Today I overcame my self doubt and hired a CityBike.
I’m going to start sharing more of my travel experiences on my website. Quite often in the moment I think ‘ oh I should write about that, rather that just doing live snapchat feeds’ (As they expire after 24hours.) I hardly have any photos to go along with this post.
Every time I travel somewhere I eye off the city bikes which are strategically placed all over the tourist hot spots. These are available in most cities. Especially in the western world.
Deep down I’ve always wanted to hire one. I tried to think of reasons why I talked myself out of it in all my years of travelling.
I had an entire free day to myself in NYC. I’d planned to pop in some headphones, crank up Fall Out Boy and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. My friend who I’m staying with suggested I hire a bike and cruise around. He even handed me his bike pass which gives you 45minutes free ride time.
GULP. I took it and said thanks as I waved him off to work. And in came all of the excuses as to why I’m better off walking.
You’re too big. Size 18 girls don’t hire bikes. You can’t ride standing up. You’re clumsy. What if you get hurt. What if you can’t keep up. The seat will be too small and uncomfortable. You’ll get sweaty and have to re wash and straighten your hair (I HATE doing my hair) You’ll get sunburnt and weird tan lines. Your face will be red for ages. Eczema will flare up on your face. If you don’t wear a helmet you will die. Brain injury.
SERIOUSLY. THIS GARBAGE WAS GOING THROUGH MY HEAD. (maybe the helmet thoughts are valid though)
But this time instead of talking myself out of it. I ran through the positives.
You know no one. Who cares. If it’s too hard you can stop. You used to like bike riding. You only live once. Everyone speaks english if you need help. You have a map on your phone and international data. Take it slow, it’s not a race. It’s not going to cost you anything. People of all sizes ride bikes. It’s a cloudy day. You have dry shampoo. You can wear your new shoes & outfit.
I consider myself a seasoned traveller. I’m pretty confident with putting myself out there and trying new things. But the idea of riding a bike threw me off a bit. And it’s okay to admit that. I don’t have to be a strong independent woman all the time.
So long story short. I hired the bike. It took a few times to get the hang of it, even though the seat was large and comfy, I ended up stopping and walking on the pavement with my bike because I wasn’t comfortable riding on the road with NYC traffic.
Once I got to the bike track I rode comfortably and pushed my way up the slight incline over the bridge. I took it slow and used my bell to alert walkers (who were on the bike track) that I was behind them. When I got too hot and tired I stopped and had some water. No big deal.
It was a little tougher than I thought it was going to be getting up that slight incline. I ended up walking up some of the way. My face was beetroot red. My eczema was itching because I was sweating, luckily there were lots of clouds around so the heat wasn’t too intense.
If you are travelling alone, don’t be afraid to ask someone to take a couple of photos for you at different angles. Some people will say no but 98% of people will say yes. It’s all about picking your moments to make sure they are free. More importantly always offer to help someone take a photo first and they will most likely be happy to take one for you. If the photo they took was blurry or at a weird angle, just ask someone else once the other person has moved on.
Ended up walking and chatting to a lovely bunch of women who had come out for the day and left their grumpy husbands at home. Honestly they were hilarious. They even invited me to join them for lunch which was so kind of them.
I made it halfway across the bridge and rode back downhill because my 45minutes was almost up. With the wind in my hair and yelling at people to get out of the pathway I felt great. I rode a bike in NYC. The world didn’t end. I spent the next few hours walking and exploring taking in as much of the NYC Summer as I could.
Please be a traveller, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond whats in front of you.