Yesterday and this morning, I was in New York City on business. Between appointments I had a chance to ride in Central Park. I was supposed to meet a friend who is an avid rider--he commutes into NYC from New Jersey. But the snow on Monday-Tuesday made the NJ roads slushy enough that Jim took the train.
At 5pm, yesterday, I left my hotel at 26th Street and 6th Ave. One of the entrances of Central Park is on 6th Ave, so I turned north on 6th and got in the 5 o'clock traffic in midtown.
When I first started riding again in Lancaster, I was a little bit tentative riding in groups. I had been riding alone for most of the year and I did not want to mess up in a pack so I would follow three or four feet behind other riders instead of right up on their wheel (where I should be).
But turning on to 6th Ave, I had none of that hesitation at all. I got into the bike lane on the left side of the avenue, shifted to the big ring and started riding as fast as I could toward the park. As I approached the odd-numbered streets I would be scanning for turn signals and making sure I kept my speed up and get right by the front wheel of taxis so they could see me.
When I got near Herald Square I could see people waving for taxis in the bike lane. They were all women. Then I remembered it was Fashion week. I kept my speed and stayed in my lane. The people standing in the bike lane were facing me and decided the best plan was to get out of the lane when I got close. Around 40th the bike lane ended so I moved into one of the center lanes. I got caught at three lights in the 34 block trip. As I rolled into the park I realized I had no hesitation at all riding with the limos and taxis and splitting lanes. I have always liked riding in traffic since I was a kid in Boston.
Riding in NYC traffic made riding feel completely normal again. Today I rode a few miles with the daily training ride. I rode right on the wheel of the rider in front of me. Whatever was wrong in my head, riding up 6th and down 7th Ave cleared that up.