Listen to a report on the growing trend of biking in New York and answer the questions by choosing the correct option A, B or C. 0 is an example.
0) Why is it surprising that NYC is a good place for a relaxed bike ride?
a) Because the city is dangerous.
b) Because the city is very hectic and full of traffic.
c) Because the city has an excellent subway system.
1) How does the NYC subway promote bicycling?
a) By allowing cyclists to take their bikes on the subway all day.
b) By banning bikes from the subway.
c) By having a path for cyclists.
2) Why are cars not a problem for cyclists in the city?
a) Because cars are banned in areas where bikes are ridden.
b) Because cars are used to having people and vehicles in the street.
c) Because there are strict laws that protect cyclists.
3) Why does McDonough think cycling is a good form of transport?
a) Because it's better for the environment.
b) Because it's good exercise.
c) Because it's reasonably safe.
4) Why is NYC making it easier for cyclists to bike in the city?
a) To attract more people to the city.
b) To reduce the use of public transport.
c) To reduce traffic as the city grows.
5) When do the Bike the Big Apple tours take place?
a) At any time of the day.
b) During non-peak traffic hours.
c) During the times when you can see the most people.
6) Why isn't being in good shape necessary to go on the Bike the Big Apple tours?
a) Because neither elderly people nor children participate.
b) Because the city isn’t hilly.
c) Because there are frequent stops.
7) What does Jesse McDonough say at the end?
a) He doesn’t read the metro section of the newspaper any more.
b) He gets to know the city better with the tours.
c) He would have liked to study History.
New York City is well known for its fast pace of life, busy streets and heavy traffic. Of all the places in the world, the Big Apple seems an unlikely starting point for a leisurely bicycle ride. Yet New York was listed in a recent survey as the third-best city in the USA for cycling. This is also the only place in the world where bike riders have 24-hour access to the underground transport system. As the number of cyclists increases, New York's drivers become more aware of them, which means fewer accidents. The city is much more bike friendly than many people realise, says 24-year-old Jesse McDonough, a guide with bicycle tour company Bike the Big Apple.
Jesse McDonough: You know, you can get anywhere on a bike in certainly less than an hour, usually a lot shorter. The cars are used to having people stepping out in the road, used to having carts and trucks and things like that in the way and in most cases they're not going fast enough to really harm you anyway. So yeah, it's... as long as you, you know, assert yourself and own the road, it is a very bike-friendly city. And also I think the system of... of bike paths... is improving a lot, as well. There's a great organization called Transportation Alternatives that really pushes a lot for a bike-friendly city.
There are already an estimated 100,000 cyclists riding through New York each day. By the year 2030 the city's population will have grown to around nine million and, without a big increase in public transport and bike lanes, the streets will be unable to cope with all the additional traffic.
Manhattan is already increasing the number of bike lanes on its busy streets and currently has around 40 kilometres of bike paths totally free from motorized vehicles. Avoiding the worst traffic and rush hours, Bike the Big Apple takes advantage of the freedom for cyclists to offer visitors a unique, close-up view of the city's culture and people.
Most of the regular tours take four to five hours and begin at one of two different bike shops in Manhattan. Led by an experienced guide, visitors cycle along quiet roads and bike paths, through different neighborhoods and parks, along rivers and over bridges.
Fortunately, New York is a fairly flat city with very few hills. And the average speed is only six kilometres an hour, so you don't need to be particularly fit to enjoy the trip! The average age of riders on Bike the Big Apple tours is around 40 years old, but children as young as 10 and pensioners in their 70s have enjoyed the rides. Most importantly, in seven years of cycle tours, no one has ever got hurt.
Bike the Big Apple proves that finding your way around New York can be easier on two wheels, rather than four - especially with a guide who knows the shortcuts and history of this fascinating city.
Jesse McDonough: I love it. I mean, you know, I love being on a bicycle and I was a history major in college and New York's got some really great history and some interesting history. And then its current events... always changing, it's hard to keep up, reading the metro section of the newspaper every day. And I personally love it. And as I do the tours myself, I see things change and develop each time, you know, I'm at the same location. So I mean it's great for me, you know, I just learn more each tour myself and then get to pass that on to the riders.
KEY: 1A 2B 3C 4C 5B 6B 7B