This weekend I woke up early to pedal into Manhattan and take part in a panel discussion on bike commuting at the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show. On my way there I rode past a city worker who was painting bike lanes onto 21st street. I thanked him.
Lara from Bicycle Habitat moderated the panel—I met her when I purchased my Globe. (She rides a Linus.) During the discussion I was flanked by two other commuters: Adam Pollock, who’s been riding into work for 10 years, and Dmitry Gudkov, who’s been biking for transport for 2 years. (He’s best known as the guy who takes pictures of New Yorkers with their bikes.) I shared some of my tips for getting started—get comfortable biking around your neighborhood before you trek on into the office, sometimes making a pedestrian-style left turn is best—and also learned several things from my co-panelists. Namely that I’m ill-prepared for any sort of mechanical problems, that making visible, predictable moves is the best way to avoid a collision, and that I’m in good company now that I’ve joined the ranks of city riders. I also had the longest commute between the three of us (7.2 miles each way) which made me feel pretty good.
After the panel I walked around and checked out the vendors. Here are my faves:
Be Crate: These are the bicycle crates that my friend Jess is making. Perfectly proportioned, durable, and handmade. Nice!
Bamboo Bicycles: I’d heard of this design/style of bike but today I got the back story. Apparently the idea came from a grad school project trying to find a way to get affordable bikes to Africa. The guys who run the company seem super passionate and knowledgeable, and the bikes were super light.
Madame de Pe: This Amsterdam-based company makes girly rain-gear for cyclists. I broke the bank and bought one of the jackets. No rain since but I’ll post on the jacket’s fun features as soon as I take it for a spin.
Belle Helmets: Brooklyn-based artists Danielle Baskin hand-paints helmets so that you’re wearing a work of art as you ride. She sells her own designs and also paints to order.
Adeline Adeline: I finally saw what all the buzz is about! I haven’t been to the store yet—I hope to soon—but they had some gorgeous biking accessories, from Brooks Saddles to helmets that looked like equestrian riding caps.
Maid Marian Muffins: Author Jessica Vander Salm was parked outside the show passing out yummy (free!) muffins from a crate on the back of her “Robin Hood” style bike. In addition to the actual muffins, she’s written a children’s book under the Maid Marian’s Muffins theme.