from bike-curious to nyc cyclist in 8 easy steps

With an expanding network of bike lanes and a bike share system due to launch later this summer, many New Yorkers wonder about joining the growing ranks of people who ride bicycles for fun and transportation in the city. Call them the “bike-curious.”

We invite you to follow the story of one bike-curious New Yorker as she makes her move into the bike lanes. Genia Blaser (above), a 28-year-old immigration lawyer who lives in Manhattan and works in the Bronx, wants to start riding a bicycle for fitness and recreation, including participating for the first time in the 40-mile TD Five Boro Bike Tour on May 6. But she finds the prospect of buying a bike and gear and learning the rules of the road a little overwhelming, and she’s worried about riding with traffic.

In eight articles leading into Bike Month in May our five-member editorial team in partnership with local experts from the NYC cycling community will answer Genia’s questions and help her get on the road to enjoying all the personal benefits of city cycling — from health and fitness to fun and efficiency.

View Genia’s Story

More Bike Lanes, Safer Streets

Genia is not alone in expressing concerns about riding safely in the city. Surveys have shown that 60 percent of Americans are interested in riding a bicycle more, but are fearful of traveling on busy streets.

This barrier also is cited in the imbalance of women versus men who use bicycles for transportation. A recent national study by the Alliance for Biking and Walking finds that women account for 24 percent of cycling trips compared to 76 for men, and the ratio is similar for NYC.

Nevertheless, the streets of NYC have become safer as its network of bicycle lanes has grown — more than 280 miles of bike lanes were added between fiscal 2007 and 2011 — and bicycle commuter levels continue to rise. The NYC Department of Transportation reports a 72 percent decrease in the average risk of a serious injury experienced by commuter cyclists between 2000 and 2010.

Bicycling Makeover in 8 Easy Steps

Our bike makeover series will cover eight key topics to help inform and inspire any bike-curious reader:

  • What types of bicycles are best suited for city riding.
  • What shoppers need to know before going to the bike shop.
  • Essential gear, including selecting a helmet.
  • How to prevent bike theft.
  • Street-savvy bike handling skills for beginners.
  • FAQs about bicycling safely on city streets.
  • How to store a bicycle in the city.
  • Taking a bike on public transit.

Throughout her journey, Genia will receive valuable additional advice from experts at Bicycle Habitat, Bike New York, Adeline Adeline and Recycle-A-Bicycle.

How to Follow Genia’s Story:

  • Subscribe to our weekly email summary by using the “Get posts by email” box in the upper right column of this page.
  • Catch our RSS feed.
  • Follow @velojoy on twitter Hashtag: #bikemakeover
  • Like velojoy on facebook.
  • Please share your experiences, questions and comments!

Next: Genia begins the search for a city bicycle.

photo: velojoy

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