As we celebrate our fifth anniversary, I have taken a moment to reflect on how we arrived where we are today, what has inspired us and - most importantly - what drives us to keep going.
The seed for Brooklyn Bicycle Co. was planted nearly six years ago with my first trip to Vietnam and Japan where I fell in love with the ubiquitous city bike.
It was 2011 amidst the stifling heat of summertime in Ho Chi Minh. My wife Thea and I were sitting in the backseat of what was ostensibly a tin can with wheels as it ambled along pockmarked roads. When the inevitable happened – a sizable pothole met with one of the car tires and immediately caused a flat – it gave us a chance to survey our surroundings. Doubling and tripling the number of cars on the road were people maneuvering the potholes on sleek city bikes.
It was a moment of clarity: oftentimes the best way to see a city is by bicycle, not the backseat of a car. Riding a bicycle along the roads and pathways of these cities would be a way to truly experience the living, breathing culture of the place.
The rest of the trip was spent taking photos of the many city bikes that could be found in Hanoi, Hue, and Hoi An, riding the streets that locals take every day.
What are the elements that made these bicycles so striking? We tried to put our finger on exactly what it was that made them so different than the typical bike on the market at that time:
Functional – these city bikes were not tricked out with the latest and greatest carbon frames or derailleurs, each one somehow managed to be both functional and simple. They could be used for getting from here to there, but they were also the perfect vehicle for toting cargo and running everyday errands.
Stylish – the Flying Pigeon brand – styled after classic Dutch bikes – seemed to be the design of choice, but many of the bikes were personalized with touches of flare to help them stand out from the crowd.
Comfortable - the swept back handlebars and the dual coil saddles made for an upright riding posture, a totally different riding experience than traditional mountain or road bikes.
Affordable - these city bikes were designed for the masses, and many people were able to get access to one.
Quiet, affordable, and fun, the bicycles helped to avoid both traffic jams and exhaust while providing a way for the locals to get invigorating outdoor exercise as part of their daily routine. In many urban areas, people on city bikes seemed to be getting to work more quickly than those inching through traffic in cars. Most of all, the people we saw riding city bikes looked like they were enjoying their commute – something that, especially as New Yorkers, we found refreshing.
Upon my return to the States, Brooklyn Bicycle Co. was born. Our pursuit was to make cycling easier, simpler, and more accessible to more people – giving everyone a chance to spend part of each day feeling like a kid again. It remains our primary pursuit to this day.
The past five years have brought so many people into our lives both as business partners and customers. The abundance of positive feedback we receive not only brings smiles to our faces but serves to make us work that much harder to bring you the best bikes we possibly can.
I continually read our creed as it resonates more with me today and it has any previous year:
"We design bikes that fit into your life, not bikes that you need to fit your life around. That's our bottom line.
For us, riding means commuting, socializing, getting things done and, sometimes, just being seen. And we don't feel it's unreasonable to call for comfort, quality and value greater than the sum on a pricetag when talking about a full-on lifestyle accessory.
Every one of our bikes adapts to your personal style, answers to everyone’s want for comfort, and speaks to the universal truth that anything can be elevated by design. None of it is by accident.
As a brand, we roll peerless by not seeing ourselves as “just a bike company” but rather as Solutionists set on improving the urban lifestyle experience and reconnecting fellow city dwellers to the streets that map their days."
We hope you find your inspiration,