Recap: Bike Riding IRL
Our second-ever National Bike Month event–Bike Riding IRL, a panel of New York riders from different walks of life sharing their NYC biking experiences–was a smashing success, thanks to all who came, all who sponsored, all who helped us get the word out, and of course our whole team! Keep reading to see what we learned, how much fun we had, and why you should join us next time–because both our events were so much fun that there will definitely be a next time! P.S. Subscribe to our email list over there on the right ➡️ to stay up to date on our calendar!
Jeffrey “Countri Bike” Tanenhaus
Jeffrey Tanenhaus related a time in his life when his Citi Bike commute was the only thing making him happy–so he decided to do more of it by pedaling to California! He was pleased to discover that there’s a bike community in any place you might go, and he felt welcome wherever he stopped. He also turned us on to Warm Showers, the “couch surfing for bicyclists,” according to TreeHugger. He says his favorite thing about riding a bike is that “you’re in control of your own destiny.” Esther Ford of Bronx bike blog La Sporty Femme, got this great shot with him.
Courtney Williams, 5-boro event organizer for Black Girls Do Bike, enumerated the barriers to cycling for women in general and for women of color specifically. When you’re biking as part of a community, she explained, the best way to get to know people is to find common ground–and what’s better than the commonalities of race and gender, and all the cultural experiences that attend them? One of her favorite things about riding: “The view from a bicycle will make you fall in love with New York all over again.” She also had some memorable safety tips: “It turns out white people are not reflective either…” she quipped. Her point? Equip yourself with lights, no matter your persuasion. (Thanks to La Sporty Femme for the photo on the right.)
The best-dressed gentleman of the evening, George described his bicycling mindset: He isn’t trying to win any races; he’s just trying to get from point A to point B, and he happens to be doing it on a bicycle. When he first started riding, he says, he bought lots of “bike clothes,” but then noticed people riding around in everyday wear, and realized that if others could stay true to their own style on a bike, so could he. He notes that riding in New York is a collaborative effort–“everybody has to do their part.” Cars and peds should be more aware and respectful, yes, but he says he also gets uncomfortable “when bicyclists ride in an entitled way–like, ‘I’m ok because the world’s got my back’.” It doesn’t, he maintains, and recommends ways to stay safe: a bike that fits–and brakes. “Brakes are great.” His favorite time to ride is at the end of the workday, when rush hour traffic is stressing out all the drivers: “Those people are mad–and I love blowin’ past ’em on a bike.” (Thanks to Esther for the photo on the right.)
Three years ago, Brooklyn Bicycle Co. president Ryan Zagata gave his friend Jeffrey Moser a Driggs 3 city bike. Since then, Jeffrey’s put 3,000 miles on it–the lion’s share commuting around the city. In his opinion, pedestrians are the ones bike riders should be watching for: “They’re more dangerous than cars. Pedestrians with cell phones are standing in bike lanes all over the city.” (Help us out, walking NYers! Please don’t step into the bike lane without looking!) What he loves most about bike riding in New York is that you can take a new route to work every day and see something different than you saw the day before. And three things a person needs for a successful ride? “A helmet, lights, and awareness.” When every commuter, no matter their mode, is paying attention, we’re all safer. (Thanks to La Sporty Femme for the pic.)
As if all this bike wisdom weren’t enough, everybody also enjoyed tasty brews graciously donated by Sixpoint, and then we sweetened the pot with giveaways from Inkwell Helmets (formerly Belle Helmets), Levi’s Commuter, Loudest Yeller Bicycle Tours, Pivotte, and Po Campo.
Gigi of WE Bike NYC! Congratulations and thanks for being a part of the New York bike community!
We’d like to give a special shoutout to PencilWorks for the use of the beautiful space and to all their staff (Imo, Jamie, and Scott), who helped us make these events a success. We’d also like to thank everyone who helped us promote, including Transportation Alternatives, Greenpointers, Bike New York, Brokelyn, DNA Info, The Skint, Bicycle Habitat, Streetsblog, Velojoy, and anyone else who shared our social posts!