I folded my bike and carried it into the lobby of the office building in midtown Manhattan. The security guard behind the desk looked up at me, grimaced, then looked down again and growled something indecipherable.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
He sighed loudly and didn't say anything for a moment. Then, without bothering to look at me, he said, “You're not coming in here with that.”
I was already jittery because of a near miss with a taxi on the ride over, and this deflated me even more. It wasn't his message – I've faced many security guards who don't like to permit bicycles into their buildings – it was his cold, disdainful tone.
I tried to stay calm and upbeat. I showed him how small it was, folded. I told him I had a bag I could put it in. He repeated the same line.
Finally, after citing the Bicycle Access to Office Buildings Law, which requires New York City buildings with freight elevators to admit bicycles, he let me in.
When I made it to the freight elevator, I smiled at the operator who was joking with some construction workers. He looked at me then looked back at his friends and kept talking. I waited uncomfortably for several minutes, and then asked him if he would take me to the nineteenth floor. He said something rude to his friends about tenants, took me up in silence, and left me in a small vestibule with a locked door but no clear way to enter.
He shut his door as I was asking him how to get in. ...