Relaxed Attitudes

Noticing a lot more relaxed and upright cycling in NYC this summer. A nice trend. Keep up the good work.

Zen

Summer Casual | Central Park

Unflappable

Zen and Bliss

Doubling. NYC Style.

Insouciant

Well, Hello.

Upright and Relaxed

Upright and Relaxed

Upright and Relaxed

Upright and Relaxed

Madison Avenue

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Detroit on My Mind

For the second month in a row, Saks Fifth Avenue is featuring bicycles in their window displays. Last month was a tip of the hat to Father’s Day. This month, it’s an homage to summer travel.

Shinola Bicycles | Saks Fifth Avenue

This month’s windows feature Shinola bicycles. I grew up in a Detroit suburb and like many Detroit area expats, have a strong sense of pride and love for my ‘hometown’. By pure chance, I also happen to be headed to Detroit today for a long overdue visit.

Shinola Bicycles | Saks Fifth Avenue

For many Americans, there is a long held romantic notion of the summer car trip. I love that these window displays shift that idea towards the idea of a summer bicycle trip. No special bicycle clothes or gear- just normal (though expensive) clothing and bags to bring along whatever you need. But that’s how advertising works. It’s aspirational.

These windows are one of those subtle indications I love to notice: that bicycles are mainstreaming back into the daily fabric of our lives. As far as ‘trends’ go, street style and high fashion both feed off one another. I think it’s pretty great that one of  NYC’s most famous luxury department stores can visualize and promote bicycles as a normal form of transportation.

Shinola isn’t the only bicycle manufacturer based in Detroit. Three other companies have set up shop in the D- Detroit Bikes, Detroit Bicycle Company and Freighty Cat (though Freighty Cat has yet to start production).

Wouldn’t it be cool if some future day, when someone mentions Detroit and the Big Three- that bicycles would come to mind instead of automobiles?

Looking forward to seeing you soon, my dear Detroit. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

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Independence Day

Let freedom ring. Pass along the love and teach someone you know how to ride a bicycle.

About to Set Free

Gently nudge them on as they find their independence.When You Give Kids Safe Space to Cycle, They Own It.

When you give kids safe space to ride, they own it.

Kids. Free. Should be like this everywhere. And why are cars still allowed in Central Park?

All our public spaces should be safe enough so that anyone can ride from age 8…

When we finally get a protected bike lane on 5th Ave, can we name it after Bill?…to 80 and beyond.

Happy Independence Day. Ride on Patriots.

 

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Thanks Dad.

A slightly belated Father’s Day post.

Pass Along the Love. Teach a Kid to Ride.

For all the Dads who taught their kids to ride a bicycle.

I'm Done. Carry Me Home Dad.

Who carried them home when they were to tired to pedal anymore.

All Smiles on the Family SUV

Who knew the best kind of family SUV to get from A to B.

School. Errands. Home.

Who picked you up from school and brought you home.

Papa is My Co-Pilot

Who made sure you got the best seat.

Get Dad A Bicycle for Father's Day

Thanks for all you do. Hope you got a new set of wheels for Father’s Day.

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Signs of Life

A sign that a city’s effort to make cycling accessible to everyone is succeeding? Parents transporting their most precious cargo by bicycle from A to B.

Family Outing

Whether it’s by cargo bike.

Who Knew Hummer Drivers Could Be So Adorable?

A gentle nudge along the way.

Mom, Keeping a Close Watch

Or keeping a close watch.

***

An even better sign that we’re doing something right is when you see kids cycling independently.

Independent | Traffic Flow Because the environment is relatively safe.

They Ride, Despite a Hostile Environment

When despite a hostile environment, kids will still ride bicycles.

Wheels Up, Wheels Down

When bicycles outnumber cars.

Wheels Up Wheels Down

When our children feel comfortable and safe enough to have fun and  ‘pop a wheelie’.

The Innocence of Spring. School Chums.
When they’re at such ease that enjoying a popsicle and some bonding with a school chum, is utterly safe, normal and enjoyable.

There are two things that will get us there. Streets designed for people (not cars) and more people on bikes.

There’s a fun easy way to get more people on bikes this weekend. Make Brooklyn Safer is having a Kid’s Bike Swap/Bike Rodeo Saturday April 14 from 11:00-1:00pm.

Whether you have children or not, you should go. Who knows how many children you will inspire to find the freedom and joy of getting from A to B by bicycle. That child you might inspire? They might be the voice of the next generation who will keep our message going forward and gaining strength.

Power to the people. Peace y’all.

