Greenpoint Gazette

Block Party for Bikes in the ‘Burg

BY James Yeh

This past Saturday was a great day to be a bike lover. Basking in the beautifulSpring weather, bike lovers descended uponHavemeyer Street in Williamsburg for the sixth annual Bike Fetish Day. From the weekend ridersto the most bike-obsessed frame fanatics, hundreds of cyclistswere found navigating their beloved two-wheelers through the packed street fair, tinkering on squeaky bike parts, snacking on burgers and bike cupcakes.

“It’s a block party for your bike,” summarized Matt Levy, events coordinator of the City Reliquary, the quirky New York-centric museum at 370 Metropolitan Avenue that has organized the event since its inception, six years ago. “Bicyclists are somewhat an insular kind of people. And with bike culture, you’ve got the fixed-gear riders, the BMXers, the old school Schwinn riders, the tall bike jousters…This is just a way for people to enjoy and participate and interact with other bike riders.”

The event was one of the highlights of Bike Month NYC 2010, which has grown since 1990 from a one-day celebration of biking to work to a monthful of bike activities and awareness. According to the Bike Month NYC website, on an average day, 236,000 New Yorkers bicycle—more than double the number who biked five years ago. With high gas prices, increased environmental awareness and cutbacks to public transportation, it’s a trend that will only grow in popularity, and Events like Bike Fetish Day serve to highlight the already strong community of bikers, both in Brooklyn and in the greater New York area.

There was a friendly, idiosyncratic energy to the event. Looking around you could find many smiling faces, tattooed arms and cut-off clothing. As a group of older cyclists cheered him on, avery young boy popped handstands to Michael Jackson’s “Blame It on the Boogie.” Around them, bikes of all sorts were on display—BMX bikes, road bikes, beautiful fixies, chromed-out classic bikes, tall bikes with bright orange aerowheels, gigantic mutant bikes with hand-glued sequins all over them.

“We’re bike freaks,” said Levy. “We love riding bikes. It’s better for the body, better for the planet. In the same way the reliquary is a celebration of New York City stuff, this is a celebration for bike stuff.”

The day concluded with the awards for the bike contest winners. Categories included Best Vintage Bike, Best Shiny Bike, Best Family Bike, Best Worst Bike and Best in Show.The Best VintageBike featured ornate wood paneling;the “Best Mutant Bike” was a black eight-foot-tall beast with orange aerodynamic wheels.

Winner of the award for “Best Worst Bike” was local resident Robin Hasty, who capturedfirst Worst prize for her rusty old steel frame clunker draped in yellow police tape. Intertwined in its spokes were empty cans of PBR, a few greasy paper plates and a brown paper bag.

“I’ve never really won anything,” said Hasty, straddling her shiny,new, cream soda-colored road bikedonated by Trek bicycles. Her enthusiasm was infectious and apparent.

“Maybe I’ll ride to Coney Island,” she said.

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