Last summer, my bike commute took me over the Williamsburg Bridge. This summer, it's the Manhattan Bridge. (And soon enough, my commute will likely change to the Brooklyn Bridge when my office moves to the financial district in the fall). I like seeing the wildflowers and smelling the grass on the Brooklyn side ramp, a rare glimpse of nature against the steel and concrete.
One thing I will say about biking in New York City is that I find it exhausting. Not only physically, but also mentally, as you have to be constantly aware of your surroundings. My eyes scan the parked cars to the right to make sure none are about to open a door or pull out. I listen and glance behind me to make sure there are no cars approaching too fast that I should move out of the way for. Before I go through a green light, I check to make sure there are no cars running red lights in the other direction.
Biking doesn't tire me out that much in the mornings, because I take it easy on my way to the office. But I definitely feel it in the evenings, after I've worked all day and then biked five and half miles home with a gradual incline at the end. I welcome the occasional stormy day when I can veg out and close my sleepy eyes or read on the subway.
But I keep it up because it's still the best form of exercise for me personally. It's consistent and it's fun and it's hard enough finding "me" time in my current schedule that I don't know how I could fit in cardio workouts otherwise.
I realized that it actually limits my future job options, because I don't think I ever want to work somewhere with a bike commute that would be longer than six or seven miles. When it gets to be ten miles each way, it's too rough to do regularly, as Evan has found out at his new job. But I've decided I'm okay with that right now, because I'm prioritizing my health and quality of life.
And sometimes biking earns you comments like this one, said to me from a garbageman the other day: "Even in that helmet you look beautiful."