Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ah, bicycling

In my pre-city girl days, I was a rabid bicyclist, so much so that I was nicknamed "the mad biker." I thought that was all behind me when I came to New York City. I'd rent the occasional two-wheeler at Central Park and remember that I missed biking. And then I'd forget I missed it. And then I bought a bike from a friend. It was one of the smartest purchases I'd ever made. Now, I've rediscovered the joys of biking. I've got a regular route around the neighborhood and often pedal around the local park. There are a few streets with clearly marked bike lanes, but oftimes, I have to fight an uneasy feeling as I'm riding on the streets. Okay, it's Queens, not Manhattan. Still, there are some busy roads with honking cars and drivers who don't like sharing traffic with bicyclists. There are also sidewalks that glitter with shards of broken beer bottles. (Maybe the idgits should try recycling their bottles like normal people?)

Via Elayne Riggs I've discovered that David Byrne is another bike lover. He's lucky enough to be able to bike to work. Most offices--including my workplace--don't have facilities where you can keep your bike. And bike racks are few and far between. Otherwise, I might bike to work as well. If Bloomberg wants to make NYC greener, he could promote bicycling. Byrne explains:

Now Paris is embarking on a bicycle plan that should make New York envious. A collaboration between business and civic affairs than may just work, as both the city and Deceaux can benefit. Bikes as a means of local transport has worked elsewhere; the mayor of Bogota, Enrique PeƱalosa, relieved traffic congestion AND made his city more livable by converting streets to bike/pedestrian use and by adding dedicated bus lanes. Of bike lanes he said, “If an eight year old kid can’t ride on it safely then it isn’t a bike lane.” I don’t remember Paris having very many bike lanes, and the drivers adopt a “survival of the pushiest” approach, as I recall, but that may be changing.

I know New York has its traditions. Subway congestion and insane traffic are among those traditions. But traditions can be replaced or done away with, right?