Monday, October 1, 2012

Ride And/Or Die: A (Reluctant) Beginner's Guide To Biking in Brooklyn

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Page 3 of 7

  • Ben Fried

Prospect Park

Getting quickly from North to South Brooklyn without endless train transfers or an overpriced cab is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to try this out in the first place, so I decided to make Prospect Park my first official trip, and it's a little dicey.

I've always understood why we need bike lanes, but now I really start to care about it. I also start to see why following basic traffic laws — not running red lights, going the right way on one-way streets — doesn't necessarily pay off if you're on a bike (you know, not that I'm endorsing that).

There's not a lot of respect or a clear, established place for bikes in the urban traffic heirarchy, and it doesn't help that I'm not adept enough to be really aggressive about staking out my place. Over the course of the week, obstructions in the bike lane include but aren't limited to an entire lane of buses, an entire row of police cars, dumpsters, an old woman in a Buick who almost drifts into me, a guy on a cell phone who almost pulls his parked SUV out into me, massive construction projects, double parked cars, deliveries, delivery men, and a woman riding the wrong way on a bike, with her dog.

In spite of this I actually do alright on streets in my area — namely Dekalb, which is busy but manageable — but bigger, more serious avenues like Vanderbilt get overwhelming, and I develop the embarrassing habit of getting off and walking my bike on the sidewalk for scarier streets. One old man laughs and asks me if I "got tired."

Once I get to the park, it's beautiful and the bike path is impeccable. But that part you already knew.

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About The Author

Virginia K. Smith

Virginia K. Smith

Virginia K. Smith is the Assistant Editor at The L Magazine and a Bushwick resident. Her profile picture was taken at Summerscreen, because she is a real team player.

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