The origins of Bike Your City date back a few years before it went live in the Fall of 2013.
At the start of a backpacking trip through Central Europe in 2011, I visited bicycle paradise – Amsterdam, Netherlands. It surpassed any expectation and took me by surprise. I was greatly amazed and impressed how so much of the city was within reach and built around bicycle-use. After using a bike rental for a day to get around and check out the sites, I learned I was able to do so much within a short matter of time (from my agenda). It was undoubtedly the best way to get around the city. I even felt it necessary to write it down in my travel journal noting, "The Dutch do it right. The USA should learn from this. Exercise + Less Air Population + Cost Savings = Bicycles. It's not Rocket Science."
This experience stayed in the back of my brain for a long while. A year later, I decided to purchase my 1st bike as an adult. Traveling was a big part of my life between 2010-2013, having visited Europe five times within this period. I love to travel, but I knew I would not always have the privilege to afford international travel every year. Biking in NYC helped suppress these urges of pursuing adventure and expedition abroad. More and more, biking became my outlet to experience new things within my own backyard.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't know NYC as well as I should have compared to others. However with every trip, the rides grew and covered more ground. It started simple within my own neighborhood Astoria/LIC, then I began venturing to Greenpoint/Williamsburg, and before I knew it - I was yearning for more. Limits were never placed. I kept pushing myself farther, so my legs never stopped pedaling.
Around the Summer of 2013, I felt the need to do start or create something. At the time, my anti-gentrification views had begun to hit its peak. Creating a website/blog around NYC crossed my mind, but meant for a native New Yorker audience. Its intention was meant to ignite a movement and provide a voice against the negative effects of gentrification in order to enlighten the public - away from the glamour, the cool bars, the warehouse parties, and its concept of progress.
I wanted to call it "Not Your City." After some failed searches around the web for domains and social media accounts, I came to realize that gentrification had always been a part of NY (in some shape or form) and neighborhoods always change. This city was built by people from the outside (my family included), both national or international. Moreover, I felt I was being too cynical with the idea. It didn’t represent who I am. Instead, I wanted to help and connect with people, as well as do something positive for them and somehow maybe even manage to give back to NYC at the same time. The epiphany had flipped a switch and I swapped the “N” from NYC for a "B." The acronym BYC had a ring to it and as a result - Bike Your City was born.
I figured if a native New Yorker was able to learn more about his city on a bicycle within a couple of months than his entire life - then I couldn't be alone. Most New Yorkers only see a fraction of the big picture because we tend to restrain ourselves and create boundaries based on neighborhood, borough, and subway line.
The "New York Experience” behind handlebars is far more exciting and fulfilling. It unifies us and something I personally felt worth-sharing.
-Bike Your City