You could visit New York a thousand times, with its myriad attractions and cultural oddities, and never encounter a person as passionate about exploring the city by bike as Vincent Ribeiro.
His enthusiasm is infectious. After decades spent living and riding here, it’s obvious that Vincent’s appreciation for New York has grown up right alongside his understanding of it – so much so that we’ve opted to omit our usual narrative voice in order to give him free reign over the subject of cycling and the city.
After all, when it comes to inspiring your audience, there’s no substitute for unadulterated passion. See for yourself.
Go From Bike Tips to Bike Rides in New York:
ON LIVING AND CYCLING IN NEW YORK
I’ve lived in New York my entire life. I was born and raised in South Brooklyn, where I still reside today. What draws me to the cycling scene every day here are the opportunities you are offered in a big, diverse city like New York.
I mean opportunities in terms of geography, lifestyle, friendships, community, and obviously cuisine. You can head south on a hard ride around Jamaica Bay and be in a completely different landscape and culture than you would be if you rode just north in Prospect Park, or along the waterfront in Dumbo with views of Manhattan, or on a lunch ride to Hand Pulled Noodles in Sunset Park, or on a morning cafe ride in Williamsburg. Each neighborhood is unique in its own way, and everything becomes extremely accessible by bicycle.
As you ride down the avenues and watch the storefronts evolve and take shape according to the culture of the people that live on those blocks, it’s like you are transported to other parts of the world – and the areas I just listed above are part of only one of the five incredibly colorful and distinct boroughs that make up NYC: Brooklyn.
ON NEW YORK’S ACCESSIBILITY
Even with its high population density and intimidating traffic, New York City is a super accessible place for visiting cyclists. The newly instated speed limit is 25 mph city wide. Even then, the average taxicab speed in Manhattan between 8am and 7pm is 11.5 mph. This means that, most of the time, you can travel faster than vehicles. And you can do this comfortably, on the more than 1,000 miles of bike lanes located throughout the five boroughs!
Sure, it can be a little stressful at times: when passing vehicles seem to get pretty close to you; when passengers open their doors abruptly (always keep yourself three feet away from parked cars); when pedestrians jaywalk in front of you. As soon as you feel the wind through your helmet, however, and start to understand the flow of the city, you won’t want to visit a place like New York without a bicycle.
ON BIKE TIPS FOR NEWCOMERS
Every visitor is unique and is in New York for different reasons. I often tell cyclists who have contacted me through Spinlister to cross the bridges that connect the boroughs. They offer great views and connect you immediately to the completely different neighborhoods that make New York City special.
Riding from Brooklyn to Manhattan takes you from Dumbo, an industrial tech startup neighborhood, to Chinatown, the largest enclave of Chinese people in the entire Western Hemisphere. It is an easy ride that puts you right in the mindset of what it means to be a New Yorker: that these neighborhoods are beautiful, unique, extremely distinct from one another, and full of people who are passionate about where they come from, and what they are doing.
The freedom to see a place by bicycle is shared by all, and that’s what keeps people coming back to Spinlister. Go out and explore!
ON INFLUENCES AND RESOURCES
There are friends, family members, and projects that continue to inspire me to pursue my passion for cycling. These are the people who put up with my 6 am alarm clock rides, sweaty and salty days, dirty laundry, showing up with click clack shoes and a full skinsuit to house parties, letting me store my bikes in their living rooms occasionally – all to make cycling here in New York possible for me.
My team, Verrazano Team Racing, who I blame for making me a crazed cycling lunatic.
Eugene, who I’ve known from the neighborhood for decades and who compiles videos of his daily cycle commute to work in the crazy streets of NYC.
Of course, my family, Mom, Sandra, Pop, Seb and Baby Luca, for dealing with all the cycling related crap I spend hours talking about.
And finally, my partner in crime, Jocelyn, who teaches me that it’s not all about riding bikes and winning trying to win races. That more importantly than that, empathy, educating ourselves, and awareness will help lead us in our fight for equality and hopefully, to a more positive community.