Days after Hurricane Sandy knocked out power to lower Manhattan and shut down mass transit between the island and Brooklyn, I discovered firsthand what New York City would be like if a significant portion of the population chose bicycles as their main mode of transportation. Although cyclists have used the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridge on a daily basis for decades, it was among the first times cyclists en masse made the commute to and from Manhattan Island during an otherwise regular work week.
As a daily bicycle commuter from Brooklyn to Midtown, the extra bicycle congestion on my morning commute proved to me once again that New Yorkers are a resilient people that can overcome any tragedy that comes their way as a group. Crossing the Manhattan Bridge, it was inspiring to see New Yorkers, young and old, back on their bikes perhaps after years without riding one and even more inspiring to see locals being sensible and respecting one another.
Although cyclist transit dipped once the bridges opened again, the Bike to Work Day event in New York City this past May 17 helped bring awareness to cycling as a major form of transit not only in Manhattan but beyond as well.
For this year’s event, I hopped on a brand new, American-made Shinola Bixby urban commuter bicycle. As part of their growing line of American-made goods, the Bixby urban commuter is a beautiful and sturdy machine made for cyclists who make frequent stops around town or who simply enjoy cruising down the bike path on a warm spring day.
With nearly a century of experience to draw from, the Bixby is constructed from American steel and features a whole range of well-built parts that make the Shinola a joy to ride. Wide tires, for instance, handle road bumps easily while the Shimano front and rear disc brakes provide secure braking power in all weather conditions. If you haven’t experienced disc brakes, instead of classic side-pull or cantilever rim brakes, we highly recommend trying them out for yourself.
Furthermore, unlike traditional road bikes with drop handlebars, the Shinola Bixby’s wide and flat bars puts the rider in a more upright and comfortable position, for better navigation through traffic. An easy shifting Shimano three-speed internal hub allows for quick gear changes over all terrain. Although it may not seem like much, three speeds is really all that’s necessary when riding around town.
When it comes to appearances, the Shinola Bixby is easy on the eyes and gives off a classic vibe that looks cleaner than almost any other urban commuter around. But like any well-built machine, god is in the details. Cabling is routed internally, for the brakes and gears, and the Bixby’s sleek lines give both the men’s and women’s frame styles a contemporary look that stands out from the crowd.
In the end, the Shinola Bixby is handy in nearly any situation. Whether you’re looking for an urban commuter to get you to and from work or to ride around freely on the weekends, the Bixby is a welcome companion.
Photography: Jacob Breinholt/Selectism.com