Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Cycling along Manhattan

I was waiting to get off the tour bus and meet my friend, Naseeb after 3 days. As the boat tour which was part of my tour got delayed, she left for her next destination and we planned to meet at Madame Tussauds near Times Square. As I got off the bus and walked back towards South Street seaport, I felt a sense of freedom. I was all by myself in NYC, with no clue how to get to Times Square. It was to get even more complicated with me having no phone and no credit card. I still hadn't known about pre-paid phone connections then.

I relaxed for some time over a sandwich, watching all the people, soaking in the energy that this amazing city has and feeling part of it. I was trying to figure out which form of transport to take to Times Square when I saw this bicycle rental place called BikeAndRoll. A quick enquiry and everything looked fine; it was a reasonable price ($15), a great route along the coast(as can be seen in the photo), manageable distance(5.5 miles) and I could just leave the cycle at 42nd Street from where it was a 15 min walk to Tussauds. But then, I had one problem; I did not have a credit card to be able to rent the cycle. I tried convincing them that I am OK to make a cash deposit but it wouldn't work with them. Now, I had to make a call to Naseeb to get her card details, but there was no phone. I tried calling from a public telephone but it dint go though and I gave up after losing one dollar. Back to Bike&Roll and some more convincing and confusing, finally managed to get the cycle after giving my debit card details for identification. And there I was, cycling along Manhattan on a cool 10-gear TREK bike; I couldn't the hide the smile on my face :).

After a few hiccups in the beginning, (had forgotten to pick up the map), I got onto the right path; it's called the Green Path and goes around the coast line of Manhattan. The path is shared by people on roller skates and cyclists and they just whizz past you. There are specific traffic lights for cyclists to allow for pedestrian crossings. I cruised along on the route, enjoying the views of the beautiful skyline. After a while, I couldn't see the numbered streets and was a little worried, so checked with a couple of fellow cyclists. They confirmed that I was on the right track and I should be able to see the numbered streets again. And yes, they did start appearing.. 23rd street, 30th street, 40th street, 42nd street, 12th Avenue. I had reached my destination.

I just had to park the cycle at Bike&Roll, no paperwork and quickly started walking on 42nd street. 42nd street is quite famous and it houses some big names including Madame Tussads, a few theatres, New York Times off South Station. I couldn't see other big names as I had to really rush; I was already late by 10 minutes. Another 10 min and I was there, 20 minutes later than the planned time. Naseeb was frantically looking for me and we finally met for the second time in the day. It was past midnight when we reached home. Uff, what a day!


Anonymous said...

There are some cycle routes in helsinki. Now that I am inspired by you..I am going to try.

Lavanya K said...

Yeah you should. Do an extra 5 miles on my behalf :)

Manjunath said...

Hey that’s seems like an unforgettable day in your life, having no credit card but still managed..

Jyoti said...

hey gud to c& read ur blog..adventourous as always..
Another gud thing i came to know from ur blog is that naseeb has learnt driving :)congrats naseeb..
Nice to see naseebs mom in photo ..