Pedal On

Badass New York Bike Style (Photos)

In the overcrowded, busy New York City, there’s nothing like the freedom—and creativity—that comes from hopping on a bike. Here’s a look at some of the most diverse and stylish cyclists.

Sam Polcer

Sam Polcer

“To ride in New York City is to know the town in a special way, to have a level of authority over an otherwise untamed landscape,” filmmaker Casey Neistat writes in the forward to New York Bike Style, a new street style photography book dedicated to a New Yorker’s most coveted accessory: the bicycle. “Rather than surrendering to the confines of a public transportation system,” he continues, “the cyclist alone is in charge of their journey.”


Photographer Sam Polcer, who maintains the blog Preferred Mode has captured this unique experience, photographing cyclists in their most comforting habitat, regardless of whether they are actually in Chelsea or the Bronx, Brooklyn or the Lower East Side. By exploring how, and why, others to choose to ride, Polcer discovered the style, creativity, and individuality of people in New York City. There are “Puerto Rican Schwinn aficionados celebrating their heritage with vintage bikes,” he writes; “fixed gear freaks who eat, sleep and breathe drop handlebars; BMX kids honing their bar spins at skate parks that they maintain themselves; fashionistas floating down leaf-strewn streets in capes and dresses.” Despite their differences, they all seek the accessibility and freedom that a bicycle can provide in an overcrowded, insanely busy city.


People’s rides—whether a 1932 Schwinn Firestone Warrior or a Raleigh Roadster 8-speed—can express personality and style as well as any standard fashion accessory. From musician and author David Byrne and his custom Jamis Commuter to Neena in her camouflage tee and yellow beanie riding to meet friends at the Chrome store, here’s a look at some of Polcer’s most diverse and stylish cyclists.

Sam Polcer

Brenden

Rides an IRO fixed-gear; Photographed at Front Street and Beekman Street, Manhattan.

Sam Polcer

Sarah

Rides a Viva Juliette 7-speed bicycle; Photographed at Carmine Street and West Side Highway, Manhattan.

Sam Polcer

Tommy

Rides a “mutant swivel bike;” Photographed at Charles Place and Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn.

Sam Polcer

Bryant

Rides a 1964 Gitane fixed gear; Photographed at Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street, Brooklyn.

Sam Polcer

Angela

Rides a non-name fixed gear bicycle; Photographed on the Williamsburg Bridge.

Sam Polcer

George

Rides a Brooklyn Cruiser Driggs III 3-speed bike; Photographed at Crosby Street and Grand Street, Manhattan.

Sam Polcer

Vivian

Rides a Trek single-speed bike; Photographed at Washington Street and Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn.

Sam Polcer

Abdul

Rides a Citi Bike; Photographed at Bleecker Street and Wooster Street, Manhattan.

Sam Polcer

Xiao

Rides a Biria 6-speed bike; Photographed at Stanton Street and Suffolk Street, Manhattan.

Sam Polcer

David

Rides a Jamis Commuter with custom Halo retro-reflective coating; Photographed on the Hudson River Greenway at Watts Street, Manhattan.