Why you should care
Because cities are ch-ch-ch-ch-changin’, baby, and bikes are the not-so-Jetsonesque swing to a well-exercised, low-carbon future.
From stylin’ you to getting you global, OZY’s got your freewheeling need-to-knows covered.
You know you’re an OZY addict when you buy a lowrider after reading about one here first. That’s a win, we’ll say. If you’re trying to get excessive about your transit habits: Go low. Lowrider bikes, like their car cousins, are all about bringing it down and dangerous — and beating the hipsters to that next-next level. And with wild layers of chrome, metalwork, wacky paint jobs and the weirdest handlebars you’ve ever seen, wouldn’t you want to ride low and slooow? At least so your friends can see what a badass looks like.
Don’t forget utility in the rush toward style. Fixie-riding hipsters aren’t the majority of cyclists: People who, um, need bikes in order to get around are. Hence the outreach from one Los Angeles bike collective, Multicultural Communities for Mobility. In notoriously car-centric Los Angeles County, more than 1 in 4 people live in poverty and 1 in 10 is an undocumented immigrant — meaning they may not have access to a car, either because they can’t afford it or, as was the case last year, the law prohibits them from getting a driver’s license. Next up on the agenda for MCM? Making bike lanes an indicator of opportunity rather than of gentrification.
OZY heads south to do the numbers on this one — to Bogotá, Colombia, where 185 miles of bike lanes rule this city and tell the drivers who’s boss. There, wheelers have helped turn a crumbling city into one where people can ride — and live — safer, happier, healthier. And it’s a movement: In 2000, Bogotá became the first city in the world to hold a citywide car-free day, a day when, for the first time in three years, no one was killed on the roads. Now other cities are following suit, and why not? Across the developed world, cycle lanes, once seen as slower, more stressful and, crucially, more dangerous, are unused because biking seems like an arduous option. But Bogotá’s achievement lies in proving that the right option is also the easiest option.
And what lifestyle is complete without going head to toe? We take you up top, to the prettiest bike helmets on the planet, made by New Yorker Danielle Baskin, who made the ugliest part of biking — the helmet — just a bit snazzier. She began by painting different helmets for different times of day, sunset or nighttime. Soon, people started chatting her up at intersections. “Where’d you get that helmet?” they’d ask. And so her one-woman business was born. “I’m not even some ‘wearing a helmet should be a law’ person,” says Baskin. “But if you want to wear one, I think you should have more options than just mass-produced bright pink.”