NYC Bikers

Life is meant to be lived on the back of a bike. At least the fun parts. This blog is an effort on my part to convert the world into bikers, starting with my friends living here in Fresh Meadows! Even if I have to do it single handedly, I will civilize the bikers of New York!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

So What is a NYC Bicycle Rider? - Part 2

Amsterdam! It opened my eyes forever and no - not for the reasons you are thinking you deviant. Amsterdam is the land of bikes. There are bikes everywhere and cars - they actually stop to give you right of way! Oh, and the bikes are uber comfy with racks in the back and the front to carry stuff. I actually carried my luggage from the train station to the our rented townhouse on my bike. Brilliant!

Amsterdam! Where bikes have their own lanes, their own traffic lights, and throughout the Netherlands and Belgium, bikes have their own interstate highway system. It's crazy but true - the bike highways have exists and kilo-millage signs that run parallel to the car highways but are separated by tons of steel and wire.

More bikes are stolen every year in Amsterdam then the city has people! The people I saw tended to be very fit because of the active lifestyle and it is not unusual to see a whole family out for a bike ride on a sunny afternoon. During the week in the mornings, rain or shine, you can see young girls on pink barbie doll bikes going to school.

The bike is King (or Queen fore even Beatrix bikes to work) in Holland and Belgium, as it should be. Pedestrians get out of the way for oncoming bikers because everyone knows how annoying it is to lose momentum on a bike. EVERYONE in Amsterdam that can physically ride a bicycle does. In fact, some statistics show that in Amsterdam it is more likely that a trip will be done by bike then by car. 30% of people ride their bike to work everyday with an additional 40% riding their bikes to work occasionally. That is more then half your population riding a bike to work which helps keep biking safe because the dude you door-slam could be your boss.

Amsterdam revealed the truth to me. Amsterdam showed me that I COULD ride my bike in the rain (even though my dad always said no) without getting a streak of mud across my back. Amsterdam made me believe that I could ride my bike safely with class, dignity, and proper posture. In Amsterdam I realized that life was more fun on the back of a bicycle - especially when it had fenders, lights that ran on pedal power, racks to carry stuff, a fully covered chain-case, a double kickstand, and the all important "get the hell out of my way" bell. I also learned in Amsterdam that 3 speeds is all I need.

Now that I found my Nirvana I wondered how I could bring back this little slice of heaven to the states. Was New York City ready for a Dutch cruiser bike? Only time, and possibly this blog, will tell.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

So What is a NYC Bicycle Rider? - Part 1

I am a New York City bicycle rider and I own 3 bikes. I own my old, trusty Trek 1000 that still gets comments `cause its so nice (not). I mean, it's a good quality bike and it's been well maintained so it runs great but it is past its prime. I've had that thing since the 80's and it is all I knew of bikes (except for my old BMX and assorted kid tricycles) until I borrowed a friend's mountain bike here and there.

Fast forward 20 years later and all I've ridden day in and day out is my road bike. It is very fast and very nimble which makes it a great racing bike. Unfortunately I never race (unless some other dude tries to pass me on one of my leisurely rides). Then it is a race I usually lose.

Still, I loved my bike and I loved riding it, except when it rained because my back got all wet and the brakes didn't work so well on a wet rim. Oh and I hated to ride it in rough pavement for fear of damaging a rim or popping a tire. Oh and I didn't like it off road for obvious reasons. I also felt unsafe bent don't near my brakes, but I felt unsafe sitting upright unable to quickly hit my brakes. And the road bike handlebars were not good for carrying groceries so going to the supermarket meant bringing a backpack. Last but surely not least, even though I loved and still love my Trek road bike, I never liked the fact I was going to get chain grease on my leg.

My girlfriend gave me a mountain bike about 5 years ago. That bike was very similar to my road bike (since I don't race) except it was slower and could go off road (duh). The handlebars were better for groceries but I still really needed a book bag. Another positive was that it got flats much less then my Trek.

I spent my days mostly on my Trek probably out of habit or because Dr. K would yell at me for riding my mountain bike. Only if I was bike riding with The Diva would I take my mountain bike. Even with all the negatives I loved and still love that Trek. Then something changed my life for ever...

Cow Bike!

Cow Bike!
Maes kept getting attacked by the cows whenever she biked through the fields. She decided camouflage would be the only way to survive.

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