Map Of Congested Traffic In New Jersey
The Only Bicycle Route Available
June 6, `77
In morning rush hour traffic, New York City was 25 miles away.
Bicycling was a nightmare, only I wasn’t dreaming. It was impossible
to continue, so I pulled into a parking lot to wait out the congested
traffic. There was this guy changing his flat tire in the parking lot
and after I told him I was bicycling cross country, he told me that I
was going to be beaten bloody and robbed before I got out of N.Y.C.
That put me in a good mood! Actually, I thought the guy might have
been thinking about doing the dirty deed himself, so I walked my
bicycle over to the other side of the lot and sat down to read my book.
9:30 a.m. found me back on the highway, confronted by an array of
bridges that would not allow bikes to cross. I tried hitchhiking, but
found it impossible, also stupid. There was no place to stand, let
alone to get picked up. One route remained open to me. It was the
route that everybody told me would be absolute suicide for a pedal bike.
Burning eyes, choking fumes, deafening, incredibly deafening noise,
and intense fear; that was the madness that I threw myself into. I
expected it to be bad, but not that bad. I survived, but I don’t know
how. For three solid hours I became a mass of concentrated energy. “I
gotta get out of here; I gotta get out of here;” were the words that
loudly echoed in my head. I stared straight ahead at the pavement in
front of me and pedaled as fast as my legs could carry me. I finally
collapsed somewhere north of Jersey City, my adrenaline depleted, and
my face totally blackened from the soot trailing from behind the
semi’s—the same semi’s competing for my survival space.