I Survived NYC Traffic On A Bike Commute To Work, It Was Great

Look at everyone having a good time in Manhattan on their bikes.
Look at everyone having a good time in Manhattan on their bikes.
Photo: Mario Tama (Getty)

This’ll impress virtually zero of you, especially routine two-wheel commuters, but I have delightful news to share. I recently retrieved my bike back from my hometown in Michigan, more than a year after moving to New York City, and I used it this morning to commute to work. I didn’t die, and it was rad.

I’ve spent the better part of this past year watching people cruise around Brooklyn, wishing I had my bike. Luckily, I took a BMW 740e back home in April and hauled it back. It’s nothing special, serviceable at best, but I’m happy with it.


New Yorkers have a manic sort of driving style, so I realized riding here wouldn’t be a similar experience to Detroit. Admittedly, I’ve had a slight hesitation to go for a spin ever since I got my bike tuned up last week. But the weather’s nice this week. I’m generally risk-adverse and overly-cautious, so what could go wrong?

My pal Bill Bradley, a Deadspin contributor who rides daily, served as a stellar tour guide and gave me a fairly straightforward route to take. I’m sure everyone has their favorite and preferred routes to take, but the way I went suited me fine. It looked like this:

Illustration for article titled I Survived NYC Traffic On A Bike Commute To Work, It Was Great

Prospect Park’s slightly out of the way, but it was nice to get a few minutes away from the daily bullshit of the city. The ride wasn’t without hiccups, though. I’m a dumbass and couldn’t figure out how to hit the roundabout at Grand Army Plaza with ease, I just followed the park out through the cobblestone-lined walkway and had to walk my bike over to Vanderbilt like a dipshit.

I’d like to say it was relatively pain free from there, but, it wasn’t. I made my way up Vanderbilt and across Flushing without any issue. That changed before the Manhattan bridge. I reached Sands, and psyched myself out over how to make a lefthand turn without fucking it up. Before I could react quick enough, I realized I was about to edge into another cyclist waiting patiently at the intersection and lightly bumped him like a jackass. (Sorry, dude.)


The trek over the bridge is something everyone should experience, if they can. It was a closed off, two-lane drag that felt serene in the light-60s morning we had today. The super-tight turns at the end of the Manhattan side made me a bit uneasy, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it over time.

The bridge dumped me onto Allen, which turned into First Avenue, and it was relatively uneventful from there. I admired every rider who sped by and handled traffic in a way I couldn’t conceive of doing myself. It was still nice.


I never considered biking everyday to work, but I can’t imagine stopping now.

Do you ride in NYC? What tips do you have?

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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Do bicyclists stop for red lights in NYC, or do they just run the reds and act like entitled pricks like here in SoCal?