East Coast Americans, and in particular New Yorkers, seems to have a real affinity with hopping across the pond in search of cycling nirvana in France or Italy. Love Velo have been lucky enough to have received a number of North American riders on our holidays and as we expand into the US, we thought a quick trip to the ‘city that never sleeps’ would be as much fun as it would be ‘proper’ work!
Meeting our business partners in a vibrant café in Central Park on the weekend, we weren’t in the least surprised to see cyclists of all ages out and about on what has been unseasonably good weather in New York City this week. Cycling in good weather is not 'news' but what struck us was just how bicycle-progressive a city New York actually is. Of all the US major cities, New York, and Manhattan in particular, is not where we thought we would see miles and miles of bike lanes. After all, we weren’t in the milder climes of the west coast, nor were we in a city fabled for its wholesome, earth-loving behaviour!
Yet, New York City has installed cycle tracks on most of Manhattan’s major avenues and on the major roads linking Manhattan to the Outer Boroughs. The question is why? And we think we’ve stumbled on the answer. Cycling and fashion now go hand in hand in a way that they never have beforehand. And New York is a fashion paradise. There are of course clothing brands which are ‘cycling cool’ and one London brand even had a New York pop up store in September of this year. However, technical cycling gear is always going to be just that – technical. And whilst that will attract the cycling community, it won’t appeal to the very casual cyclist.
What we saw in NYC was a marriage between urban Greenwich Village living socialites and the bike. Leaving the cupcake haven of Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street, we stumbled right onto a photo shoot on location. Other than the models wearing impossibly high heels, how had everyone arrived? You got it, via their bikes. Even the photographer with all his equipment turned up pedal powered. And it wasn’t just there that the NYC fashonistas were cycling. The meatpacking district, Soho, NoLita – all the boutique areas of NYC were being overtaken by cyclists. It even extended to New York’s blogging community. Cool, well known blogs such as this one, which has nothing much to do with cycling, seem to always be talking about riding in some form or another.
We could have spent ages in the city but sadly our trip only lasted a week. One thing’s for certain though. Next time, we are taking our bikes……
If you’re going to NYC between now and January, check out this cycling art exhibition and let us know what you think at
The images above capture a little of the cycling scene in New York and were taken near the Williamsburg Bridge and central Manhattan.
OK, so when we saw the picture below, we thought someone had put a toilet seat over their head or that they were being slowly engulfed by a giant mozzarella ball. But as it turns out, this new invention looks pretty sleek and the only time that it looks comical is if it's busy saving your life - and at that point, we guess that you're probably not overly style conscious.
So what is it? Well it's a new take on the bicycle helmet or more precisely, it's an inflatable bicycle helmet. Jump aboard your bike and simply attach what looks like a giant scarf around your neck. Then ride around to your heart's content with the wind blowing in your hair. Hopefully you'll never see the inflatable aspect of the invention but we're not so naive to think that nobody falls or gets knocked off their bike (although life would be that much sweeter if all cyclist remained upright at all times). So, if you hit a pothole and find yourself hurtling towards the ground, the scarf automatically inflates around your head saving your precious skull from impact with the tarmac.
We still have some questions unanswered such as what happens if the helmet is accidentally dropped and can the inflatable be reused. More importantly, the tests show the inflatable working on a slow impact accident and we don't know if the inflatable could react quickly enough at higher speeds. But if the boffins can figure all this out, this might be the beginning of a helmet revolution!
The 2011 Tour de France route was launched earlier today and what a prospect it is for the climbers.
The Col du Tourmalet, the Aubisque and the Soulor are all included at stages 12 & 13 before the Tour winds its way into the Alps for a gruelling last week which will see the riders attack the legendary Galibier and L'Alpe d'Huez. For those wishing to take part in the Etape Du Tour next year, check back tomorrow on our Twitter or Facebook account for news of where the Etape will take place - although we reckon that it's a dead cert that it will be on L'Alpe d'Huez.
As we did last year, Love Velo will be running a Pyrenean training camp between 4-11 June 2011 which will take in the climbs that the Tour riders will be facing. Staying in Salles in the heart of the Pyrenees, our training will offer incredible riding, full support and a luxury villa to relax in every evening. Spaces are limited for 2011 so book now.
We will also be running Etape training camps, riding the roads that the Etapists will be attempting to conquer. Details of the ride will be released once the Etape location has been confirmed by the organisers but demand has been huge for this and so we are taking advance bookings for our camps. Please email
to guarantee your space.
See what Bradley Wiggins makes of the 2011 Tour de France route here.
We love Radio 1 and, dare we say it, we love a bit of X-Factor (sshhhhh - don't mention that too loudly) so we were intrigued to see Radio 1 presenter Edith Bowman and X factor presenter Dermot O'Leary star as part of Transport for London's new cycling videos.
There are 5 films on youtube and a sixth opening in cinemas soon. Each film concentrates on a different aspect of the Mayor of London’s cycling revolution, such as the flagship Cycle Hire scheme, and tells a story around one of the people taking part.
The cinema film also features the new Bike Song track by producer and DJ, Mark Ronson which we blogged about last week.