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New Amsterdam Bicycle Show Recap

The last bike show I went to in NYC was in 2003 when Montauk ride guru, Glen Goldstein was throwing them in the Armory on Lexington ave. He wanted to diversify the show from just being a bunch of brand name outfitters showing off their latest wears to something more social and embrace the outlaw NYC culture that was blossoming at the time. The last one he threw had a group ride (dare we say critical mass-don’t-ask-for permission style) mutant bikes and a DJ accompanied ride-your-bike-in-a-circle dance party, yes indoors. Glen was rewarded with his outreach by that one being the last show. They’re may have been other factors involved and definite room for improvement, but the thought to have bike show was a good idea and perhaps ahead of it’s time. It was definitely a reflection of where the biking community was at.

Now fast forward to the present and the bike show is back here in NYC. In fact we now have three of them including the Bike Expo and Grand Fondo May 20th…More about these other shows…soon. Seems like the bicycle is more mature, more accepted and definitely in fashion here in NYC. The first show, I attended last weekend, was in it’s second incarnation called the New Amsterdam bicycle show. This was put on by the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives and entertainment guide, Nypress.com and Dutch Airline company KLM, who actually embrace bicycle travel unlike the US. The New Am show had the same intentions of the past bike shows, to bring together bike organizations, culture, fashion and products under one banner, right around the kick-off to the bicycle riding season. Around 4,500 people attended the two day event which had food, a DJ,
DJ a ton of bicycle stuff, a fashion show and guest speakers. It was held in the one level event space, west of Soho called the Skylight Soho.

My first impressions was this was a good amalgamation of where the biking culture is today in NYC. Of course the corporate name brands were there as the back bone of the industry but there were a lot of custom ETSY, style new comers, leading the charge for making biking more stylish and more fashionable. Much like the movements in Brooklyn to make homemade chocolate, beer and pickles, etc., the bicycle world is also having this kind of renaissance with individual companies making everything from lock holders, to reflective clothing and especially different styles of bags. It was also nice to see some real stewards of the bicycle culture in attendance, people who really pioneered the scene, back before the green painted bike lanes and debates about “All these damn bikes.”
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I attended the event with the wife and three year old who despite the short attention span, enjoyed seeing everything and getting free stuff…what’s a trade show without schwag…right?

The first person I ran into as I put the press pass round the Toddler’s neck, was executive director of Transportation Alternatives, Paul Steely White. He seemed pretty excited to see such a big turnout.
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Then I ran into Brett Novick of Pedal Pushers Club, who helped me design and sell my first bikeblognyc t-shirts. Great to see him there with a booth showing off all his latest designs and apparel.
Indeed:
sweet shirts

There were a lot of great companies here at the show like, TwinSix, alternative cycling apparel.
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making sweet yet simple jersey’s, I like the Metal ones.

Nutcase Helmets.
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Lazer helmets.
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The next person, I ran into was Danielle Baskin of Belle Helmets, who designed a custom hand painted bikeblognyc helmet. Hand’s down, the coolest gift you can get the cyclist in your life.
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(photo from article by: treehugger.com. )
So nice to see her back in business. She was set up at a really cool booth set up by Julie Hirschfeld of the bicycle boutique for woman, Adeline Adeline. She partnered up with Susi Wunsch of the blog Velojoy,
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The little bike shop:
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They had great shirts:
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Good to see fellow bikers:
Untitled(left to right, Doug Gordon of Brooklyn Spoke, his friend…a huge Ranger Fan-in the middle, and bicycle lawyer Steve Vaccoro of the firm, Rankin & Taylor. )

Next I ran into my pals who conceived the brilliant idea of a Tall Bike Jousting game app. based on the cult documentary about mutant bike clubs, “B.I.K.E.”
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Ari Abraham who was manning the booth wanted to let me know that the next step for this innovative game was to have peer to peer interaction. They are looking for funding at their new “ Kickstarter page. Here’s a video:

The big names were there like: Jamis.
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who make very affordable bikes for all types.
Bianchi:
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Dutch style bikes were in full swing, like Britian’s Bobbin.
Bobbin Bicycles
Opus Bikes had a nice booth:
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Dutch maker Gazelle
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I’ve been really impressed with Santa Monica’s own Linus, they make really simple, sturdy urban commuters with internal hubs at a reasonable price.
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Really great componentry and custom wheels coming out of Cyclemonkey.
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and let’s not forget, North American service partner of the Rohloff speed hub.

At this show, it was really great seeing some of the real pioneers like George Bliss who was instrumental in bringing the pedicabs to NYC. He’s got a new spot for his Hudson Urban Bicycle shop close to the show on Charles St. Check them out and they carry a lot of the dutch style brands listed above. They are also into the glamourous side of bike fashion like Vespertine reflective apparel.
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Speaking of the pioneer’s, Bicycle Habitat was in the house.
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Dave Perry of Bike works. who literally wrote the book on biking… “Bikecult.”
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and of course Taliah Lempert of bicyclepaintings.com.

Sweet disc brakes from Magura.
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And if your looking for a custom bike made here in NYC, check out the super nice and talented Seth Rosko who was showing off this cyclocross bike, made special for the owner of NYC Velo.
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I also love this fold up company, Tern. They’ve really started to get the word out on their sweet compact rides by lending them out at such events like SXSW in Austin.
Tern Bicycles banner
Perfect for travel.
Tern Bicycle fold up
Folds up into it’s own suitcase…
Tern Bicycles
The NewAm bike show also had a whole slew of speakers including one I stumbled upon…
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Steven Rea, shown here speaking about his book: “Hollywood Rides a Bike.” Steven’s gathered the most comprehensive collection of famous people riding bicycles. Leave it to a cycling enthusiast to find such a rare find as Hollywood celebrities on velocipedes.

Then we were lucky enough to catch the fashion show, which was a cute display of hip looks for both rider and ride.
Here is creative director of the show, with her own line of clothing, Nona Varnado.
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More looks from the show…
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As exhausting as this post is in length, I barely scratched the surface…here is a lot I failed to post from Core77.
In conclusion, I think this was a well balanced show form corporate to the small DIY company. A great kick-off for bike month. I would love to see a more social element evolve perhaps with more group rides or at least one that comes to the event itself. The fashion show should definitely be more center stage and parade through the middle of the exhibit space instead of in the back room where only the people who could get a limited amount of seats could see it. I’d also like to see more participation with a meet-up or ideas lab, where people get together and discuss new innovations, cycling apps…perhaps even a hack-a-thon. This being the second year, the show is definitely off to a great start and I see lots of room for growth.

1 comment to New Amsterdam Bicycle Show Recap

  • Dick Bernauer

    Did you miss the coolest bike at the show???
    VANMOOF was there too. I see them in the city more and more. Tight design with build-in lights