, though, weather permitting, I bike from HellsKitchen to Downtown Brooklyn. Down the greenway, to chambers st, then over the brooklyn bridge.

    btw, are vendors really allowed on the brooklyn bridge? anybody know? boy, they can cause a real crowd to gather blocking the bike path.

  • Out here in California we have the opposite problem – it’s hot! Thursday 5/15 was our regional Bike to Work Day, and unfortunately it was the hottest day of the year so far (100 F). It didn’t seem to deter our bike commuters though. I attended our annual Bikefest (a mini tradeshow of sorts, held each year on Bike to Work Day on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento), and the turnout was incredible. There’s seems to be more interest than ever in transportational cycling, with particular interest in commute-specific bikes (particularly folders). I fielded an endless stream of questions regarding my Brompton folding bike. There’s nothing like $4-a-gallon gas to get people off their butts! 😉

    As for my personal Bike to Work Day commute, it was the usual 60-mile multi-modal affair involving a train, a bus, and a folding bike.

  • Scott

    I didn’t bike today, because I had an early meeting and couldn’t show up wet.

    But I will say, I was enraged last night, as I rode home from West Midtown to the Village. As I cruised down the Ninth Avenue bike lane, I saw a cab, cruising down it too.

    In the physically-separated lane!

    I cursed him out, but I’m more simply saddened to see this sort of callous disregard for the law, especially in light of the Eric Ng tragedy.

    Has anyone else seen this happen there?

  • Matt Kime

    my bike commute highlight of the past week was seeing two of new york’s finest drive their motorcycles on the sidewalk for a block because they preferred it to being in the street. (i was in the street next to car traffic.) apparently they’re not aware that they’re expected to set an example.

    I really wish something could be done when the police are so obviously breaking the law.

  • Spud Spudly

    How ironic that today turned out to be one of the 150+ days a year that it’s totally impractical to bike to work in NYC, eh?

  • bicyclebelle

    Totally impractical? Of course not! It wasn’t even raining hard. As usual I had an enjoyable ride and thank the volunteers at the Williamsburg Bridge for all the goodies. I find riding in a light spring rain makes me ridiculously cheerful.

  • Lindsi

    I am thankful for Bike to Work Day. I spoiled myself a little over the winter and started taking the subway when it was raining. Today, I biked anyway and remembered that it’s not that bad, and can be fun.

    Thanks, bike to work day, for showing me what’s up.

  • Shemp

    I rode it today – used a rain jacket to keep the dress shirt dry and got my shorts and sneakers totally soaked, but had pants and shoes in the office to change to. No big deal.

  • Asa

    How about John Liu’s skid-lid ? – there’s some retro-stylin for ya.

  • ben

    I put my fenders on and rode in today (agreed with #2, Paul’s words on WNYC this morning were encouraging).

    TA had a nice pit stop set up at the QB bridge entrance, where they served donuts and coffee, and handed out gift bags containing a water bottle, Crumpler cell phone pouch, power bars, TA magazine, bike maps, and other assorted stuff.

    Thanks to TA for getting up early and standing out in the rain. Looks like it’s going to be a wet ride home.

  • As Alan said, we have our Bike to Word day early on the West Coast. For once, we’re not 3 hours behind, we’re 21 hours ahead.

    I did a photo diary of biking around town yesterday for LA Streetsblog. We didn’t have a problem with rain.

    http://la.streetsblog.org/2008/05/16/bike-to-work-day-photo-diary/

  • Jason A

    “How ironic that today turned out to be one of the 30 days a year that it’s mildly inconvenient to bike to work in NYC, eh?”

    Now that sounds about right…

  • Jason’s got it. Spud is way off with 150 days being inconvenient to bicycle–that’s almost half the days!

  • Spud Spudly

    Thirty days?!?!?! BAH! That’s ridiculous. Factor in rainy days, snowy days, days when there’s snow on the ground, slushy days, freezing cold days, red hot days, days when rain or snow are predicted even if they don’t actually materialize, days when it’s pitch black outside before 5PM, and so on. Winter alone is three months. Add all that up and it’s easily 150 days.

