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- BROOKLYN RIDES: ALYSSA ZYGMUNT
- (DELRAY) LOCAL WE LOVE: CHAPMAN AT SEA
We often curse the day we stumbled upon Nina Brondmo’s Bakeri in Williamsburg – no, not because it’s lacking in any way – quite the opposite in fact – more likely because the lavender shortbread and other treats leave us plotting out our next visit before we’ve even left.
Opened in 2009, Bakeri serves some of the finest pastries around – the lavender shortbread mentioned above has been a fixture in our dreams for well over a year now and the coffee they pour to help wash it down is not to be missed.
Plenty of bicycle parking and some super cozy benches outside have this gem at the top of our list.
Heading off now for some morning brioche for the BC team!
Dutch Bike Design: What Makes This Bike So Iconic?
Europe has long been a place where bikes are a part of the landscape and life. Between 48% and 99% of Europeans use their bikes to commute, shop, and lead a healthy lifestyle (commuter bikes around the world). Because of their importance, they are not cheap, nor would a cheap dutch bike stand up to the usage it gets.
The Dutch bike is designed not for speed (not everyone in England rides an “English Racing Bike”). The European city bike as the Dutch bike is often known, is designed as a utility bike for short, moderately paced rides through what are relatively flat urban areas. The bikes, often called “Roadsters” are hybrid bikes of sorts – built for durability above all else and no serious attempt was ever made to save weight in their design or construction, with roadsters weighed upwards of 45-50 pounds (20–23 kg).
Riding a dutch bike for such utilitarian uses while wearing business clothes in all types of weather has led to a simple, functional design in a sturdy, well-designed bike. One look at these bikes with their chaincases and splashguards and it becomes evident the bike designers gave thought not only to functionality but also to style. The dutch bike has seen a major resurgance of late – coupled with an increase in urban commuting!
Fondly known as “Omafiets” (Dutch translating to “Grandma’s Bike”), the dutch bike is also known as a “Widdofyt” (Frisian for “Widow’s Bike”), which makes one wonder how they got that endearing nickname. The step-through frame and skirt guard highlight the fact that the dutch bike was originally designed for practical use by women whose dresses or skirts required such features, however both sexes are now often found riding Omafiets bicycles. Europeans are just so… free!
Despite nicknames, a great bike is a great bike and Europeans have generations of experience with them. How can millions of European bike riders be wrong?
For now, we simply admire the dutch bike in all of its utilitarian and stylish glory.
A Taste of Brooklyn
People, Places & Things that We Love
We are making a slight change in direction with the blog. We have written enough about bikes, biking, etc. to last a lifetime and as we launch, it is more important for us to bring a bit of Brooklyn to the world, both through our bikes and through our blog.
We’ll be highlighting the people, places and things we have grown to love about Brooklyn, essentially, showing you our hometown “one pedal at a time.” While on occasion, perhaps even more frequently, we may venture beyond Brooklyn to cue you in on other places we have grown to love but in the near term, it’s all about bringing Brooklyn to the world, one pedal at a time.
If you have people, places or things you feel meet the “hype,” drop us an email and we will do our best to include them going forward.
What’s your favorite place in Brooklyn? Restaurant? Park? Cafe?
Bikes Make Life Better — Projection Art
Peopleforbikes.org has a catchy saying; “we all ride. Now we can ride as one.” It’s not one big tandem bike, although that would be so cool – it’s shared passion and, well, they say it best on their web site:
“We’re all united by a shared passion: bikes. Bikes keep us healthy, carry us from point A to point B, save us from high gas prices, and make our air cleaner and our roads less congested. Bikes fill our lives with adventure and excitement, relaxing our minds and energizing our souls.
Peopleforbikes.org is dedicated to channeling that passion to improve the future of bicycling. Our goal is to gather a million names of support, to speak with one, powerful voice – to make bicycling safer, more convenient and appealing for everyone.
Simply put, we believe that life is far more enjoyable when it’s experienced on two wheels. We believe that by coming together, we can make our world a better place to ride.”
