Step #1: Find someone who genuinely cares about reducing your carbon footprint to take you: These "earthy folks" are probably already members of the "bicycle club, nyc" and will therefore not only know where the best places to buy one are, but will make sure you know the rules of the road, get the best lock, basket, helmet, etc. My guide was Timothy Polmateer, co-founder of Envirolution. I met him through Stephanie Wei, who has been teaching me her "green" ways for months now.
Step #2: Make sure you shop around: Go to several stores, and even ask advice from people who know you as to what bike they think would suit you. I called my friends and sister to make sure I was making the right color choice (I really wanted red but my favorite model only came in baby blue, or dark purple, after much discussion I settled on the retro blue)...More story and photos:
- We started at Sids Bicycle store on 34th first, I wasn't that impressed...
- We walked down to Metrobicycles on 14th. I found the Trek model that I loved but wasn't convinced it was the right color for me so we made one more stop to:
- Busy Bee's Bikes on 6th street in the East Village: this was by far my favorite store but the models were a bit too rustic for me and my yuppie ways.
Step #3:Take your test drive: When I finally decided that I just couldn't wait for shipping on a "red" bike that I chose online, I opted for my original Baby blue Trek version. Claire had the same model out east in yellow and I fell in love. After riding it up and down 14th street I decided it was the one for me.
Step #4: You are going to need a lot of accessories: Buying a bike is like buying a dog. You can't just buy the thing, you need the food, doggy bowl, leash, outfits (kidding). Well, I needed a helmet for one. And a bell. After that I added on a basket, night lights, kickstand, and water bottle holder; pimp my ride style. Tim suggested the gloves and spandex zip down shirt, but I didn't want to over do it.
Step #5: People are mean: The last time I bought a bike was around 7th grade. I think my lock was a New Kids On The Block themed one that I could have probably broken myself even despite my scrawny arms, and served more of a "cool accessory" (along with my wheel beads), than a theft deterrent. Well this is the big city and people here can be tools. After spending close to ten minutes discussing which lock would be the best for me, I decided on the newest gadgets available: Pinhead-brand locking skewers which require a key to open and are installed in place of quick-release wheels. I bought 3 (for wheels and seat) as well as the kryptonite lock with a code...because god knows I don't need another key to carry around.
Go HERE for a great guide on bike locks.
Step #5: Get Icecream afterwards: Buying a bike is hard work! Plus, it makes you feel like a kid again, and you might as well milk that feeling for all its worth on a summer evening. Go and get some gelato in the village! Just remember to keep an eye on your new pet!
I am now officially a member of the "bike club" and I have to tell you, my life has dramatically changed. I have been opened up to an entirely new New York. From 5:00pm onwards into the evening, I strolled through the village and LES like I owned the place. Thank you Tim for making me a happy, happy girl! Matthew Modine would be proud.
I have my new pet (actual model of my bicycle HERE), now I just need a name for her. Any suggestions?