    You gotta remember that you’re preaching to the choir here on Streetsblog. Look at Shemp’s comment up above and tell me whether the people here are representative of NYC. Gimme a break. Jason thinks today was “mildly inconvenient?” Have fun getting home.

  • Jason A

    Spud, with oil nearing $130 a barrel, soggy shoes are the least of my concerns…

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    My first customer was in the next building, my second was two blocks away, and my third was eight blocks away. I could have ridden to the third, but I had to pick my son up afterwards and I don’t have a child attachment.

    I did, however, help him bike to school for the first time. We got lost trying to find the route with the least amount of uphill for him, and wound up in a schoolyard full of locked doors. It all worked out in the end, though.

  • paulb

    There was a cycler down in the center of the intersection of 2nd Avenue and 14th St. yesterday when I was riding home at about 7:30 pm. He’d collided with a taxi and he was like a snow angel on the pavement, not moving, with a civilian leaning over him trying, it seemed, to tuck his poncho over his head.

    I thought, “He’s dead! My god, he’s dead!” But the police came a few moments later, stood around (don’t they have emergency blankets in patrol cars? I was afraid the guy might be going into shock) and then, after awhile, the cycler lifted his head. It was a food delivery guy and the taxi driver said, he didn’t see him. I took the opportunity to remonstrate, without getting personal, with the driver that too many yellow cab drivers get too close to cyclists (i.e., me).

    Conditions like last night, I can see the cars but, streaky wipers, fogged windows…could they see me?

  • ben

    #21, Winter may be at least 150 days, but most of winter is 35-42 degrees and fairly dry, the best cycling weather in the world, in my opinion.

    throw on a sweatshirt, gloves, a knit cap under your helmet, maybe an extra pair of socks, and you’re good to go.

    the bike paths are uncrowded, and i arrive to work with not a drop of sweat on me. what more could you want?

  • beng722

    Ben,
    i am in complete agreement. Winter is not only managable for biking, it’s actually preferable for all the reasons u listed. I LOVE getting on the bike path when it’s a bit chilly cuz it’s empty. When it’s warm and sunny out, the ‘bike paths’ are over-run with pedestrians (even when, just a few feet away there is a clearly labelled ‘walking path’). And, yes, it’s great arriving w/o being drenched in sweat.
    Does anyone know the answer to my earlier question? ARE VENDORS ALLOWED ON BROOKLYN BRIDGE? they really seem dangerous.

  • paulb

    NYC is an excellent place to ride a bike, year round. I agree with ben and beng722. Days like Friday with rain all day are very unusual. (And riding was pleasant even then with fenders and a rain jacket.) This past winter, there were only a few snow days, and on any winter day there were plenty of bike riders out there. I’ve ridden to work on W. 18th street from Prospect Heights, Bkln every day since I bought a folding bike in August. I’ve taken the subway a dozen times, at most. A 5 mile ride even in very cold weather is not a big deal.

    If someone enjoys the outdoors but only when the weather is like in Southern California, why be living in NYC? Being outdoors in different weather is the biggest pleasure of riding the bike.

  • Spud Spudly

    I love the four seasons and being outdoors in all of them, but riding a bike to work in all of them is a different story and I think that’s more representative of the public’s overall views. But hey, good for you guys.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Not to jump on you some more Spud but you are WAY off base with your 150 bad days to ride estimate. I’m in Central Jersey and I ride 2.5 miles to work nearly every day of the year and do it in “office casual” clothing and nice (expensive) leather shoes. Once in a while I will need to put on rain pants but most days are manageable without any special clothing. In winter, a ski helmet and goggles help keep my head very warm and comfortable and I only need to break out the long johns and winter boots once in a while.

    However, I got to admit that this past Friday was pushing my tolerance for rain. It didn’t help that I over slept and woke up just in time for the heavy rain to hit Central Jersey. But it was Bike to Work Day so I just pushed on and made it happen. I was a little damp at my desk for a half an hour but not much more. Coming home was just mist so I left the pants in my bag and just dealt with it.

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  • There’s seems to be more interest than ever in transportational cycling, with particular interest in commute-specific bikes (particularly folders). I fielded an endless stream of questions regarding my Brompton folding bike.

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    I love Bike-to-Work, it’s a good sport for today’s busy people. And most important, it’s good to protect our earth.

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