By Greg Hanlon
Bicycle enthusiasts from around the city came together last Saturday for the fourth annual Bike Fetish Day, the street fair for bikes hosted by the City Reliquary Museum in Williamsburg.
The party on Havermeyer Street between Grand and Metropolitan avenues boasted grilled food, live music, and every type of bike imaginable.
The sheer array of bikes – from kids’ bikes to racing bikes to the impressive display of souped-up vintage Schwinns – gave truth to event organizer’s Dave Herman’s statement that “everyone fetishizes their bikes in their own way.”
The sheer variety of bikes and the was acknowledged in the six different competition categories: the Best Small-wheel, Best Trek, Best Ugly, Best Home-made, and Best Vintage bikes were all honored.
But all bowed before the Best in Show, the “Family Bike,” a custom-designed three-seater put together by David Langan, a father of two from Manhattan who said he designed the bike “out of sheer necessity.”
“I really didn’t want to take trains or buses to take my kids to school,” he said, straddling his bike as his 4- and 5-year-olds sat comfortably behind him.
“I did a little research on how to get two seats on here. Now I figure I can use this for at least another year.”
Williamsburg is a fitting place for a bike festival. With its high concentration of young people, most of whom do not own cars, Williamsburg has become the de facto bike capital of New York City: approximately 3,000 cyclists pass over the Williamsburg Bridge every day.
In attendance at the festival was Wiley Norvell, communications director of Transportation Alternatives, the bike advocacy organization.
“It’s just a good biking neighborhood – there’s shopping, parks, restaurants, all within a bike ride of people’s front doors,” he said, pointing out that only 30 percent of Williamsburg households own cars.
Williamsburg will get even more bike-friendly this summer when the Department of Transportation installs four sidewalk build-outs to accommodate bike racks.
These build-outs will be similar to the one on North 7th Street and Bedford Avenue, which represented the first time in city history that car parking had been taken away in favor of bike parking.
The Department of Transportation is currently in the design phase of the build-outs, but when complete, there will be bike racks at: Manhattan and Driggs Avenues; North 7th Street and Driggs Avenue; North 5th Street and Bedford Avenue; and Powers Street and Bushwick Avenue.