Welcome to BRBRbrooklyn! Whether you are pedaling to the shore, the store, your neighbor’s stoop, or back to your own coop, this blog is for you. Bay Ridge Bicycle Routes is an effort raise to awareness within our neighborhood and among civic groups about the activities of bicyclists in Bay Ridge and other nearby communities in southern Brooklyn.

Our neighborhood’s immediate access to the harbor, less congested street traffic, friendly atmosphere, expansive parks and flat terrain (except, of course, for the steep ridge in Bay Ridge!) makes our corner of New York City one of the most fantastic places to ride a bicycle. Whether for transportation, recreation, fun or fitness, cycling is great in Bay Ridge.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

For the Runners and Walkers

This morning's revelation: When it is dark outside, don't wear all black!

Find the presunrise walker in this photo, wearing black pants, coat and hat while walking in the bicycle lane opposite the direction of traffic. Hint: look right in the middle of the photo.

Daylight savings time ended a few weeks ago and sunlit hours are growing shorter as the winter solstice approaches. If you are like BRBR and working during the day, this means all your morning and evening workouts are done in the dark from now until April.

Bay Ridge runners use the neighborhood bicycle lanes all the time. BRBR has run there, too, so we get it. The sidewalks are not always well lit and the concrete and asphalt pavers can be irregular and inconsistent.

BRBR isn't going to play crazy bike dude and rant to get non-cyclists out of the lane. But realize that there is a chance that some A personality nutter like yourself (but on a bicycle) is going to plow right into you. And trust us, it is going to hurt. We went head-on into a skateboarder going the wrong way around a blind turn earlier this year on Shore Road. It wasn't fun for anyone. And this happened in daylight.

So the odds of mutual pain and suffering are only increased when you run in the dark in the bicycle lane and:

A) Wear black or other dark clothes so you cannot be seen,

B) Run or walk opposite the direction of the bicycle lane, coming towards each other faster and reducing reaction time (note that better fitness only equals faster collision),

C) Run or walk (or bicycle) with head down in an asphalt stare, unaware of what is coming.

It"s New York. People wear black, we understand this. No need to fully change fashion to a colorful West Coaster going to a new age seminar. But take a few tips from above and lessen the chances of a physically impacting wake up before the sun rises.

This runner was wearing a reflective Run for Your Life jacket but otherwise black from top to bottom; at least a cyclist has a chance to her with the reflective patch.

These runners from Ft Hamilton do it right: the Army warm-ups are light clothes with some reflective panels. They even had a flashlight. The pennant is also a nice touch, but probably not needed for everyday runners.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Improvements Up North: Grand Army Plaza

So what is happening in Brooklyn, outside of Bay Ridge? Here's a quick update from the Architect's Newspaper on the redesign of Grand Army Plaza at Prospect Park.

Did you know that Grand Army Plaza was intended to a part of the park? BRBR didn't know this either. Hard to believe with the amount of traffic passing through, but a nice transition from our prior post on cars' takeover of pedestrian space.

The new Grand Army Plaza.

Original Olmsted Plan

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Pedestrian Loses the Way

Another streets article in this weeks' New York Times, this one by Christopher Gray, discussing how pedestrian occupation of " 'The Street' meant the entire open area, from building line to building line" and attitudes towards pedestrians have changed with the advent of streetcars, bicycles, automobiles, and on-street parking.

Read the full article here.

Columbus Circle

Bay Ridge, 5th Ave and 57th St. Image for sale on ebay.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Life in the Slow Lane

Do yourself a favor and follow this link to read the eloquent article written by architecture critic Michael Kimmelman on the simple pleasures of riding a bicycle in NYC. How good is it? Both mom and dad independently emailed the article to BRBR, asking if we'd read it yet; now that's no small planetary alignment.

"It’s too bad that so many New Yorkers still complain about the bike lanes’ contribution to the inconvenience of urban driving instead of promoting them for their obvious role in helping solve the city’s transportation miseries, and for their aesthetic possibilities. I don’t mean they’re great to look at. I mean that for users they offer a different way of taking in the city, its streets and architecture, the fine-grained fabric of its neighborhoods. Decades ago the architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown wrote about how we see cities differently at different speeds. Las Vegas was their example, and they wrote about driving versus walking (skipping over the bicycle). But the point stands. On a bike time bends. Space expands and contracts."

There might have been something in the air last weekend. BRBR had a similar pleasant time-space experience last Friday night (while cycling). About 10pm, riding back to Bay Ridge from the Affinity Cycle Shop: roads were empty, air was cool, and it was like easy flying. 40 minutes on the dot from Affinity to the Verrazano.

Tip: 6th Ave through Park Slope late at night is fantastic.

View Late Night Ride in a larger map