Bike the Strike!
12.23.05: 3-Day Strike is Over

Welcome to Transportation Alternatives' Bike the Strike Headquarters, your one-stop resource for tips about bicycling (and walking) through the transit strike.


During Strike, Bikes Kept Commuters Moving: Media Advisory 12/22/05

Bicycling Up 500%: Media Advisory 12/21/05

NYC Bikes the Strike: Media Advisory 12/20/05

On this page:

Media Advisories

How Did You Bike the Strike?

Tips: How to Bike the Strike!

Where are the bike paths, bike lanes and best routes?

How do I get across the rivers?

Where can I park my bike?

Where else can I park my bike?

Where can I buy or rent a bike or get my bike fixed?

Commute in a bike pool!

Help us with bike counts!

Photo Gallery

T.A. in the Transit Strike Press

Fuji Bike Contest Winners




Quick Links:

T.A. Strike Blog

NYC Bike Maps

Bridge Crossing Guide

NYC Bike Shops
(with discounts for T.A. members)

Garages that accept bikes

Bike Safety Check

Bicycling Laws

Guide to Winter Biking: Chicago Bike Winter

Guide to Winter Biking: IceBike.org




Get the T.A. E-Bulletin

How Did You Bike the Strike?

E-mail Mayor Bloomberg to tell him the good and the bad of biking during the transit strike and ask him to make New York City safe and inviting for biking everyday!

Ask the Mayor to:

  1. Mandate bike access in buildings
  2. Create more and better protected bike lanes
  3. Increase police enforcement to keep bike lanes safe and clear
  4. Create safe routes to and from greenway paths and the East River bridge biking and walking paths
  5. Install more bike racks
E-mail the Mayor!

Plus: Win a Free Fuji Absolute Bike!

Was your ride safe? Did you have a safe place to park your bike? What was it like riding with a multitude of other cyclists?

E-mail info@transalt.org and share your strike biking experience. The best submissions will be entered in a drawing to win a new Fuji Absolute commuting bike (pictured below). Submission deadline is Monday, January 16, 2006 at midnight. The winner will be announced that week.

We have winners!


Tips: How to Bike the Strike!

T.A.'s tips for a safe and enjoyable bike commute during and after the strike.

For more tips, download this flyer to post around your office for your colleagues to share.


Where are the bike paths, bike lanes and best routes?

The City's free bike maps show you exactly how to access all the greenway paths, bike lanes and bridge paths. You can also pick up a free bike map at your local bike shop.

Bicyclists are also allowed to bike on Reserved Streets in Manhattan:

  • 5th Avenue (East 23rd Street East 96th Street)
  • Madison Avenue (East 23rd Street East 96th Street)
  • 26th Street (1st Avenue 12th Avenue)
  • 29th Street (1st Avenue 12th Avenue)
  • 49th Street (1st Avenue 12th Avenue)
  • 50th Street (1st Avenue 12th Avenue)
  • Church Street/Trinity Place (South of Barclay Street)

How do I get across the rivers?

Wondering what the fastest, easiest way to get to a bridge path near you is? Check T.A.'s Fiboro Bridge Crossing Guide.

For South and West Brooklyn bike commuters, T.A. recommends riding over the Manhattan Bridge to avoid the crowded Brooklyn Bridge.


Where can I park my bike?

The NYC Parks Department is providing guarded bike parking at Washington Square Park, Tompkins Square Park, Union Square, Madison Square Park, and Bryant Park.

Where else can I park my bike?
  1. Ask your employer to provide bike parking in your building or office.

  2. Find a local garage that accepts bikes for parking.

  3. If all else fails check out some good tips for safely locking your bike on the street:

The City has made contingency plans for all modes of transportations. Get the full picture.

One great thing about the strike—
clear bike lanes, even on 6th Avenue in Manhattan!

Where can I buy or rent a bike or get my bike fixed?

Visit your local bike shop!


Commute in a bike pool!

Biking with friends, neighbors and fellow New Yorkers is an awesome way to encourage new commuters and build their confidence riding around New York City. It's a great way help New York make it through the strike.

Visit T.A.'s message board and find a local "bike pool" or start your own. All you need to do is post a meeting place and time and general destination (e.g. "Midtown east" or "Garment District"). Then meet up and ride!


Help us with bike counts!

