I start my mornings with a run around Central Park in New York City. Over the last 18 months, its become more like dodging the cyclists as I make my way around the loop than going for a relaxing jog. Cursing, flipping the bird even a near miss are regular occurrences as these two groups of athletes try to get their daily workout. Ive even seen a cyclist spit on a runner.
How could so many cyclists be so angry? Wanting to understand, last Saturday I borrowed a friends bicycle, strapped on his cycling shoes, and clipped into the pedals. I entered the park on West 77th Street, where a steep ramp descends into the 6-mile loop. I quickly accelerated down it and had to merge onto a roadway packed with runners and pedestrians who werent paying attention to me. As my bicycle picked up speed and I tried to enter the loop, I realized I was in danger and so were the runners in my path. Thats when I shouted, HEADS UP!
I had been bicycling in the park for only a matter of seconds and I was already yelling at runners and pedestrians.
My perspective shift was immediate. But I didnt feel angry I felt scared. Any unexpected move by a runner could mean a serious collision, both for me and for them.