Bicycle culture is more prevalent than I've ever seen before in New York City (hello, bike lanes). This past May, New York City launched a bike sharing program called ‘Citi Bike,’ similar to the bike rental programs in London, Amsterdam and Paris. Of course, there was opposition and naysayers to the city-wide rollout from the very beginning, but each time I see a brave cyclist on the street, I want to either join them or hand them a helmet.
For those of us in search of our own set of wheels, a few high-end designers have partnered with well-known bicycle companies and collaborated on an exclusive bicycle design, such as the Bianchi by Gucci Bicycles, complete with fabulous fingerless Gucci bike gloves.
Another forever favorite of mine, Hermès, recently released their Le Flâneur d'Hermès and the Le Flâneur sportif d'Hermès — two unisex bicycles that will be available in ultra-lightweight carbon fiber, each weighing just 24 lbs. and available in three colors: charcoal, red, and white. How picturesque would your commute be on one of these? They are simply divine.
Lorenzo Martone has also launched a line of beautiful bicycles this year. With their distinctive red chain, Martone Cycling Co. gives a discreet wink to the fashion world in his New York City designed bikes. All of his bikes also don a specially-designed basket that is built into each handlebar, making it easy to tote everyday essentials. For those wanting to test ride Martone's bikes prior to purchasing, stay at the Gramercy Park Hotel next time you're in New York. The hotel teamed up with Martone to design a line of stylish custom bicycles for hotel guests to get around Manhattan with panache. These bikes are very distinctive with their immaculate all-white coloring and signature GPH license plates.
High-end designer bikes are perfect for city dwellers and country mice seeking both fashion and function from their bicycles – and a little flair in their everyday commute.
Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal posted a video discussing how bicycle shops have become cultural centers, bringing like-minded people with a love for bikes together. Shops across the U.S. are going beyond your regular tune-up and are beginning to offer unique amenities such as coffee, beer tastings from local breweries, yoga classes, live music and even hosting weddings. It’s a velo nation, indeed.