Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Biking the Big Apple

With winter approaching I wanted to head somewhere north before it was too cold so my boyfriend and I chose New York City for our latest travel adventure. Except for what I’ve seen in the movies I really didn’t know much about the city or what to expect. But that just added to the excitement.

The first thing we did in the city was get on a bus and leave…to go to New Jersey and buy bicycles. They seemed like the best way to get around the city and since renting them was so expensive we just bought ‘disposable’ bikes from Wal-Mart. I was surprised when I asked a Wal-Mart employee about getting a second bike and she didn’t seem to understand what I was asking. Quickly I pulled out my big Spanish vocabulary and said ‘dos’ as I pointed at the bike we wanted and she seemed to understand. This really surprised me since I would have expected it on our last trip to Nicaragua or even in Orlando but I didn’t know NJ also had a big Spanish population. I guess that’s part of why I travel…to learn more about the world and all the people in it.

After snapping a few silly pictures of us with our new bikes at the Wal-Mart we gps’d our way back to the city. It was only a few miles and it was definitely worth it when we hit the Hudson River and had an awesome view of the Manhattan skyline.

We took a ferry to Manhattan to get dinner. I was just about to lock the bikes with the lock I brought from home when my boyfriend asked where the key was. Good thing he did this since I had left it in Orlando! That would have been a huge downer and a big waste of money for two bikes! So with no real lock the first day we stayed near the bikes and spent the next several hours exploring the east and south side of Manhattan. I’ve always wanted to bike in NYC since I pictured taxi cabs everywhere and riding like one of those bike messengers but this wasn’t like that at all. The trails we rode were separate pedestrian/bike trails and were not dangerous. This was probably a good thing for our first day but I don’t think a trip to NYC would be complete without some biking on the streets.

My first impression of the city was a good one. I loved the energy I felt just being a part of it all. Plus people were very friendly. Obviously no one just smiles or says hi to strangers on the street since there are just too many people around. But everyone we spoke to was very friendly. We met a nice fisherman at Battery Park who showed us pictures of some of the cool fish he had caught. We enjoyed these 'local color' experiences most of all.

After about a 15 mile bike ride which ended with crossing the Queensboro bridge around midnight we were safely in our hotel. Our long travel day of taxi, plane, tram, train, subway, walk, bus, bike, ferry and finally bike some more was finally over as I crashed out quickly in our hotel room. Stay tuned for our next day at Central Park, Times Square and SOHO/Italy.

Cat “I heart NY” Cathy

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