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New Amsterdam

New AmsterdamSome days if you squint your eyes and imagine cycling infrastructure everywhere with different buildings in the background,  you could almost pretend you were in another city. A city where riding a bike is nothing out of the ordinary.

Old DutchWhere no one thinks it’s extraordinary to cycle to or from work.

Totally Relaxed

Where stopping by a shop to pick up a new pair of shoes while out cycling is mundane.

Snow #bikeNYC Dutch Style

Where cycling in the snow while holding an umbrella isn’t a rarely seen event and bike lanes are filled with people on bikes instead of illegally parked cars.

All Around ClassWhere everyone cycles.

Sun KissedEven moms on their way to pick up their kids at school.

Curious

Where no one blinks an eye that you’re riding a bicycle when you’re dressed nicely.

Lela RoseWhere people cycle from A to B whether it’s a nice sunny day.

Dapper on a Chill Morning

Or a grey, cold and chilly one.

Family Outing

Where when you mention the family SUV, you’re really talking about the family cargo bike.

This Isn't Amsterdam

Well, almost. We’re not quite Amsterdam yet.

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Tipping Points- Look for it in the Little Things

Sometimes when you’re looking for signs of progress towards a healthy cycling ‘culture’, it’s the little things that indicate we’re on the right track. In places where cycling for transportation is as normal as getting out of bed in the morning, no one would blink an eye at the sight of someone walking their dog by bicycle.

Doggie Walking

In NYC, it’s still an anomaly, but twice in one week, I spotted two different individuals doing just that- and by Citibike no less.

Citibike Your Dog Walk

Citibike is in the news again because the company that manages the system, Alta is in serious financial trouble and by proxy, so is Citibike. We’re all hopeful that a solution will be worked out and I like Doug Gordon of BrooklynSpoke’s argument that it should be granted public subsidies. All our other public transportation systems receive subsidies, why not Citibike?

Financial woes aside, Citibike has been a great success for NYC’s residents- adding nearly 100,000 people (via annual memberships) on bicycles to our streets. If NYC had a complete network of cycling infrastructure that felt safe and enjoyable to everyone at any age, I’d wager those numbers would be much greater.

If we look at the behavior of people on bicycles in NYC, there’s definitely been a shift since Citibike was introduced. I’m seeing more social cycling. I’m also seeing more ‘types’ of people on bicycles that beforehand wouldn’t have chosen a bicycle for transportation. Overall, there’s a more relaxed attitude towards cycling from A to B than there was a year  ago.

Vivien en Brutus

Previous to Citibike, there was only one person I ever witnessed walking their dog by bicycle. I ran into her over the years on the streets, in Central Park and on the West Side Greenway. We always exchanged a friendly ‘hello’. Her name was Vivien and her dog’s name was Brutus.

Vivian & Brutus

It was always such a treat for me whenever I spotted them- a spot of Dutch cycling culture inserted into the NYC urban landscape. Over time, I discovered she was the wife to the then current (and now former) Dutch Ambassador.

Once I was lucky to spot her husband, the Ambassador himself, out cycling Brutus for a walk. Walking the Dog

Vivien, her husband and Brutus have retired and returned to the Netherlands. I have no idea if the new ambassador cycles for transportation here- whether with a dog or not.

But it’s a small sign of hope that other regular New Yorkers- not of Dutch origin and who might not even own a bicycle- would choose to hop on a bicycle and go for a walk with their dogs. The photos of Vivien, her husband and Brutus were taken uptown- where we have minimal safe cycling infrastructure (don’t worry, advocates are working on that) and   no Citibike stations as of yet.  Downtown, where the other photos were taken, we do have a decent network of cycling infrastructure and Citibike stations galore. Naturally, this is where the most people just look ‘normal’ when cycling and going about their daily business.

Citibike Your Dog WalkPeople walking dogs by bicycle is a small sign of progress. When we see an even split between men and women cycling from A to B, then we’re really starting to get somewhere. The end measure for the success of cycling in NYC? When it’s normal to see kids cycling independently from A to B. To achieve that- we need to keep fighting for and implementing more and better infrastructure. It’s a long haul, but I’m optimistic we’ll get there.

Where will we be in 10 years? Hopefully at a better place overall. Ten years ago, even though I wished for it, I could have never predicted the first on-street protected bike lane (established in 2009) or the existence of Citibike (2013). Hell, six months ago, advocates were worried that with the departure of Bloomberg that the safe streets movement might ground to a halt. Yet here we are now with Vision Zero as a promise and a reality. The political fight going forward isn’t going to be quick or easy- but now more than ever we have people in our NYC government who see the value of safer streets (and more people on bicycles).

In the meantime, noticing these little things is like sighting the first robin of spring. A sign of hope.

 

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