Knowledge is power. We want to know how many New Yorkers biked the strike. Help us count them.

If you can help out please email volunteer@transalt.org or give us a call at 212-629-8080. Thanks!

Cyclists rode to work in huge numbers today, creating mini-masses like this one in Herald Square. Studies show the more people cycling, the safer cycling becomes.


Biking the strike

Click on an image for a larger view

T.A. in the Transit Strike Press

Fuji Bike Contest Winners

Grand Prize Winner: Rachel Stein The Bicycle Superhighway

Runner-Up: Marcos Dinnerstein How Jerry Seinfeld Stole My Bike


The Bicycle Superhighway

Having finally gotten settled back in after the holidays, I wanted to drop you an email about a regular bike commuter's experience during the transit strike late last year. This is the text I was going to email to Mayor Bloomberg, but it ended up being too long to send over the website (I sent him an abbreviated version). As I wrote it I found the words flowing so easily that I thought you might want to hear it too. I was one of the very few New Yorkers whose lives were almost totally uninterrupted by the strike. This is because I ride my bicycle to work every day barring extreme precipitation — even in the winter. I ride to the store, to the bank, and to the bar at night. I ride wherever, whenever I can.

As an avid cyclist and bicycle advocate/activist, I was thrilled to see so many bicycles on the road during the strike. It was a wonderful vision of what the city could be like if city government ENCOURAGED bicycling rather than discouraging it through lack of infrastructure, inadequate enforcement of motor vehicle traffic laws, and a fundamental misunderstanding of how a bicycle is different from both a pedestrian and a car. Though I complained about all the slow bikes in the left lane on the Williamsburg Bridge, which I affectionately dubbed the "Bicycle Superhighway", and I arrived home hoarse from yelling "On your left! Excuse me! Left! Thank you!" over and over, I was actually smiling to myself, thinking of how happy it would make me to have to deal with these annoyances every day. It just makes me happy to see people on bicycles, to hear the whir of tires, and to see the smiles on people's faces as they grow to realize that you CAN bike New York City, even when it's colder than you might like.

I only had two problems during the strike. One was the knot of people standing around at the base and blocking the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge. That was dangerous and unnecessary. I told a coworker about it and his answer was, "Well, the bikes on the bridge should slow down anyway!" Herein lies one of the primary differences in the treatment of cars and bicycles in New York City. If a group of people were standing on a highway at the bottom of a hill, the public response would be, "What are those crazy people doing standing on a highway?" Yet when people stand at the bottom of a bridge on a bike path (which admittedly is shared with pedestrians, but they know we are there), then the bicycles are expected to concede. This is not to say that bikes should not slow down at times to ensure pedestrian safety, but it is important to remember this: a bicycle is a bicycle. It is not a person walking down the street, slow and steady, able to stop on a dime, which, if it were to bump into something, would cause no damage. It is not a car, large and cumbersome, with its loud horn and unmistakable roar, able to accelerate quickly and easily, and which no one can miss when it zooms down the street. It is a bicycle, quick but not motorized, slim and stealth, quiet by choice and by nature, banned from the sidewalk but hated on the street, with only two skinny tires and a steel bar separating its rider from the rough New York pavement. It suffers the indignity of being treated as a motor vehicle under the law despite its advantages in terms of efficiency, noise and cleanliness and despite its glaring physical differences. It shoulders all the responsibilities of a car yet enjoys none of the privileges.

The other problem during the strike was the heavy, HEAVY car traffic on the way home from work after SOV's were once again allowed in Manhattan. The morning commute was blissfully peaceful, quiet, and car exhaust-free. Chinatown is usually fairly calm in the early morning on my route from Williamsburg to Lower Manhattan — I've grown to know and love the twisty streets and avoid the pitfalls that come from riding in a heavily truck-congested neighborhood with a large population of elderly (dubiously parked delivery trucks, unexpected doors, people with poor hearing who nonetheless step out into traffic unawares, potholes that could swallow a 700c wheel whole). However, this morning there was a special tranquility that came not only from the lack of cars but also from the knowledge that, for once, sustainable forms of transportation were normal. No one looked at me like I was insane the way they had earlier in December when I rolled to work in 15 degree cold on black ice. No one yelled, "Hey, Crazy Girl! Need a lift?" Instead they simply smiled and nodded at me, another New Yorker doing what she had to do in the face of a difficult situation.

