I'm Patrick; I'm 39. Hard to believe I'm that old. I just got back into biking this year when I had a little extra cash and a friend convinced me to buy a folding Bike Friday Pocket Nomad. It is an unusual and fun bike, perfect for bouncing around New York City. (for those interested, see www.bikefriday.com)
When I am not spending time at work as a journalist I am either with my wife and 1yo daughter, who are the joys of my life, or I'm riding up the Hudson River trail, through Central Park or just bopping around the city.
Some nonbikers think it is a little crazy to ride around NYC on a bike, but the truth of the matter is that the cars can not go very fast here on many streets, and the drivers are so used to dodging obstacles and dealing with bikes that it's not really a big deal. The streets are generally one-way, which helps. I am kind of slow so I stick to bike lanes when I can. The biggest problems are pedestrians darting from between cars, people standing in the street, car doors opening, and idiot bikers riding against traffic at me (usually food delivery guys).
But NYC is a great place to ride because there's always something new to see on a different block. I like to ride to destinations -- the waterfront, or a shop, or a place to have coffee or brunch, a new neighborhood, that sort of thing. Or sometimes I just ride to ride, like today, two big loops around the park, and three small loops, which comes to something like 15 miles, which is nothing to the road warriors here, but pretty amazing for someone as out of shape as I was just eight months ago.
The air quality is not the greatest, however.
I do not bother riding to work, because it's just a couple of blocks away and would be more of a hassle than the ride & changing at the office and so forth would be worth. If we move to suburbia or further uptown or Brooklyn I would definitely try it.
My big adventure with the bike was to disassemble it and pack it in a suitcase and take it with me on our vacation in Los Angeles.
I rode in Griffith Park and on the beach path in Santa Monica, and all around the San Fernando Valley. I also rode on the flats in San Francisco with two old college buddies (using a borrowed BF New World Tourist), and I've taken my bike to Pennsylvania, folded in the trunk of a rental car, and rode along the Harrisburg waterfront. We do not own a car, we gave them both away to the Lung Association when we moved to Manhattan (it's an incredible $400 a month for a parking garage, not to mention insurance, and we were only driving once every couple of months anyway. And cars are evil.)
I had bikes when I was a kid in upstate NY, a five speed schwinn with a banana seat and later a 10-speed racing type bike, and some 10-speeds off and on that I didn't ride much. One got stolen in Baltimore. I rode only occasionally after that. I now realize that those bikes were all wrong for me, they just didn't fit. But for some reason I really enjoy this bike, maintaining it and so forth, and I'm not a real technical guy.
Last spring, I was a bit mortified when I finally got back on a bike to find how weak and slow I was. I had gained a lot of weight after my daughter was born, and that first year of her life, all we did was sleep and eat. And I have had some health problems, including a clot in a deep vein of my leg about 10 years ago; I have to wear compression stockings to prevent recurrences of clots. They never figured out what caused it, but I've always thought it had to do with my tobacco habit back then.
But I have bit by bit built up my ability to go up hills and put on mileage and pick up some speed. I got a heart rate monitor and have tried to do a little training in my zone, as they say. And I'm planning to do a 35-mile ride (the easiest part of the Trans Alternatives century ride) in September; it goes through Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. I'm 5'11 and was over 220lbs when I started getting really motivated to get out there every day in some fashion, and with some better eating habits (food is fuel), I'm down to about 207, and still dropping. I'm already looking ahead to the coming of winter with some dread.
That's my story.
Some pics here...