Seven reasons to ride a bike in New York
You should have a bike, and you should ride it. No, I do not think this issue is a subjective one. No, I do not see any shades of gray here. In fact, I am so incredibly certain that you should have and ride a bike that I can’t even spare the energy to capitalize on that “50 Shades of Grey” reference. (OK. Teeny bit of energy.)
Here, in seven absolute and non-negotiable bullet points, are my reasons:
1. It’s cheap
A single MetroCard ride costs $2.50. It might be acceptable to lump two or three of those charges in with the cost of a full night out on the town—or a full taxi ride, if you and your seven friends don’t mind having each other’s noses in your armpits—but for work, internships, exercise classes, etc., a bike can save you close to $75 a month, depending on how active you are.
2. It’s a workout
SPEAKING OF EXERCISE, bike riding is one of the easiest cardio workouts there is. Easy on the knees, shapes your legs like Michelangelo, and builds endurance. The subway makes your butt bigger. Pick one.
3. It’s green
Your bike could be pink, white, polka-dot, or that beautiful, ethereal sponge cake color of PrezBo’s hair—but it would still be better for the environment than any train, taxi, or bus. Saving money + saving the atmosphere = PrezBo’s approval. Here, have some sponge cake.
4. It’s “cool”
We all know that “Premium Rush” was a great movie*, and not just because it was partly filmed at Columbia. Biking is for the adventurous and the courageous! Everyone is like totally impressed with your mad skills! It’s like being a modern-day John Wayne, except you don’t have a gun or hate gay people.
(*Did anyone actually see “Premium Rush?” Did Joseph Gordon-Levitt even see that movie?)
5. It’s survival training
I have ridden my bike through Times Square a number of times, and it never gets any less hair-raising. The cabs like to play chicken with you against the curb, pedestrians are allergic to looking down the street before they start crossing, and once I actually got hit by a car. But the more you do it, the better you get at threading and braking and keeping your wits about you. In the end, the fear disappears entirely, and all that’s left is the rush.
6. It teaches you about New York
Alphabet City? West End Avenue? Chelsea? The East River waterfront? These are big areas that are hard to explore on foot, mostly because you can lose interest pretty quickly or that one bagel place looks really, really, really good. But on a bike, those neighborhoods are pieced like jigsaw puzzles all around you. New York is a beautiful place, and a bike can carry you to places that your schedule and the 1-2-3 trains can’t.
It doesn’t matter where or what or when: If you want to get on your bike and go, nobody can stop you. You’ll get there fast, heart racing, thoroughly alive. You can be broke and still do it. Any time of night, anywhere you want. A bike (as long as you lock it properly—this city is full of sticky fingers and socket wrenches) is your ticket off campus, off the beaten path, and off the cuff.
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