Biking in NYC + Bike Shorts as High Fashion

Biking is a carbon-neutral way to get around and provides me with great exercise that I don’t have to otherwise take time out of my busy day for. If you don’t repeatedly get your bike stolen, it will save you money in the long run over taking the subway. And perhaps most importantly, it means I’m not beholden to the subway because let’s be honest, most days you’d just rather not. 

I’ve been biking in NYC for about 4 years. I love the freedom it gives me and nothing beats the exhilaration of speeding over the Manhattan bridge with all of the NYC skyline stretched out before you. I am so hardcore at this point that a lot of the time it’s just me and the delivery men out there riding around in the cold, rain and at weird hours of the night. I need to take a cue from them and get one of those *cool * reflective vests...

Speaking of fashion, for some reason bike shorts are having a high-fashion moment. To me it looks like you got ready and forgot to put on the bottom portion of your outfit, but I’m truly trying to get on board because I know this won’t last long and it’s not often that cycling gear and high fashion intersect. I am more likely to take a cue from circa 92 Princess Di and wear with a sweatshirt and sneakers, but I may try wearing bike shorts with heels and a blouse out on the town and see what happens…

di shorts.jpg

If you’re interested in biking, below is a list I wish I had read before I embarked on my life as a city cyclist:

Locks/Stealing

  1. Bikes get stolen very frequently. There is a whole underground market of stolen bikes.

  2. The best way to prevent your bike from getting stolen is to make sure it doesn’t look nice. Scratch it up! Buy a used one. This sounds weird but I’ve gotten this advice from multiple people.

  3. There are bike thieves out there who have tiny electric saws that can cut through any lock.

  4. Your bike lock will only serve as a deterrent. So make sure it’s a multi part bike lock so there’s more work and a more awkward scene for someone trying to steal it. A U-lock and one of those twisty chords for the tires, for instance. 

The bike:

If you get a new bike it will cost you at least $400. This can be a lot of money up front for some of us. However, it’s surprisingly hard to find an inexpensive and good used bike. I got my first bike for free from a friend and ended up putting a fair bit of money into it. After that one got stolen, I bought a new bike that didn’t need any money put into it and approximately a month later it got stolen. My next bike I searched and searched for a good deal to no avail and was eventually desperate enough that I took the train to East New York to a tiny bike shop and bought one for $180. Turns out it needed: new brake pads, new tires, new chain and new gears. I haven’t had all the necessary work put in and I’ve already spent $150. Soooo could have basically bought another new good-enough bike. However, this third bike hasn’t gotten stolen yet, possibly because it is old looking!

Overall, biking in the city has changed my urban life into an experience that feels more free and vital than before. Especially in Brooklyn where the public transit only goes east west it makes many neighborhoods much more accessible. It remains to be seen if the bike shorts trend will change my life, but I have high hopes.