Monday, April 30, 2012

Bensonhurst - New Amsterdam Bike Show - Astoria (23 miles)

After attending a wedding with my girlfriend Saturday, I packed my gear for a trip to my first cycling event of 2012, the New Amsterdam Bike Show.

Leaving Bensohurst I rode North through Prospect Park for the first time. This path offers a decent climb, and with all my extra gear weighing me down, I felt rather sluggish. This path seems well maintained, and the pedestrians and cyclists coexisted quite peacefully. I then rode Vanderbilt Avenue to approach the Brooklyn Bridge. Choosing a sunny Sunday afternoon for my first crossing of the Brooklyn Bridge was not the best idea due to tourists, and generally oblivious pedestrians choking the lanes. The views were stunning though, and the Brooklyn Bridge was the best choice in relation to the New Amsterdam Bike Show geographically. Cutting through some classic SoHo streets, a Green Bakery delivery bike makes it's rounds. I quip, "nice bread truck". I finally find my way to the event.

Riding up Prospect Park for the first time.

Arriving at the top of Prospect Park, the Arch, and Statues are seen.

Following female road biker down Vanderbilt. Sunny, and mild in the 60's.

First ride over the Brooklyn Bridge, my wolf whistle comes in handy, frustrations with pedestrians inspire me to sing my blues away.

Soho, cobblestones.

"Nice bread truck."

Arriving at the New Amsterdam Bike Show.

I entered the lobby area of the show, where I could purchase my ticket, and before you actually enter the display area, Transportation Alternatives had a small side room almost completely to themselves. I registered my free membership with them and received last years New York Century tote bag. Afterwards I filmed their booth briefly before scanning the first few row of booths.

Transportation Alternatives had a booth right inside the entrance to the New Amsterdam Bike Show. Pedal Pushers, Vaya, Vosco, Bike Works, Cleverhood, Worksman, Bike to the Beach (discussion with booth attendant), and Truce display booths.

Cooper, Formigli, eco2, Hub, Nutcase, and KLM booths at the New Amsterdam Bike Show.

Opus bike, The Little Bike Shop, Gazelle, and Linus booths at the New Amsterdam Bike Show.

Soon I came upon the booth for Bern, the makers of my helmet. I've had issues with the foam on the inside of the helmet, and was hoping for an on the spot replacement, as they do not offer the option to purchase them online (yet). Walking up, the rep (Josh) soon cradled my helmet, reveling in it's scarred shell, it's withered lining, and the old shoe lace threaded through the foam for the base of the neck. I began to voice my displeasure with the lack of resources regarding replacement padding, and he soon acknowledged the problem, and said that they would soon offer replacements on their site. Next thing I know he is sizing up my melon to offer me the on the spot replacement I had hoped for. Furthermore, he gave me stickers, and a pair of cool Bern branded headphones.

Linus booth continued. Josh the Bern rep admires my war torn helmet, and her custom rigging to keep my old padding in place. He generously replaces, and effectively updates the bill/headband part, as well as the foam parts of my helmet, and then proceeds to give me some nice swag in the form of stickers, and headphones.

After cruising a few more booths I land at the Jamis booth, and find them giving away large waterproof plastic messenger bags, but only if you ride their demo for their new internal gearing system. I ask for an explanation of the new technology involved, and test the bike. I think the bike frame would be considered a cruiser hybrid of sorts, not an attractive style for me for a number of reasons, but it was a nice representative of it's class. The explanation of this new "seemless/gearless" shifting intrigued me, and I was honestly interested to try it out. As advertised, you never felt a shift, and the gearing got heavier, and heavier. Though the novelty was interesting, I personally would not go with any other drive train besides the standard; it's easy to repair and maintain, and I would imagine better suited to the hard urban riding I do. After receiving my free messenger bag, I then proceed to film most of the rest of the booths. In it's entirety, the whole place wasn't very large, and you could see most of everything on offer in a couple of hours, or less.

I took a short break from filming, and browsing, and ducked into the tented area in the back which hosted a DJ, free Grolsch, and some tasty pastries, and Pickled Hot Dogs. I grabbed a beer, and bought a hot dog, and sat near the entrance to chow and drink while people watching.

Globe, Iride, and Brooklyn Cruiser booths at the New Amsterdam Bike Show.

Bobbin, Uvex, and Jamis booths.

The Jamis rep explains the new internal gearing for some of their bikes. I explain why that wouldn't be practical for me.

Ride Brooklyn, and Paragon booths at the New Amsterdam Bike Show.

Free Grolsch beer, and a 3$ pickled hotdog.

Raleigh bicycles booth at the New Amsterdam Bike show.

After entering all of the raffles, and networking with a few reps, I decided I wanted to make my way back to Queens. I picked up my bike from the valet, and then watched as a couple rode away on a tandem bike. Walking West, I notice an interview in progress and watch from the side. Apparently this young woman was a cycling advocate, and bike mechanic who enjoyed fitting people with their bikes, and spoke of the rising cultural phenomena known as "Lifestyle Cycling". Soon the camera is turned on me, and I answer a few questions, and discuss my goals for my blog. After the interview segment, we exchange cards, and speak of networking.

A couple leaves the New Amsterdam Bike Show on a tandem bicycle.

A woman is interviewed, and discusses, "Lifestyle Cycling" as a fast growing cultural phenomena. Soon the camera is turned on me, and I answer a few questions, and discuss my goals for my blog.

Still walking West, I now pass in front of the venue for the last time, and stop to ask a friendly looking group of cyclists for directions towards the 59th Street Bridge. In no time the discussion turns to other cycling related topics, bridges, Greenways, gear, and our general wanderlust. I spoke mostly with Tim, who said he blogged with still pictures, and comments for photos. I gave him my card for my blog, and bid them goodbye. Now continuing West with confidence, I find myself on the West Side bike path heading uptown, towards the 59th Street Bridge. Midtown bustled in the late afternoon, but traffic flowed smoothly to the bridge. The views on the bridge are always a nice way to start my homestretch. I feel I was lucky to have such great weather, and such a great little "Tri-boro tour" ride, with a truly enjoyable cycling event sandwiched right in the middle.

Outside the entrance to the show, I ask for quick directions to the 59th street bridge from a group of friendly people. We discuss bridges, Greenways, and crossing them.

Descending the 59th Street bridge.

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