Citibike Mike


I finally got a Citibike pass and now the urban landscape is rolling past me at average speeds of 10-20 MPH.  It’s not be like chasing the peloton in Tour de France but for me it’s as competitive because I’m riding for my life.  I’m a wanted man, doing my best to elude the endless hazards that stock me on the mean streets of lower Manhattan.  Here’s my typical ride to work.  First, I grab my trusty steed from a seemingly endless sea of blue homogenous bi-peds, branded to the hilt with Citibank logo’s. Then I start my cross town odyssey on a slightly uphill grade baring east on Murray St.  This part of the journey is pleasant enough and I often see moms I recognize from my Soul Cycle spin class nodding with approval as I demonstrate the art of riding a bike that actually goes somewhere.  This congenial setting of pediatric practices and nail salons quickly gives way to a more hostel environment of falafel shops and cheap knockoff luggage stands, as a make my first turn on to Church St.  The bike lane is now gone and a pack of Afghani cabbies appear out of nowhere, closing in fast  behind me. What first felt like a Sunday ride with Mary Popins suddenly turns into running with the bulls in Spain.  I use the biggest of the three pathetic gears and pedal like a mad man to reach my right turn on Walker St.  At this point I’m clutching the bike handles like a condemned man’s final grasp of the arms of the electric chair.  I take my first breath in eight blocks and I crave a cigarette even though I don’t smoke.   The relief is short lived as I cross Broadway and get my first look at the most dead defying territory a Citibike rider can navigate….Chinatown.  Chinatown, land of bad drivers and slippery garage that lines the streets like a Viet Nam mine field. A half-eaten-flattened Peking duck on the right, a broken crate of bok choy on the left and dozens of pedestrians moving fast across the approaching intersection in no predicable pattern.  I decide to ride aggressively though the chaos and emerge on Centre St. with only a dark smudge on my pant leg where I brushed a dirty old van dropping off used restaurant equipment.  Now it’s a simply couple blocks to the return stalls by my office on Grand and I have 2 minutes to spare before my first meeting.  I feel victorious until I see that all the slots are full.  I consult the iphone app that tells me there are two available spots on Spring.  By the time I get there one is taken and the other is wrapped up with crime scene tape.  Finally, I’m sitting in my meeting with the blue pedal pig leaning against the conference room wall.  Lugging it up three flights gave me a groin pull.  In the rough and tumble tech start up world, this is looked on as a failure to launch.