"My preference is to get this over with," I said. Whatever confidence I had amassed at the end of my first ride had evaporated. I was now more nervous than ever before on my high seat and skinny tires.

I'm undertaking bike commute attempt number two with a different bike, a Specialized Vita Elite Carbon Disc EQ which looks exactly like it sounds—like a bike for someone who knows what they're doing on a bike, which is not me.

"Real bike commuters have skinny tires," a neighbor tells me as I'm perched atop my new bike, outside my stoop before wobbling and almost falling over.

My friend Sonal rode up to my building on her very rusty, very upright, very flat-foot-on-the-ground Linus bike and my heart sunk. "Oh my god, I am going to die," I blurted out.

"You’re not going to die, Kohny," Sonal assured me. (I should note here that Sonal is the only person who is allowed to call me that.)

We made our way along Sixth Avenue in Park Slope, across Flatbush, turning on Dean and then Carlton to head into Fort Greene. I was beyond thrilled to not be going through Downtown Brooklyn again. This route, which mostly included wide streets with bike lanes, was downright relaxing in comparison. Except for when I had to stop.

Initially I preferred my ride for my first commute, a Dutch bike that allowed me to have most of my foot on the ground when I stopped. Now, I kept thinking of that song by The Weeknd, singing to myself, "I can't feel the ground when I'm with you" but then trying to convince myself "But I love it, love it, love it." I wasn't loving it.

After a few stop lights, I got better at slowing down, sliding off my seat and putting a foot on the ground with the sort of full-foot contact that made me feel secure. I was getting better at this. As an adult, I think there's nothing more satisfying than learning something new.

Sonal stayed pretty quiet. She's a "show, don't tell" sort of teacher. I watched her stay closer to the cars driving by than the parked cars to avoid being "doored," and I took note of how she slinked her bike between the vehicles stopped at a light to get to the front of the row to be seen, though often I watched from a distance because I wasn't quite so nimble.

At uncrowded, minor intersections, I watched her use traffic lights as a light suggestion, not a hard and fast rule.

In fact, not to send the police after Sonal or anything, but she admitted she was obeying the traffic lights far more than she would if riding alone. And I, a very law abiding person as a general rule, followed suit because at most sleepy intersections it seemed silly to stop and wait. Just like I wouldn't wait for the crosswalk sign if I was on foot. It seemed perfectly safe, perhaps especially because I was so self conscious about doing it and thus extra alert.

At the same time, I've been the pedestrian counting on the walk sign meaning something and annoyed at a bike almost knocking me over. I'll confess this is one of those things I still feel conflicted about, with the awareness that I seem to want the rules to apply to everyone but me, which I realize is a profoundly universal and deeply problematic position.

"It's a different way to be in the city," Sonal told me at a stoplight we actually stopped at, right before the Manhattan Bridge. "You're really connected to what's going on and really a part of it. And at the same time, it's almost meditative. You can't think about anything else but the moment."

Which is true. At times, I felt like a masterful hunter looking for openings between cars, weighing the timing of lights, though most of the time I felt like the prey, constantly on the lookout for car doors and buses. Either way, I was hyper alert.

Sonal bikes year-round in the city—"unless it's really heavy snow."

I asked her how she shows up presentable for meetings.

"Unless it's really the middle of the summer, you don't sweat too much. And my rule is to leave 20 minutes extra time before anything, so you cool down and dry out then."

No fucking way, I thought to myself. I was a sweaty mess just from biking across the Manhattan Bridge the first time, let alone up into Manhattan for some meeting. Because after dying, my second greatest fear about bike commuting was arriving to my destination a sticky and disheveled mess. Which is when I suddenly appreciated my new bike.

I flew up the Manhattan Bridge like I was Lance Armstrong. Okay, maybe not Lance Armstrong but Lance Armstrong's older, slightly-out-of-shape sister. The weight of the Dutch bike that made me feel so buffeted and safe was also a downside; it took more energy to pedal. By comparison, this thin and tippy machine felt like pedaling air. I actually passed two people on my ascent up the Manhattan Bridge. I want to take this opportunity to apologize to those two people if my hooting in joy seemed in any way offensive.

As the bridge path flattened out, a subway car came into view catching up to me. I tried to race the train. I lost. But it was still exhilarating to try and even be a contender in the race. I was soaring.

And then came the next big step. Sonal and I reached the end of the Manhattan Bridge, me just managing to not fall over on the sharp (and blind!) curve at the end of the bridge. Instead of turning around this time, I ventured onto the streets of Manhattan.

Chinatown was bustling with pedestrians and delivery trucks and taxi cabs and every other manner of obstacle. There were double parked vans with vegetables spilling out onto the street. There were grandmothers inching across the crosswalk pushing strollers that looked unusually fragile. There were throngs—I definitely know this is the place to use the word "throngs"—of tourists and business owners and commuters and neighborhood folks hurrying this way and that.

I felt like I often do when I go into a crowded part of Manhattan—like I want to run away as fast as I can to an incredibly large and quiet space in the middle of a forest and curl up in a solitary ball. But this was even worse. Now there were all these people and I was going to accidentally mow them over with by bike.

We pedaled east on Canal and turned right on Orchard Street to go to a Greek spot that Sonal suggested we have a drink at, but it was closed. Which was probably for the best, since drinking and biking probably wouldn't be my wisest combination.

So we headed back to Brooklyn. I was still tense and laser-focused and overly nervous every time we had to stop, but I was actually having fun.

Disclosure: The bikes that Sally uses are provided by their makers. She's keeping them.

This is part two of a three-part series.

Sally Kohn is a columnist and CNN political commentator. You can find her online at sallykohn.com.