Thursday, March 11, 2010

How To Be A Road Warrior: NYC Biking One Pedal At A Time

Biking has really been one of the biggest joys in my life– whether it was the first time without training wheels around my cul-de-sac, or traveling across state lines through the vast U.S. countryside. Traveling by bike is my chance to feel the wind on my skin, make personal connections with my landscape, to be a driver of my own physical power.

Since moving to New York City, this love of biking has taken me many places from Pedicab jobs to cross country trips; riding is a powerful tool not only for fossil-free commuting and exercise, but for personal growth.

A lot of New Yorkers are baffled by urban cycling, especially in Manhattan where the pace of cars and pedestrians is enough to trigger your dormant vertigo. But let’s demystify it: being a city cyclist is about always looking three steps ahead – to the pedestrian that’s about to step off the curb, the door that’s about to open, the light that’s about to change. Once you widen your scope of awareness, the chaos will coalesce and become an orchestra that rises and falls to your movements on the road. Your reflexes will quicken, adrenalin will fuel your decisions, and you will arrive at your destination, alive and proud.
Below are 10 tips to get you started, but there is always more to learn – contribute to the discussion!


1. A no-brainer: wear your helmet. In fact, wearing a helmet is the new not-wearing-a-helmet. I mean, it’s your life – over 52000 cyclists have died in automobile collisions since the feds starting keeping track 80 years ago.

2. For long commutes or day rides, wear synthetic materials instead of cotton. This will keep your skin dry and body temperature regulated. Layer up, because even if it’s cold you will begin to sweat up those NYC hills.

3. For winter biking, never underestimate the importance of a balaclava. Although it may make you look like a bank robber, it will greatly increase your stamina for freezing wind! In any season, sunglasses are also essential for keeping wind and particles out of your eyes.

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