Someone from my local cycling club forwarded a link to David Byrne's journal entry on Bicycles in NYC:
I have been riding a bicycle in New York City for almost 30 years! For transport, not for sport. At first there were only a few of us. Loners, losers, maniacs and nerds.... But we knew some pleasures of which other New Yorkers seemed completely ignorant. Pleasures available to all. An exhilarating feeling as the air rushes past and we dodge taxis and New York pedestrians, who still insist on playing in the traffic. A feeling of flying through and around the inevitably stalled traffic. ...
And he's only had three near-death experiences.
While I've never had the pleasure of cycling in NYC, I have biked in Philadelphia and Chicago. I love the freedom and flexibility, particularly in the heavy traffic areas. The center of Philadelphia is small enough that I could generally get around faster than friends with cars. Chicago is much larger, but that means I have had the joy of exploring parts of the city I'd just never see if I were tied to the car or public transportation. And I can still beat traffic in some stretches, particularly during the rushes.