On Friday, Alex and I biked around 10.5 miles. This was a result of our putzing around on our bikes, not having any real destination in mind. On Saturday, we decided to take a more organized approach and ended up putting 20 additional miles on our bikes. (For n00bs like us, this was a major feat!)
Staten Island is not known for being a bike-friendly borough. Despite all of the efforts that have gone into making New York City a safer place for bicyclists, Staten Island tends to get the short end of the stick. This is best illustrated with a map of the Staten Island bike paths/lanes. The solid red lines are bicycle lanes. Solid green lines indicate bike paths (usually in parks). The solid orange lines are streets with bicycle signage, reminding motorists to share the road. The dotted lines are planned/proposed bike routes. So there are 16.6 [disjointed] miles of actual bike routes on Staten Island, according to the Department of Transportation (pdf).
If all of the proposed bike routes become reality, I would be one happy camper. Every major road would have a bike lane! All those miles of bike lanes… Ahh… I would actually be able to challenge myself! And still feel safe! (I’m not hardcore enough — and doubt I ever will be — to ride alongside traffic and not have a panic attack every time a moving vehicle is in my vicinity.)
While I wait for these planned bike lanes to be put down, I find myself wishing that the current bike lanes were maintained better. In a lot of places down the Hylan Boulevard bike lane, Alex and I were forced into the gutter because of mismatched pavement. (In one area, all street markings disappeared because of fresh pavement!) Oftentimes, we were forced into the buffer or the parking lane because of overgrown trees and shrubs creeping into the bike lane. I think I need to contact Transportation Alternatives… or the borough president… or someone. I guess I ought to look into it.