Social media can be a total waste of time. It can also be a great connector. The #bikenyc community is a great example of making connections in real life via the virtual world. Those who know me, know I only joined twitter a few years ago when I wanted to connect to other advocates in NYC regarding better conditions for people on bicycles. It’s been great- I can count dozens of people who have become real life friends thanks to #bikenyc & just being involved in advocacy. And they’re not just in NYC- they’re around the world.
I was on ‘the twitters’ as some of us call it, participating in a fun weekly chat called #bikeschool when someone posted a question asking what kind of bike do you ride and what do you like about it.
I responded that I currently had a
beat up well loved and used Trek Allant (that’s done me well the last 4 1/2 years) and while I liked it a lot- it wasn’t my ‘dream’ bike. I wanted a good old upright Dutch bike. Within minutes, one of my #bikenyc friends Jonathan Rabinowitz (@jrab) replied
@bikepeacenyc I have a Batavus if you want to try it out for the next two weeks, made in NL!
— Jonathan Rabinowitz: (@jrab) May 31, 2013
Well, now really… Jonathan was being so generous and who was I to refuse? We made arrangements for me to come and pick up the Oma the next day.
After Jonathan pumped air into the tires, adjusted the seat & checked to see if the lights were working (front OK, but back lights need to be rewired)- we did a quick little photo shoot since Jonathan knew how excited I was to be able to have a Netherlands issued Batavus in my care for the next two weeks.
After circling around & playing with the Oma, it was time to set off & head home. Knowing that I was used to having gears & hand brakes (miss Oma has coaster brakes & no gears), Jonathan gave me the easiest route back home- pedaling about 32 blocks south through the streets of Washington Heights until I got to the West Side Greenway. Along the way, I even ran into some “old” new friends.
I’m not usually up in Washington Heights on my bike. As I tried to locate the bicycle/ped ramp to West Side Greenway I just followed my instincts & followed the bikes in front of me.
Once I got to the WSG, the rest of the ride was filled with more people on bikes and pretty uneventful. As it should be- if we want to see bicycles as transportation truly become normal, “pretty and uneventful” is what we need to build for. While the West Side Greenway is beautiful, it would have been nice to have a more direct safe on street route (aka: protected infrastructure) from Washington Heights to the Upper West Side.
One of my favorite moments was the one below.
Due to the fact that my ride home was so uneventful (save for the multitude of beautiful people on bikes)- I decided the Oma & I needed some more documenting. I suck at ‘panda shots’, so I took a few shadow shots instead.
First impressions of the Oma? I like her a lot. Though I’m used to hand brakes and having several gears to shift in and out of- having neither really wasn’t an issue. I adapted fairly quickly. The best thing about the Oma? Being able to ride in an upright and relaxed manner. I have two weeks to decide whether or not I want to give her a permanent home. I have feeling she’s going to stay. In the meantime- it’s nice to brag that I now have 6002 bikes at my disposal. The old Trek, the Oma and all those wonderful blue Citibikes.