George Hahn with his Brooklyn Cruiser at the pedestrian plaza across from the Flatiron Building. George runs georgehahn.com (“The Journal for men who aren’t millionaires, but who like to look good and live well.”). He’s also been riding a bike for transportation in New York City since moving here in 1994. Back then, he was very much in a racing mode – road bike, spandex, laps around Central Park. For years, he still saw cycling primarily as a sport, just one that was also useful for getting around the city. As he writes in his Contributor-at-Large feature for Brooklyn Cruiser:
Throughout all those years, I was drunk on the influences of racing, hunched over an aluminum frame with nine gears (three of which I actually used), sporting a helmet that made me look like I had an alien brain, toe clips, and even a pair of scuba shorts fitted with ass pads, a.k.a. bike shorts. I looked like a tool. I acted like one, too. With earbuds mainlining a thumping soundtrack to my Iron Man fantasy, I tore through Central Park, city streets and bike paths with reckless and speedy abandon. I had that intense biker face with clenched teeth, like the angry grill of a Cadillac Escalade. American Psycho on a bike.
All of this meant that cycling required a special uniform and a special mindset, and was not well integrated into the rest of George’s city life. He recalls a moment on the street when he saw a Dutch-style city bike, its upright, relaxed rider wearing casual clothes. It hit him: “This! This is what I want!” The upright Dutch bike was the natural next step in his New York cycling evolution. Quoting George again:
My enjoyment of riding a bike no longer requires a sacrifice of my own personal style. The city bike has become a significant part of my life here in New York, and I suspect it would be a big part of my life no matter where I lived. Aside from the pure enjoyment it offers me, it’s my chief mode of transportation. Only in inclement weather do I take the subway, the bus or a taxi. I honestly cannot remember the last time I refilled my MetroCard.
George doesn’t always ride in a suit, of course. But if he happens to be wearing a suit, he doesn’t hesitate to reach for the bike. He simply rides.
Also, don’t try to steal George’s saddle.
More coming soon from this shoot.