NEW YORK: Two wheels, four wheels or dozens which offer the fastest mode of travel in a congested metro?

The winner of the New York City contest: the bicycle, followed by train and car.

Friday's annual race was the idea of Transportation Alternatives, a group that advocates biking and walking.

The starting line, at a cafe, had the cyclist off and pedalling the moment the race began. The subway rider, though he had to walk first to get to the station and then transfer to a bus; the car contestant wasted precious minutes waiting for a cab.

Luci Olewinski, a nurse who bikes to work, was confident she would win even before she started. "I'll be relaxing in the park before my competitors even cross the East River," she predicted.

Phillip Pond, a Manhattan designer, opted for the subway, asserting that three million daily riders could not be wrong and swearing he would come in first.

When he arrived four minutes later and placed second, the Brooklyn assistant district attorney said: "I was shocked to find her [Olewinski] waiting here at the end."

James Vincente, who finished last, declared: "I'm very ashamed of myself. I'm ashamed of cars and our culture in general." AP