As a girl who grew up in the suburbs of Boston, I was allotted a luxury that many New Yorkers might find hard to fathom: a backyard and a quiet neighborhood street where I could learn to ride my bike. Unsurprisingly, on my many trips to the city the idea of taking a bike ride never crossed my mind. However, when Bike and Roll hired me as a marketing intern this summer I needed to see what all the fuss was about.
Filled with doubt and a little scared for my life, I hopped on my bike at our Pier 84 location and rode uptown on the Hudson River Greenway. Immediately, I was shocked. There was not a car in sight. I was completely isolated from all NYC commotion. There were kids playing basketball, parents walking with their children and even students stealing a quiet moment looking out at the river or reading a book.
This experience was further enhanced by the plethora of tall ships, battle cruisers, and tugboats spraying water on the Hudson River signifying the start of Fleet Week. Boats filled with members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard sailed along beside me as I pedaled by the Intrepid Museum and up the Greenway.
Later I made my way over to world-renowned Central Park. This is one area of New York that I thought I knew relatively well. Every time I visited my grandparents in the city while I was growing up, we would go for a walk through the park, play in a playground or at least eat a giant pretzel. However, when I left Tavern on the Green my perception was forever changed. I whizzed by the soft pretzel stand and weaved through the traffic-free park streets (most of the park drives are closed to cars during the day) leaving every concern behind me.
At this point you are probably curious as to how an intern who is living in a dorm room in New York managed to attain her very own bike to ride around the city. Well, it all started when my boss said something along the lines of, “why don’t you walk over to the warehouse, I’ll meet you there in an hour.”
I fought the foot traffic uptown for a few blocks until I saw a garage entrance with our logo proudly adorning the doorway. I walked in to a large room filled with rows of hundreds of bikes with royal blue Bike and Roll bags strapped to the handlebars. Wide-eyed and slightly overwhelmed, I looked over at the eclectic gr
oup of five mechanics building and fixing bikes in the corner. To my relief, the lead mechanic, Kate, who I had previously met in the office, hopped up to greet me. She expertly navigated through the myriad bikes and within seconds was tuning and cleaning up a bike that was my size.
After Kate’s expert hands had checked the gears, cleaned the chain, and performed a few other tests my fear had nearly dissipated. When my boss arrived a few minutes later, we buckled our helmets and were off. Without waiting for the subway or sitting in traffic, we spent the afternoon traversing the city. Plus, as an added bonus, I have never fallen asleep faster or slept so soundly in my life.