In the days since Sandy severed all subway service between Brooklyn and Manhattan, many residents on either side of the East River have had to find alternate routes to get to work, or to do really anything at all. If even after this week-long absence of public transportation you’re still unaware of how convenient, independent, cheap, quick, and fun riding bikes is…this is my attempt to convince you.
1. Bikes are fun and riders are creative. On Halloween night, I met about 15 people on BMX bikes at the Williamsburg bridge plaza, determined to explore, film, photograph, and weave throughout a blacked out Manhattan. It was most likely something none of us will ever experience again nor forget. During the hurricane, one determined bike messenger risked his life to capture some incredible (“unauthorized”) footage in NYC here.
2. Bike people have big hearts. This past Thursday night, I received an email from Steven Ma who teaches Bike Mechanics at 3rd Ward, spreading the word of an emergency bike messenger service going from Brooklyn to Manhattan and back with supplies that powerless New Yorkers needed. Like the facebook page Pedal Brooklyn for updates on how to help. And in the comments of Bushwick Daily’s recent post here, Brandon coordinates a bike trip from Ridgewood out to the Rockaways to help clean up.
3. See the gas lines lately? We’re actually in a fuel crisis right now, but cyclists aren’t feeling it.
4. You don’t have to rely on public transportation or someone else. On my way home from work Friday evening, the idea for this article came to me, and I decided to ride to my local (and favorite) bike shop, Post. While a block away on Rock Street, I ran over a screw. I walked the rest of the way into Post and talked to Troy Marerro.
Jen: Have you noticed a change in sales since the hurricane?
Troy: Oh it’s been insane. Nonstop.
Jen: A lot of people buying bikes?
Troy: I mean yeah, but it’s mostly been repairs. Tons of repairs. A lot of people have bikes but they needed them to be rideable. What’s interesting is that the first day it was people who usually take the train but couldn’t. Then today (Friday) it’s been people who usually drive, but can’t get gas.
Jen: Hopefully this situation makes people realize how convenient bikes are.
Troy: Oh yeah, and independence, that’s a big one. Look at the lines of cars waiting to get gas!!! It’s completely insane.
Troy very kindly stayed a bit late and fixed my flat for me.