Cycling in NYC

This last weekend I went out with another M2 athlete, Chirag, and we went cycling up the west side, up Riverside Dr., across the George Washington Bridge, and up route 9W in New Jersey towards upstate NY.
It was an incredibly beautiful day in Manhattan especially having rained the day before. When we got up to route 9W, it was spring in full force with green leaves of the trees looking full of life.
However, given that this was my first time cycling in a big city, I have found out some really interesting things:
1. Getting from my apartment, which is on the east side, to the west side was an interesting exercise. With all the one way streets and sometimes road closures, you’re zig zagging around the streets to find a way to get all the way over and then to cross the west side highway to finally get on the bike path there. Pretty harrowing as there is no bike lane and the cars are right next to you the whole way.
2. Pot holes everywhere! You don’t notice this when you’re walking around the city, but man are there a lot! You gotta really watch out or else your ride is hugely jarring!
3. What’s with the tar? They are continually repairing something in the roads and there is fresh new tar everywhere. I swerve and one time even got off my bike to avoid rolling through some fresh tar.
4. Ignoring street lights seems to be the norm. I see cyclists roll through red lights all the time. So I do the same.
5. Dodging traffic is a given. Especially taxi drivers. Sheesh.
6. The worst was when I got up to my apartment, I realize that I am covered with this black soot or dirt. UGH! I whip off my cycling stuff and hop in the shower. After cleaning up, I spend some time wiping tar and dirt off my bike. As I do this, I start thinking about the soot that has entered my lungs during this ride. Yuck! So I reach for my vitamin bottle and take another vitamin C for antioxidant protection.
I hope my lungs survive training in NYC. Next stop: endless loops in Central Park.