Join me for a special episode on New York’s relationship with bicycles and cycling, past and present.
Our guests will be Evan Friss, author of On Bicycles; A 200 Year History of Cycling in New York City, and co-curator of the current exhibition Cycling in the City at the Museum of the City of New York, and Laura Shepard of Bike New York, co-organizer of the TD 5 Boro Bike Tour taking place this Saturday.
Noting the recent amount of bicyclists on the streets of NYC despite the quarantine, Jeff re-runs a past special episode about NYC, bicycles, and cycling. The show opened with Jeff introducing the first guest for the night Evan Friss. Evan talks about his interest in city planning and how that spurred his interest in how people move through cities. He explains the sources that he used in researching and writing his book and discusses some of his favorite one in New York and their historical significance and wonder. Evan explains the history of the design of bicycles and how it has changed over time.
Jeff and Evan talk about the arrival of bicycles to the streets of New York City. Evan talks about an ordinance in the past that aimed to ban bicycles. He discusses the transition of bicycles from leisure activities to modes of transportation. Evan explains what bicycle row was and the significance of it. Jeff and Evan talk about the bicycles’ role in the women’s suffrage movement.
Jeff and Evan discuss Robert Moses, a highway planner, and his connection to bicycles. They talk about the 1929 Great Depression and how bicycles fared during that time. Evan explains why bicycles are considered the “stepchild of transportation.” Jeff and Evan talk about former Mayor Ed Koch and the change in his outlook on bicycles and how it set off protests from bike advocates.
Jeff introduces the second guest for the night Laura Shepard form Bike New York. Laura explains what Bike New York is and how she got involved with it. Laura explains how the Five Boro Bike Tour got started and the route it takes throughout New York City. She talks about the neighborhoods that people who have been doing the tour for decades have seen change. Laura talks about the expo coming up this week, the types of programs Bike New York does and biking safety for cyclists.