Sure, professional cyclists, bike messengers, and bearded fixed-gear enthusiasts all share the New York City bike lanes. But until recently these diverse cultural communities had little else in common.
Now, with www.BikeNYC.org, which just launched at the end of April, all of these groups are converging in an online forum aimed at consolidating resources, sharing events, and building a great big biking community.
It’s a product of the pedal-happy times: Cycling fever has been building in New York over the past year, and it peeked this May with the annual arrival of Bike Month.
The city hosted both the New Amsterdam Bike Show and the NYC Bike Expo, buzz for the impending CitiBike share program grew to a roar, and the Times reported that construction will soon start on an enormous indoor velodrome (or cycling track) in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
“There was so much interest, it made sense to have a year-round resource,” says Caroline Samponaro, TA’s director of bicycle advocacy.
The idea for the site also grew out of a Twitter hashtag: #bikenyc.
The convention had been used aggregate all tweets related to biking in New York—@StreetsblogNYC posting bike lane updates, @bikenewyork inviting cyclers to events, and @Velojoy suggesting cycling accessories. Now BikeNYC.org consolidates it all.
In addition to posting community events, which anyone can add, the site features bike-centric deals, tips, and a ride-the-city app that allows you to map the safest routes to any point. (Woot woot!) And rotating curators, all of whom are influential cyclers, are featured daily.
Samponaro says that the most important thing is that bikers feel a sense of community and make the site their own—just like they’ve done on the city streets.
“I started riding my bike in New York in the late ’90s, and if I saw another bike rider who wasn’t working [as a messenger], it was weird,” she remembers. “Now I ride to work from Brooklyn, almost entirely in bike lanes, and I’ll be stopped at a light with 15 other bikers. It’s pretty neat.” —Lisa Elaine Held