Re: motorcycles in NYC

August 23rd, 2013 by abbe diaz

abbe diaz's Ninja 600

Quora asks:
Is it possible, and sustainable, to trade the subway for a motorcycle in New York City?

I am planning to buy a motorcycle in order to move in and around the city when the weather is favorable. How possible and sustainable is this? Are roads good enough for such thing? What about parking places? Are there any arranging plans? Is riding to work on a bike everyday in Manhattan only the privilege of Shia LaBoeuf in Wall Street?


It depends on which borough you’re living.

When I lived in Staten Island (and Jersey City) there was plenty of free street parking for my old 1989 Ninja 600R, and traveling to and from Manhattan (particularly at night) was much more preferable than the buses and/or trains. The ride over the Verrazano bridge is quite nice, actually. This was also pre-9/11 when motorcycles were still allowed on the Staten Island ferry though, which was much better than trying to navigate the perennially-busted and congested Brooklyn-Queens expressway.

After I moved to Manhattan in 2007, I had to eventually give up the bike. I don’t know to which garage spaces Carl Aldrich is referring, because every place I checked was $345 per month and up, and that was not even for a private space— more like an odd corner where all two-wheeled vehicles were mishmashed on top of each other. And good luck trying to get it in and out at late “off” hours when cars are piled up in front of the garage doors in an effort to maximize square footage and profits.

I ended up parking on the street in front of my Greenwich Village apartment instead, which turned out to be a nightmare. Cars were constantly knocking over (or dragging!) the bike in order to try and squeeze into “spaces” that didn’t even fucking exist. I lost blinkers, mirrors, foot pegs, and even a kickstand, not to mention the road rash on the farings and aftermarket exhaust pipe. On top of all that, alternate-side-of-the-street parking was a horror show. Want to haul yourself out of bed on freezing winter mornings just so you can beat the 7AM street-cleaning truck to push the bike across the street (pushing is faster than starting the bike and waiting for it to warm up properly), just so you can push it back again after the truck goes by? Yah, it’s a load of fun.

And FORGET parking on the sidewalk unless maybe you’d like the adventure of gambling on some ultra-ambitious meter maid not calling a tow truck because she’s miraculously made good on her quota this month. Oh what a glory it is to see them “struggle” not to damage your vehicle only to give up and just haul it away flat on its side out of anger, frustration, and simply not giving a shit (or better yet, just swinging back and forth on a strap truck).

And that’s not even addressing how all those traffic lights on Manhattan streets will really chew up your clutch all right. But hey, at least your forearms will get a good work out.

In short, no. Sorry, can’t recommend it. Shia LaBoeuf is so full of shit.

(Maybe try getting a Vespa.)


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