Can a flat tire change the world…The Brooklyn Cruiser City Bike is Born
Why a bike company? Why now? There are countless reasons but they can all be summed up from some recent visits to the Far East where we fell in love with what has become affectionately know as the city bike.
In 2010, we spent some time in Japan and Vietnam – hopping off in Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) and then flying north to Hanoi and working our way back south again to Ho Chi Minh. For those of you who have not added Vietnam to your “must visit” list, drop it in there near the top – you will not be disappointed.
Regarding the birth of our city bike, we were touring with our driver in Ho Chi Minh, melting away in the hot Vietnamese summer traffic. Vietnamese roads are notoriously pockmarked and after a few miles of slow going, our driver somehow managed to maneuver one of our tires into what we could only imagine was the biggest pothole in the country. He was quickly rewarded for his efforts with a flat tire.
As we waited for our driver to repair the damaged tire, we became enthralled with number of the people cruising by on their city bikes – they had to outnumber cars tenfold. A light bulb must have went off in our heads at that moment because we simultaneously looked at each other, wondering aloud why we were in this amazing country voluntarily trapping ourselves in the back seat of a car? Why are we not out breathing in the country, absorbing the culture, being human? From that point on through the remainder of our trip in cities such as Hanoi, Hue and Hoi An, we each rode a city bike silly – literally.
That fateful day happened to be the turning point – we spent the rest of our trip – cameras in hand – shooting each city bike we could find – trying to capture the elements that made it so popular and utilitarian. Some common themes:
Functional – these city bikes were not tricked out with the latest and greatest carbon frames or derailleurs – each city bike somehow managed to be both simple and functional.
Comfortable – I am not sure if it was the swept back handlebars or the dual coil seats but from the moment we hopped on these commuter bikes, we swore we would never return to traditional mountain or road bikes. We were hooked on the city bike.
Stylish – while the infamous Flying Pigeon styled after classic Dutch bikes seemed to be the design of choice, many bikes had their own touches of flare to help them stand out in the crowd. Everyplace we visited had its own slight variation of the city bike.
Quiet, cheap, and fun, the bicycles eliminated both traffic jams and exhaust while providing a way for the locals to get some invigorating outdoor exercise as part of their daily routine. In many urban areas, people on city bikes seemed to be getting to work far more quickly and easily than those inching through traffic in metal boxes. Most of all, the people we saw riding a city bike looked like they were ENJOYING their commute. Quite the refreshing change of pace from the automobile-driven urban gridlock we were used to at home.
Upon our return to the States, Brooklyn Cruiser was born with a pursuit of make cycling easier, simpler, and more accessible for more people – giving everyone a chance to spend part of each day feeling like they are a kid again.