The organization has also produced an uber-cool video entitled, “Bikes Make Life Better – Projection Art.”
In celebration of National Bike Month in May, Peopleforbikes.org released the video about the joys of biking and the positive and lasting change it can bring to communities and people across America. The film uses colorful animations projected onto streets, parking structures, overpasses and a twelve-story building to transform a lifeless urban cityscape to demonstrate how bikes make life better.
According to the organization, two-thirds of U.S. adults and a quarter of children are now overweight or clinically obese, but the health benefits of regular bicycling can last a lifetime. Gas prices are rising to record levels, but every two miles pedaled instead of driven will save at least a dollar.
Here’s the video – Bikes Make Life Better
Commuter Bikes Around The World
The original green machine! Commuter bikes are easy, inexpensive transportation, great exercise and a way of life for over a billion people around the world! Sadly, we in the United States lag behind the rest of the world in the love of these ancient inventions. We start young on three wheels, feel excitement and accomplishment when we learn to ride on two and all too soon abandon the bike for the four-wheeled gas-guzzler. Commuter bikes become the “Sunday ride in the park” if we’re truly lucky. To some, even in the U.S., the bicycle is a way of life – the only mode of transportation. The nations that lean heavily on commuter bikes for everyday life, have a populace that is healthier, lives longer and is generally happier. Must be the cute little bells on the handlebars or perhaps it’s just life on a bike.
China, with a population of 1.4 billion people, has 500 million bicycles. Cyclists make up over 37% of the population. With the increase of cars and trucks quickly replacing bikes, the pollution problem is climbing at an alarming rate. China’s most populated city, Shanghai has almost 20 million people and over 9.4 million bicycles. 60% of those with bicycles ride to work every day.
Belgium, with a population of almost 11 million, boasts over 5.2 million bikes. Cyclists make up 48% of the population and figures say that 8% of all trips are made via bicycles.
Belgians are safety conscious as well. Bikes are an important, well-thought out purchase and always well maintained. You will find most riders wear helmets and bright yellow vests. We have also learned they have really delicious waffles, well worth the kilometer ride, which is the average trip for the average Belgian.
Throughout Europe, countries like Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands have always had a strong attachment to bikes. Cyclists in these nations constitute from 48% to 99.1% of the population. Our beloved Cycle Chic highlights the bicycle’s role in daily life around the globe.
One reason these countries have such a love of commuter bikes and an ability to incorporate them into their daily lives is less vehicular traffic, of course, but also special bike lanes. Amsterdam, the capital and largest city in the Netherlands, has 400 kilometers of bike lanes and it’s estimated that 40% of all daily work commutes are done on bicycles.
Japan has a surprising rate of 57% cyclists. With 128 million residents, there is an estimated 73 million bicycles with an estimated bike sales figure of 10 million new bikes per year. 15% of commutes are made via commuter bikes and many Japanese workers will use bikes to ride to the train stations for lengthier commutes. A surprising fact is that bicycles are not locked up in Japan. It’s a cultural nicety that no other country seems to enjoy.
The Japanese, as a culture, has also adopted bike riding not only for health reasons but also for green concerns as the nation strives to cut energy consumption. The recent tragedy at nuclear power plants was met with quick action and societal change. It’s a lesson every nation should follow. We also understand there has been an even stronger interest in cycling since the tragedy.
Commuter Bikes in the United States
The United States falls far behind nearly every other industrialized nation when it comes to bikes. Less than one in three people own a bike and many are likely used as towel racks at home. Less than 1% of all trips are made by bike and the average distance cycled per person is .01 kilometer.
Big cities have long talked about bike lanes, turning main avenues into “bike only” streets and making life easier for those who choose a greener mode of transportation. It hasn’t happened fast enough and although New York City has long lead the fight for bike lanes and cycle-friendly commuting, residents are still fighting the expansion of New York City Bike lanes as well as the thought of commuting from the four boroughs into Manhattan.
Biking in NYC can be dangerous but as gas prices continue to rise, people are slowly abandoning their cars and trucks and finding the old adage is actually true:
It’s like riding a bike – you never forget!