After a few months riding around the city, I started going to Central Park by 6:30 in the morning. At this time of the day the park is relatively quiet and you can even ride fast, do a proper ride literally in the center of the city! One lap is about 6 miles long and it has a few climbs with various gradients, including a nasty one. When I was most inspired, I would do two laps, which, summing up with the distance to go there and back made a healthy 24 miles weekday ride. Zwift, a popular indoor cycling app, has a virtual route there which is spot on. But the joy only lasts until the park gets busy. Really, once it gets filled with people riding there can be dangerous.
Another nice thing about riding in Central Park is how the trees and plants change with every season, and each has its charm. In the spring the park is beautiful, with colorful gardens filled with tulips and a vast array of flowers. In the summer the fun is seeing how there is barely no space for so many people and events are there. In the fall everything changes. The trees are the main attraction, with shades of red and yellow, the park is seen under a sepia filter that makes things as interesting as in the spring. At last, the winter brings the cold, sometimes snow, and takes all the leaves away.
At Central Park you can find cyclists of every kind, from leisure riders to pros. Some local teams even go training there. There I also saw some bikes that I’ve never seen before. One nicer than the last one. You can find urbans, fixies, folding, downhill, and even BMX. Delivery persons show up there too, and some of them with huge bulby tires, probably to cope better with rainy or snowy days. But my favorite looking bikes are the road bikes. I like their design and how they make your body leans aggressively forward, and Central Park is a perfect place to spot some of the latest models.
In the park, as in the whole city, it is common to find bicycles chained to posts. Well, actually it’s more common o see bike parts only chained, whether it’s the frame or just s single wheel. It’s true that some people chain a part of the bike, and take the rest with them, but even though NY has become much safer, there’s still a lot of bike theft going on. Burglars usually wait for the owner walk away from the bike, and then they take what they can, leaving sometimes just a lock or the chain. They really leave nothing behind, and if they do, the owner probably just gives up on the rest.
Once I saw a man trying to rob a bicycle near my apartment. When I noticed that he was trying to bust open a lock with a crowbar, I froze and stared at him. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing in broad daylight. I was scared too, as he was much bigger than I was and didn’t look friendly at all, but I guess my anger was more intimidating, and he left.
Because I wanted to use my bicycle for transport, I installed a Pinhead on my urban bike. This is an ingenious lock system that replaces both quick release skewers and the seat collar with locks with a unique shape, which can only be opened with your key. Without that key you can’t take the wheels or the seatpost, so you can lock your bike safely to a post with just one chain or lock. Despite that, I wasn’t brave enough to leave my beautify Bianchi in the street.
I’m not sure what is the policy in NYC about removing chained bike parts scattered around the city. I tried looking into it, but couldn’t find anything. Maybe there isn’t, and it shows, as there’s really many bike parts left around for years, accumulating dust and rust. I definitely didn’t want my bike to be the next victim.