Bicycles, All Grown Up

As more and more cities create bike lanes, provide bicycle parking, and discourage the use of four-wheeled transportation, the utilitarian bicycle has become, if not a necessity, a valuable possession few city-dwellers are willing to live without. And as with everything else in public life, style is as much about what you ride as it is about what you wear, or how you carry yourself.

There are thousands of options when it comes to bikes—everything from cheap Chinese-made, and yet quite stylish, rides, to vintage bikes, and to bespoke hand-made cruisers or racing models. I think a bicycle should be practical, elegant, and not cost as much as a car—not unless you’re riding one to win the Tour de France—and there are many choices of manufacturer building beautiful bikes here in the U.S. Budnitz is one such outfit: their bikes are simple, technologically advanced, and as beautiful as a bicycle can be. From the belt drive (which obviates the need for clips to keep oil off one’s trousers, in this case part of a rather nice linen blend J.Crew Ludlow suit) to the disc brakes, pedals that really grip regular shoes, and the light frame, this model, No. 3 Honey Edition, attracted my eye also for its classic styling, reminiscent of racers from a distant past. And the large, whitewall tires are particularly welcome on the uneven and perpetually pot-holed streets of NY.

Unlike the US auto industry, American bicycle manufacturers aren’t striving to build “the Cadillac” of bikes: they’re building the Bentleys, Aston Martins, and yes, the Packards of two-wheeled, human-powered transportation.

8 thoughts on “Bicycles, All Grown Up

  1. To be truly practical, you should install some fenders, even if you don’t ride in the rain. As noted by Bike Snob NYC: “See, it’s not that getting wet is a big deal. Really, it’s what you’re getting wet with. Even on the sunniest days New York City is awash with fluids, and these can range from benign substances like water from opened fire hydrants and spilled Snapple to more distasteful ones such as hot dog water and coffee spilled out by taxi drivers to the really horrific ones such as urine, garbage water, and vomit.”
    Good luck!

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