Nicholas Reale, the Untapped Cities resident biking expert, tour guide for Get Up and Ride and former bike messenger, shares his Top 10 Tips for biking in NYC, if you’re looking to move from the intermediate, post Citibike stage to expert urban cycler.
With a burning desire to elevate your NYC bike lifestyle to the next level, you’ve made the $150 investment for some endearing hunk o’junk (which you will soon christen as Betsy, or whatever) from that ex-hippie that sells bikes street-side on Avenue A. It would be incorrect to call you a “newbie,” but just the same you’re not quite the “expert” yet. Below, we detail some of the top habits and tips to get acclimated with, if you wish to make biking in NYC a daily part of your routine. We’ve intentionally excluded the obvious things like, “Wear a helmet!” and, “Get a bell!” assuming that you have a functioning brain and want to keep it that way.
It’s summertime which means it’s time to make maximum use of your bike or your Citibike membership. Here, we’ve put together four bike routes for cyclists who are looking to discover some history along with their ride. Included in this article are a leisurely ride from Prospect Park to Brighton Beach, jumping across the East River between Williamsburg, Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, a jam-packed historical route through downtown Manhattan, and a cultural jaunt through Upper Manhattan.
1. The Leisure Lover
Where to: Northern Prospect Park along the Ocean Parkway to Brighton Beach
We here at Untapped love all of DOT’s ventures, especially those pertaining to two-wheeled transportation. In our eyes, bike lanes are the bee’s knees and Citi Bike’s a triumph, never mind the latter’s losing money faster than your aunt playing slots. We have to admit, however, that the department may have stumbled when it published the uptight and naive Bike Smart Guide. How many real New Yorkers are going to “Stop at all red lights and stop signs“? Save that kind of talk for downtown Des Moines.
Though Untapped would never condone bicycle rule-breaking, we are, if nothing else, a practical gang. Temptation lurks at every traffic stop, and sooner or later even the best-bred cyclist skirts the letter of the law. So why not sin in style? Untapped proudly presents a biking guide for real New Yorkers.
The first official bike vending machine for bike repairs on the go 24/7 popped up in Brooklyn back in 2010 but we love the machine at Time’s Up because of how DIY it is! Thanks to Untapped Cities reader Sam Dolgin-Gardner who submitted these photos through our Mailbag. History buffs will note how the vending mechanism is kind of automat like. On the left, a painted sign says the air is free “aire gratis” from the air pumps attached to the machine. Also awesome: the abbreviation for machine to MACHN.
Over the course of one hundred days in 1994, one million people were massacred in the Rwandan Genocide. The bicycle became not only a mode of transit, but a means of survival. In the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” farmers raced barefoot down hillsides on bikes loaded with a hundred pounds of potatoes, taxi drivers peddled across villages with women and children in tow, and in back alleys children played with bent bicycle wheels. But they never cycled competitively until Jonathan “Jock” Boyer, the first American to compete in the Tour de France, came to coach Team Rwanda, the country’s first national cycling team.
Rwandan cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti lost sixty of his family members. He started cycling in 2003 and rode a mountain bike for the first time in 2006, catching up to Jock and a winning a local race. In 2011, Adrien qualified for the Olympics, sending shock waves through the international community.