Lately, or pretty much since my half marathon, I haven’t been able to run regularly. Call it scheduling, errands, or just excuses – it just hasn’t happened. And for the whole summer I wanted to bike to work – a commute I obviously have to make – to keep the exercise up. I do have to get back to my races if I am to get guaranteed entry for the NYC Marathon next year.
So Friday I finally started biking to work.
It had been ten years since I had been on a bike (at least). It feels weird but you know how the saying goes – you never forget. One thing. I WAS petrified. Cars and buses would go whooshing past me at high speeds and it was just my goal to stay as far away from them as possible. I think I made that 10 mile ride in 55 minutes. Not bad. The way home I made it 53 minutes.
I was already more confident (and more of it was downhill).
The next day I made my first trip into Manhattan despite my fear of heights and thus bridges. My heart was beating fast as I climbed the Brooklyn Bridge (because of the climb itself but mostly because I’m always sure I’ll die when I get up high. I have the perfect image of the little wooden planks (like a boardwalk) breaking as I crash to the water below. Not at all rational but you get the point.
I haven’t fallen through.
I even took the Manhattan Bridge one day to see if it was going to be quicker. Nope. My hands hurt after finishing that bridge because the only thing separating you from certain death is this flimsy little fence. A fence!
Since then, in this short (almost) week, I have my ride to Williamsburg (where our roastery is) down to 50 minutes and my ride to Manhattan down to an hour and 10 minutes. I think I can safely get them a bit lower.
Speaking of safety, in a few short days I’ve learned that cars don’t need to care about the bike lane. Cyclists will go the opposite way in them posing a danger to themselves and most of all, you. People walk in the bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge. If you value your sanity don’t touch that bridge with a ten foot pole on a weekend (that is why I tested out the Manhattan Bridge). I’ve learned a lot and seen a lot and I can guarantee this isn’t even half of it that is out there.
I’ve gotten much faster. I shaved 6 or 7 minutes off of my time getting home from the city and I know what rules you can break while still remaining safe. I’ve read every tip and trick for commuters and cyclists that I run across. I now know that I can “own the lane” without feeling like a dick and so that I ensure that I am not cyclist mush.
I am really enjoying myself and will continue to post more adventures.