Volunteers stationed blocks away from the new Basketball City complex at Pier 36 ushered over 43,000 people to the first Bike Expo New York, which ran from 3 May to 5 May last week, culminating in the TD Five Boro Bike Tour on 6 May.
“With more people biking, the increasing expansion of bike lanes, and bike share around the corner, [the Expo was] the perfect platform to showcase what a bike friendly city New York has become,” said Bike New York CEO, Ken Podziba. “We’re ecstatic to provide an opportunity for people of all ages and bicycle levels to celebrate biking and the biking lifestyle in the city.”
Among the 90 exhibitors was Timbuk2, whose booth drew many thousands of visitors with its idiosyncratic display of a ferris wheel made up entirely of bike parts. “A Timbuk2 marketing employee… built the human-powered ‘Death Trap’ for the Interbike show in 2009 and we pull it out for special occasions — it is a brain child and creation of Timbuk2,” explained Mike Wallenfels, Timbuk2 head, who considers the Expo to have been “a great success” for his company.
The standout moment of the event for Wallenfels was, “seeing the line of people still lined up and streaming into the building at 6:00pm on Saturday,” he says. “I also remember trying to walk over to check out the fashion show on Saturday and I had to turn around head back to my booth due to so many people. We will definitely take part in the Bike Expo again.”
Timbuk2 wasn’t the only booth with quirky character: Danielle Baskin’s inventive company Belle Helmets was crowded with attendees admiring her inventive, decorative headpieces. “After getting my first bike in New York in 2007, I knew I couldn't ride without a helmet,” said Baskin, describing her company’s inception. “I painted my first helmet on a whim and I received so many compliments [from strangers] and friends asking me to paint their helmets so that they too would be motivated to wear one.”
The unique designs at Belle helmets were hit among visitors
She established an online store in 2009. “Now I have over fifty unique designs and invent new ones every day,” she said. For Baskin, the Expo’s best event was the fashion show. “It was a really cool window into the many looks of the modern biker,” she says. “Safety products are just getting cooler. More options make bike riding your own little mobile space to decorate with your personality — this is great progress.”
Not all the exhibitors were retailers: in fact, the Expo had a wide variety of booths from tour companies, to charities, and healthy food (Parmesan.com’s booth handed out samples from giant cheese wheels all three days).
There was diversity among the attendees as well: Peter Startz was running Leukemia & Lymphoma Team In Training booth when a woman approached his table: “She motioned to her hair and showed me that she was wearing a wig,” he said. “She had been undergoing treatment for cancer and the Five Boro Bike Tour was her first event since her diagnosis. It’s always very moving to talk with people who are survivors or are patients undergoing treatment. They help remind us why our organization exists and how important the work we are doing is.”
Bike New York intend to continue the annual event and have started planning the 2013 Expo.
The expo featured a street BMX course, which was open for the public to ride. It also hosted a professional show