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NYC Cycling Origins

Source: NYC DOT

If you’ve been living in New York City for the past 10 years, you will have noticed a slow and steady increase in bicycle friendly city planning. This has been a great addition to the city’s environment, which tends to be rife with traffic jams and their inherent air and noise pollution. But the culture of cycling in New York City predates any top-down city planning measures. Since we are based in New York City, we wanted to highlight some of the small businesses that have been supporting cyclists for generations.

Sid’s Bikes NYC – 40 years running.

Sid’s has been the bedrock for an untold thousands of New York City cyclists. Originally started as an auto parts store, Sid’s became focused on cycling during the 1973 oil embargo which sparked residents to consider other forms of transportation. After seeing the trend towards cycling, Sid himself decided to make the full-fledged transition from auto parts to cycling. Their shop quickly became an integral part of the city’s two wheeled culture. Ask anyone zipping around the streets of New York City on a bicycle, and chances are they’ve been to Sid’s.


Bicycle Habitat – 40 years running.

Bicycle Habitat has always had one simple mission: More people on bikes, more often. It is a mission that they continue to achieve. Oddly enough, Charlie, the founder of Bicycle Habitat was originally a civil engineer who helped develop tunnels, subways and even sewers for New York City. It was only after significant urging from his wife that he decided his personal passion for cycling might have the potential to be just as impactful, if not more so, than his civil engineering. This is how Bicycle Habitat was formed. Our favorite part about this story is that with Charlie’s deep understanding of how the city’s government went about city planning, he knew all the angles to get the city’s representatives to promote the benefits of cycling. While building a network of Bicycle Habitat stores that the communities loved, Charlie also strongly interjected himself into city politics to lobby for what we now take for granted – the New York City bike lanes. All the props in the world for making that happen.


These are just two of the dozens of original bicycle shops in New York City. So many other have been supporting the city for decades. Chances are if you walk in to any bicycle shop in New York City, you are experiencing a real piece of history. 

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