Not Cycling, But Cruising

Text by Jay Riedl
Photography by Che Thomas Carr

The Dutch do it, the French do it, and now New Yorkers can do it, too—zip around the city with style and ease on a bicycle made for commuting, errand-running, meeting for coffee, and handling mean city streets. The cruiser—a style also known as the urban, the commuter, or the Dutch—does what mountain bikes and road bikes cannot; it makes city cycling effortless.

Created two years ago by former Wall Street trader Ryan Zagata, the Brooklyn Cruiser was an instant hit with locals and beyond. It’s easy to see why. The bike is built for style and comfort. Ryan explains that as a biker, he had found himself overwhelmed by choice. He had a mountain bike and a road bike, yet neither served him well when he wanted to pedal around town free from special shoes or special gear. His wife, tired of storing multiple bikes in their New York City apartment, said he could get a new bike providing he got rid of all the others, and so he did.

The Brooklyn Cruiser is fantastically simple and available in two models, one for women and one for men. The 2012 version, due to launch at the New Amsterdam bike show on April 28, features vintage lines, puncture-resistant cream-colored tires, swept-back handle bars, leather grips with a matching saddle, and a handy wooden carry box on the rear rack. Other design touches include front and rear brakes, a chain guard to keep pants safe, full front and rear fenders to prevent splashing, and a Sturmey Archer three-speed internal hub to help riders up hills. The upright positioning makes for an extra comfortable ride. The handlebars sit higher, and the length of the frame is shorter.

Brooklyn Cruisers are designed to fit the urban and the stylish, and are available in black, tangerine, ivory and Columbia blue (for women). Cruisers cost $549 and are sold at bikes stores nationwide and online with a money-back guarantee if the buyer doesn’t absolutely love the bike. So far, they haven’t been taken up on the offer.