Courtesy of Dmitry Gudkov
For those that don’t know, #bikenyc represents a quickly growing twitter group, tweeting and sharing everything bicycle related in New York City. #bikenyc is a combination of petitioners, community builders, bicycle enthusiasts, commuters, bloggers, and if you hadn’t guessed by my title, tech nurds who ride bikes.
The first #bikenyc tech meetup was hosted at pivotal labs, current home of TechStars and organized by Noel Hidalgo (@noneck), Lara (@bicyclehabitat), and Michael Green (@bikeblognyc). I happen to be interested in both the bicycling and tech communities in NYC. Little did I know there were others like me. The intersection of these two communities at #bikenyc is a great step towards using technology to make NYC a safer, more social place to ride. Here are some of my thoughts regarding the future of the meetup and what I hope to see come out of it. While I’m not a programmer, I hope to do my own part contributing through idea generation, business development, my network, etc.
- In order to build great products, programmers need great data. The bike infrastructure in NYC can only be enhanced with the release of city data through open API’s. Obviously, getting the Bloomberg administration to release this information will be a slow and painful process, but I think it should be made a number one priority. We could hold our own version of Big Apps competition, inviting programmers to participate in a hackathon specifically for cycling infrastructure in New York. The innovations that come out of these programs could help put pressure on the government. Proof of use cases with the data will certainly increase the argument for open API’s. Moreover, we need to recruit other groups that would also have a strong use for city information. Joining forces with other transportation startups like Roadify will help apply pressure in critical mass. From my own perspective, interning at NYC Seed, it would be tactiful to organize the large venture capitalists in NYC to apply pressure for open API’s as well. They have a lot to gain, as many of their portfolio companies could benefit from the increased amount of data. As Silicon Alley grows, east coast VC’s can wield a certain amount of power over local government. It is their companies that are supplying jobs as they grow. Our economy relies on startups for these very reasons: innovation and employment.
- There seemed to be somewhat of a division between the #bikenyc technologists and the #bikenyc community not-for-profit organizers. At its heart, the #bikenyc tech meetup should exist to facilitate communication between these two parties. Those interested in enhancing the cycling community through initiatives like group rides, community board meetings, etc need to state clearly to programmers what their problems are and how they could be addressed by building online platforms and applications. I believe the majority of #bikenyc tech meetups should be focused on bridging this divide. We may try to model our meet-ups on the fashion 2.0 conferences. One or two questions could be proposed prior to the meetup to align everyone thinking about the same topics. Although classifying whose an “expert” in this field may be difficult, we could invite entrepreneurs from other startups to come speak and offer their own input on how we can help them, and vice versa.
- Following the notion of proposing specific topics each meeting, we need to decide on a long term goal. Whether that means increasing the number of bike lanes, getting more cyclists on the road, reducing the number of vehicles, saving bike lanes already built (PPW), or getting data from the city. Establishing some long-term goals will help put everyone’s thoughts into perspective about what is and is not realistic to accomplish right now.
I expect a lot will come out of the #bikenyc tech meetup in the future. There is certainly a ton of room for improvement when thinking about New York becoming a safe, friendly environment to bike. The reasons for supporting these initiatives are simple. Biking makes people healthy, social, and above all happy. If we can use the internet to progress this thinking, we will have done our part to make our community that much better. Until then, ride on #bikenyc.
Oh, and shout out to my photographer/friend Dmitry Gudkov whose #bikenyc portraits you can find on his blog or by clicking the image above. He has done a great job bringing the #bikenyc community together through his photography. And feel free to hit him up for your own picture as spring approaches!
Posted in #bikenyc, Entrepreneurship, Random Thoughts
Tagged bicycle, Bicycle Safety, bicyclists, bike, bike lane, bike nyc, bike ride, bike safety, bikenyc, Cityspoke, entrepreneurship, fashion2.0, NYC, roadify, scott amenta, startup, tech startups, technology
I’m thinking of biking across the country– NYC to LA! It should take less than 60 days and I plan to camp and/or sleep in motels along the way. I’m looking at the Transamerica route but its hard to tell if that is the best option to make the most of the trip. I am considering attempting to make my own route. Anyways, I would love to hear from anyone that has experience biking across the U.S. or knows of some good routes. Oh, and did I mention I’m planning to do the whole ride on a fixed gear bike! Leave your stories or ideas in the comments section below!
