How to bike in New York

I’ve recently fallen in love…with the road bike my roommate is letting me borrow. It’s built for speed, doesn’t make me curse when riding uphill, and is easy to carry up and down stairs. I will always have a special place in my heart for my Free Spirit three-speed cruiser and the time we shared, but its gears and brakes no longer suit my needs. My new love for the road bike has brought me to my favorite time of year: riding a bike as my main transportation. Admittedly, New York is not the easiest city to ride in, but it’s easy if you follow four main guidelines:

1. Wear a helmet
Looking like Toad from Super Mario Brothers isn’t cool, but it’s way cooler than cracking your skull open or getting a spine injury.

2. Ride with traffic
If cars and pedestrians know where you’re coming from, they are less likely to hit you. If there’s a bike lane, use it. And make sure you ride with traffic in the bike lane, too.

3. Assume everyone else is going to screw up
This goes for drivers, cabbies, pedestrians, puppies, other bikers…swerve to avoid hitting them, because they won’t. Oh, and watch out for car doors.

4. Watch out for potholes
There are some big enough to swallow a small child. They will send you flying into the sidewalk or mess up your tires/wheels.

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