Once you start riding a bike around NYC you will absolutely love it. But how to get comfortable with all those hurtling trucks and cycling aficionados who weave through the traffic like circus acrobats?
Console yourself with the truth that everyone has to start somewhere and the first rule of NYC bike riding is never, ever do anything that feels unsafe. If you start to feel out of your depth, pull over, breathe deeply and if necessary walk home. Those really great NYC bike rides will all be there the next day.
Quite apart from the prospect of riding around very cute small streets and laneways, especially in Lower Manhattan, or tackling the beauties of Central Park, remind yourself that NYC has a truly magnificent bike path right around Manhattan Manhattan Waterfront Greenway Map
As an example see the video of an experienced bike rder in NY giving himself a morning treat before work by riding along Pier 5 in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The weather looks a bit threatening but see how calm, peaceful and relatively deserted the pier is at this time day which seems arounf 7-8am. Soooo good.
Now getting on that bike means firstly learning the bike rules: no riding on the streetwalk, use only one earbud, have a bell and ring it loudly to let cars and pedestrians that you’re there and of course, follow all the road rules.
Learn to use your arms and hands, as well as your bell to give cars a very clear idea of the direction you will be turning in. Exaggerate so you are very clear and
no one can misinterpret your itentions
Keep well clear of cars parked along the side of the street. Your instinct will be to hug the edge of the road but all those parked cars have doors which can suddenly swing open and clobber you one. Nasty!
Be very loving towards yourself. Make it a rule to never, ever do anything that feels dangerous. Do your initial riding in very quiet places. Join a bike riding group and let the more experienced riders pass along all their tips and tricks. When you gain confidence you can try things that initially seems too challenging.
Buy yourself a helmet. Forget about those smartypants woo refuse to wear one. It’s their noggin that will get bashed if, for some reason, they fall off their bike. You are going to lovingly protect your precious noggin with a stylish and safe, bike helmet.
NYC is one of truly great cities to cycle around. Take it slowly and you will eventually be able to go everywhere on your bike.