I also thought this quote from Ernest Hemingway was both fitting and rather inspiring for the trip.
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” Ernest Hemingway
Posted in News
Tagged bicycle, bicyclists, bike, bike america, bike nyc, bike ride, bikenyc, Cityspoke, ernest hemingway, fixed gear, fixie, scott amenta, transamerica route
The CitySpoke team will be stuck in class @NYU during Thursdays City Council Meeting @ 9:30. Nonetheless I wanted to give you all some words of encouragement! I was looking at some old Jackie Chan footage and came across a couple of classic scenes where he uses bicycles to fight his way through his enemies. I know we’re all looking for a peaceful settlement to the long running feud between #bikenyc and the pedestrians and drivers that feel the roads are safer without us, but in the event that this all boils down to one grand finale of a battle.. I think we’re best to be prepared 🙂 So enjoy the videos below and take note of a few key moves that Jackie makes, they could be vital to our own success! ** Note: the roads in the first video are clearly not to scale compared to the ones in NY, but you get the point.
Good luck guys! Keep the tweets up #bikenyc as I’m very sad that I will be missing out on this meeting.
Posted in News
Tagged bicycle, bicycle blog, Bicycle Safety, bicyclists, bike, bike blog, bike blog nyc, bike lane, bike lanes, bike nyc, bike ride, bike safety, bikenyc, Cityspoke, Jackie Chan, NYC
..but if you do feel the urge to break open the liquor cabinet, you may want to try a glass of red wine- but not just any red wine– I’m talking about Red Bicyclette. Its a smooth wine cultivated in the countryside of Southern France and the perfect finish to any long bike ride, especially in this cold weather. I’ve tasted the Pinot Noir and was truly impressed. It’s hard to find a dry red wine, with just a touch of fruity flavor, and for only $10, thats a great find! I’ve yet to try the Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot, or French Rose, but I can imagine that they will love up to my expectations.
As a second thought, if you do decide to drink and ride, make sure you wear a helmet, or get some lights, and safety gear. As always, you can find the best bicycle products by visiting our online store. Remember this is strictly for charity, all profits will be donated to Transportation Alternatives.
Let us know what you think about the wine and our selection of products in the comments section below!
Posted in News
Tagged bicycle, bicycle products, Bicycle Safety, bicyclists, bike, bike nyc, bike ride, bike safety, bikenyc, charity, Cityspoke, Cityspoke amazon store, helmet, helmets, red bicyclette, red wine, safety, TA, transportation alternatives
Get ready to give back, Cranksgiving is approaching Nov 20th 2Pm Tompkins Sq. Park. NYC bicyclists and bike messengers are soon to embark on a super intense race through the city. Weaving through cars and running reds are just the intro course to this test of skills and street smarts. And for what better purpose, than to find specific food items to be donated to charity. Prizes will also be awarded.. I intend to win the most stylish rider award ($100 Gilt Group gift certificates).. Dont take it from me! Click the pic for more info.
See you all there.
I went on two awesome group rides this past weekend. The first was the Time Out first Friday ride. It was a ton of fun riding in a group through Times Square playing Ridin\’ Dirty. The tourists especially loved it, as we offered a great little show of flashing lights as we rode through the streets.
Also check out some of the pictures i took on the trip, at one point we stopped at the crossroads in front of Grand Central (the Metlife Building) and threw a little party. Great times and I encourage everyone who hasn’t been on a group ride to at least try it once, you really will learn a lot!
My next ride was supposed to be part of the NYU Bicycle Club. For insurance reasons, NYU canceled the trip, but some of us decided that NYU had no right to dictate where and when we ride, so we went anyways. We had a great trip from the West Village all the way up the west side of Manhattan and then over to the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. Anyways, the trip inspired us to begin the Renegade Bike Club. We are essentially a group of students passionate about biking that will be going on sporadic bike trips, short and long, throughout New York. The Renegade Bike Club is the beginning of a great community of young individuals sharing a common interest and meeting new people in the process.
If you would like to join our group, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to me directly at email@example.com. Send us your name and phone number and we will add you to the group. Once again, The Renegade Bike Club has NO LEADERS, NO HIERARCHY, NO POSISTIONS, and NO RED TAPE! Basically, if you want to do a ride, send out an email at anytime, withany amount of notice and any meeting place.