“Business or pleasure” – asked me a stern-looking man in a uniform. I was lucky enough to answer: “Both”.
In the summer of 2017, I visited Five’s New York office for a new project. For two weeks I rode bikes, worked from 9 to 5 (boooooooring), explored NYC, and rode some more bikes.
As you can see, I like to ride bikes, and exploring NYC by bike is on the top of the bucket list of every bike geek like me. Ever since working as a delivery boy on a bike during the summer before college, I imagined how it would be like to ride a bike through a metropolis like NYC. But riding through 5th Avenue during rush hour taught me so much more about this amazing city than you might think.
In NYC, at a first glance, everything seems like otter chaos, but in fact, it isn’t. Take a look at this video. At first, you might think this is just crazy – roaming through traffic during the rush-hour. At first, I thought it too, but it’s actually quite the opposite.
Everything in NYC moves fluid. Not fast, but not slow either. Just right. There are no unpredicted moves from the drivers around you. The only thing you need to worry about is making a buffer zone for the door openers, and riding in someone’s rear (right) end.
Unlike where I live, it seems that in the USA, drivers respect cyclists. Bike infrastructure through the city is very good, but no one will flip out if you go on the road, especially if you are faster than them. They know you are an equal traffic participant like the others. I rode around for a few hours, and didn’t encounter one single conflict, and doing the math, I must’ve passed ten times more people in vehicles than I would have in any other city for the same time.
The same vibe spreads to the rest of the city. Everywhere you look, you’ll see lines, but if you look closely, you’ll realize every single one of those lines is moving in a fast pace, from tourists waiting in line to get that exact same photo of the Empire State Building, to coffee shops and restaurants.
Vast and diverse
You know that already, but you don’t get the real sense of how this city really is big just riding by subway, or a taxi. Not even walking. Riding a bike will get you great distances, but when you check them on a map, they might not even be noteworthy. A typical cyclist can get from one side of a big city to another in few hours tops. You can’t do that in New York. It just goes on, and on, and on. Street by street. Building after building.
One day, I really really hope I’ll ride there at least once more.