The commute home was totally different: a nightmare of traffic snarls, angry and exhausted motorist, car horns and carbon monoxide. Not only was it difficult to get past the cars, many of which were pressed up against the curb like thieves against a wall, but I was also nearly hit several times by furious drivers who pulled out in front of me without looking or who veered to the right into the shoulder. I'm not sure if they were simply angry at being stuck in traffic and not paying attention, or if they were actively resentful of me as I flew past them on my way home, delayed for only a moment by the mess that would keep them tied up for hours. The SOV restrictions showed me a New York I wish I could live in every day — a New York where people are not encouraged to drive a full-size vehicle into an already congested city with only one person in it. Usually we also have a fantastic public transportation system to rely on, too. Nearly empty cars simply have no place on city streets. The City should take pains to encourage carpooling, walking and bicycling every day, not only when there is a problem. If that means actively discouraging SOV's in Manhattan, then so be it.

My commute is always the best part of my day, but during the strike I felt especially lucky to have bicycling in my life. I am also lucky in that my office allows me to bring my bicycle into the building every day. I work for Housing Preservation and Development for the City of New York, and I am permitted to park my bike essentially wherever I can find free space on my floor. It typically leans against the wall in a currently unused office. In fact, in warmer months my office building has a large number of bicycle commuters who I believe are drawn not only by the fun and exercise of bicycling but also by the ease of bike parking and the security of being allowed to bring their bikes into their offices with them. I don't know if I would have become the regular bike commuter I am if it weren't for this — I am deeply attached to my bike and new bikes are not cheap. I wouldn't want to park outside, especially in the winter darkness or in bad weather. However, I know that many people, including friends of mine, don't have this privilege, and for them that lack of security is one more argument against taking up this healthy, non-polluting habit.

The transit strike, so inconvenient and annoying for many New Yorkers, was for me a taste of what the city could be like if its citizens were encouraged to find creative alternatives to motor vehicles. I don't want to discourage public transport, and I am happy to have the subways and buses for times when I cannot, for whatever reason, ride my bicycle. But more than the lack of public transportation, the strike also placed restrictions on cars that forced people to rethink their commutes. I am sure that many people who would otherwise drive or take a cab in the city instead walked or biked either because cars were restricted or unavailable, or simply because they realized they could. I hope that many New Yorkers realized during the strike that they can walk and bike in the city all year round. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but I think I've seen an increase in the number of cyclists on my commute. Sometimes when I fly down the Williamsburg Bridge, if I squint my eyes a little and use my imagination I can almost see the Bicycle Superhighway in all its glory. It's enough to make a girl yell joyfully, "On your left! Excuse me! Left! Thank you!"

- Rachel Stein


How Jerry Seinfeld Stole My Bike

Hi,

I had just started working in an upscale office building on 57 Street. When I first started biking to work from 43rd Street I locked my bike in the loading dock of the building on a bike rack that I am told was provided by Jerry Seinfeld. He bikes to work too! That first day I locked the bike to the rack, nodded to the guys in the messenger center and went to work. At the end of the day I came back down and the bike was gone. This was too weird, I thought, there are people in here all day so no one could have taken it without being seen. I asked the folks in the messenger center if they knew what had happened to my bike and they were very apologetic. "Oh man, we didn't know it was your bike. We thought it was some messenger who had locked his junky bike right there in Jerry Seinfeld's spot so we welded the lock off the bike and put the bike in the basement." Well in pretty short order I had my bike back with a promise that the building would buy me a new lock. The kicker was a day or two later when I was unlocking the bike while a helmetted, sunglass wearing Jerry Seinfeld was also getting his bike ready to leave. I "innocently" start a conversation with this fellow biker, "Hi, you know this building is pretty strict about only tenants locking their bikes here. They actually welded the lock off mine because they didn't recognize me as someone who works here". Jerry — "Oh yeah, wow that's something" or something equally non-committal so he wouldn't encourage further conversation. I resisted the urge to tell him not to park in JERRY SEINFELD's spot since I was already making the poor guy nervous. Over time I expect I will continue a monosyllabic relation with Jerry — an occassional "Hey", "Hi" or on really chatty days, "How's-it-goin".

- Marcos Dinnerstein



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