I ride my bike to our office most days and I love it. I’m not subject to a crowded subway, it’s faster - especially getting home at night - and I get some fresh air/exercise.
But at first, it was a frustrating experience… really f***ing frustrating.
Between the trucks, buses and bad drivers… the potholes, broken glass and tumbling garbage… the loiterers, pedestrians and running children… and the deliverymen or the hipsters on fixies… riding a bike in NYC is a chaotic experience.
You’d think this would make other riders really cautious, but I’ve seen deliverymen riding their bikes the wrong way up a bike-lane at night with no lights and I’ve seen inattentive riders rolling through busy intersections on their cell phones!
It’s baffling behavior and it used to drive me #$@%&*^ nuts… until I stopped fighting it and just embraced the chaos.
In dynamical systems, there are just too many variables to accurately predict the outcomes and humans in general are simply too illogical to follow any one individuals’ expectations. But rather than fight this, I’ve turned it into a game…
There are the usual metrics for success - like fastest time - but I generally go for more subjective grading like how well I dodge pedestrians or avoid using my brakes.
Sure, this means I’m riding through NYC hard, fast and consequently a bit dangerously, but I’d rather be aware of the dangers around me, understand and accept them, and believe in my ability to handle any situation thrown at me, than be forced to play by the rules in a game where no one’s playing by the rules.
And at the end of the day, I love a challenge and riding a bike in NYC is anything but easy. Just watch a few minutes of this video to see what I mean…