If your first reaction to this was, "Why don't we put this person on a bike in New York, ASAP," then I guess you'd get along with my editors. And so here we are.
Professional obligations (and my many, many qualms) aside, I actually do want to learn. I live in Bushwick, and trips that are a 5 minute ride for my friends turn into a 20-30 minute solo walk for me. It's no way to live, and if the spirit moves, I'd also like to be able to go on day trips to, say, Red Hook or the Rockaways without having to spend hours underground first. A person can only spend so much time living in fear of death, or in belligerent opposition to other people on bikes.
I also had to assume I'm not the only person with this problem. There must be an awkward stage in between "terrified pedestrian" and "seasoned urban cyclist," and I may as well find out what that is. So, with these justifications in mind, I decided I'd try out try out some of the most common trips in the borough — a commute to work, a trip to and around Prospect Park, etc. It would be a week of fearing for my life, looking like a dweeb, and also getting around faster, seeing my surroundings in different ways, and expanding my horizons or whatever. Let's learn together.