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Skittish cyclists hop on the Bike Train

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A group of skittish cyclists who feared two-wheeling on Brooklyn’s mean streets have created a Thursday morning bike pool so they can safely pedal their way to work.

Every week, the members of the “Bike Train” meet up 8:30 am at the Red Lantern bike and coffee shop on Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene. They chat for a bit before the wary-but-skilled riders heading off, watching each other’s back to make sure they all get where they are going without getting hurt, an overcoming a fear that has kept them off their two-wheeled vehicles.

“When I first moved here, I left my bike on the West Coast,” said Kimberly Kinchen, who helped organize the group after staying off her bike for two years. “There was no way I would even contemplate riding in New York City.”

Kinchen said when she started itching to get back on her bike, she read about a similar bike group for kids in Portland, Ore, so she and her partner Kim Burgas decided to start Bike Train, which has become a hit.

“There are a lot of people here who are, very interested in cycling, but very intimidated by riding here,” Kinchen said.

And those riders are learning that there is strength in numbers.

“When you ride by yourself, drivers get closer and they are more callous,” said Chris McNally, who joined Bike Train to mentor those who are intimidated by horseless carriages. “If you are in a group of six, they treat you completely differently. You are more of an obstacle to go around.”

That change in attitude, says Burgas, can change lives.

“People are safer when they are riding together,” said Burgas. “They are more visible.”

For now, the weekly ride from Fort Greene to Manhattan is the only regular one that Kinchen and Burgas run, but they hope to expand in the future.

“We need to reach out to large employers,” said Kinchen. “There are so many riders that we can get out on the streets if they had more confidence.”

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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Reasonable discourse

manhatposeur from brokeland says:
I'll have gentrified Brokelyn any day over Kandahar or Mogadishu.

Besides the way you old school Brooklynites think you all belong in those warzones.

Time to go after these rogue drivers and deprive them of there licenses.
May 14, 2013, 8:49 am
ty from pps says:
manhatposeur,
Didn't you know that living in Brooklyn is all about suffering and danger? I know I can't get enough gunshots ringing out in the night or car crashes killing people. It's part of the charm. (No?)
May 14, 2013, 9:19 am
Broklynite from Brooklyn says:
Congrats! The Bike Train is a great idea!
May 14, 2013, 9:19 am
diehipster from Pure Brooklyn says:
Why do you kazoo voiced yups always assume us natives want guns and drugs and ghettos??? When did we ever say that? We just don't want a culdesacian romper room way of life here. Where I grew up and still live in the general area, was never any guns or gangs. Just a mix of real culture and non 'look at me' lifestyles. You hipsters and yups are just out of place.
May 14, 2013, 9:43 am
ty from pps says:
So, diehipster, what is so goddamn horrible about people commuting to work safely?! Why does everything you don't do yourself get chalked up as "hipster," "yupster" and "pussification"? Are you really this pathetic of a person that even folks wanting to get fresh air on their commute to work... and, god forbid, spend time with other people... challenges your existence?!

Do you honestly thing you constant toxic crap spewing is a positive thing for Brooklyn or your own sad life? Get over it. Move on with life.
May 14, 2013, 9:59 am
BrianVan from Gramercy says:
Maybe it's not just about "skittish" attitudes toward urban cycling... anyone stop to consider that it's also a useful social activity? Are joggers who meet for group runs too "skittish" to run in the park alone?
May 14, 2013, 10:04 am
dave from PS says:
I figured there'd be one or two trolls (fake "real" brookyniites) responding. They always need attention (ironically claiming hipsters are the "look at me" type).

The weird thing, a LOT of my friends, including my officemate and 2 neighbors, were born in Brooklyn and none of them share these "anti hipster" attitudes ascribed to anyone different from them.

I feel bad for the handful of pathetic losers from BK who hate anyone from somewhere else. NYC is the definition of a city made of people from somewhere else... wtf losers. Learn your history. Do you hate your grandparents? Your parents?

I think the group bike is a nice idea. Social, healthy, adds less traffic heading into Manhattan.

Good for them.
May 14, 2013, 10:41 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Bike trains are a great way to overcome initial fear about biking in the city. I remember when I started riding it was good to see others in the bike lanes.

It does make a practical difference, too. When you're riding in a group cars are much less likely to cut you off or "door" you (people who park and then open their doors just in time for you to run into them). And all those who take bike lanes as an invitation to double-park get many more glares from cyclists who are trying to get to work.
May 14, 2013, 10:42 am
JAZ from Hunting Redbeards says:
Article on page 3 of today's Post: "US Hates Hipsters".

That's funny, because I thought there was no such thing.
May 14, 2013, 10:58 am
ty from pps says:
JAZ - Are people commuting to manhattan for work considered "hipsters"? This definition seems to grow every day.
May 14, 2013, 11:19 am
JAZ from Hunting Redbeards says:
ty - Are they nasally, often bearded, photographers, production assistants, graphic designers, DJ's, curators, art school grads. baristas, or assorted other 'creatives' who landed at JFK to come raise rents and drink out of repurposed mason jars in whimsical, quirky North Brooklyn? Because they, as well as many others are definitely hipsters.
May 14, 2013, 11:32 am
ty from pps says:
So pathetic...
May 14, 2013, 12:35 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
JAZ, you just gave the best definition of a hipster I have ever read. You made my day. Btw, I arrived via LaGuardia (but in 1990, Dinkins crack era, pre-hipster days.)
May 14, 2013, 1:01 pm
Unhipster from bklmnop says:
I commute daily from Park Slope to SoHo. Definitely not a hipster.
May 14, 2013, 1:40 pm
Unhipster from bklmnop says:
I commute daily from Park Slope to SoHo. Definitely not a hipster.
May 14, 2013, 1:40 pm
o3 from bk says:
diehipster - please restart ur blog so y'all have a suitable place to vent. thanks
May 14, 2013, 1:43 pm
Homey from Crooklyn says:
What a bunch of nancies.
May 14, 2013, 6:53 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
This bike train would have my support if they taught cyclists to actually comply with the rules of the road rather than defy them.
May 14, 2013, 8:15 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal - You don't bore yourself ?
May 14, 2013, 10:09 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Did you even read the article? When's the last time you visited Brooklyn, anyway?
May 15, 2013, 10:32 am
DVN from Clinton Hill says:
Im tired of this apparent association with the arts as being a hipster. Its BS. Ny has and always will be a very creatively driven city. So Anyone that ever attended Juliard and Laguardia HS or any art school ever is a hipster? If you are on Broadway you're a hipster. It's ridiculous. Ive been here 20 years and I never flew in I've watched the city change drastically over those years. There are just as many average blue collar workers moving into the city as people in the arts.

Regardless, Having said all that I think this group ride is a great idea for people who are uncomfortable riding alone in the street. It can be intimidating and by riding as a group you are a larger obstacle. So Hope you all have fun with your commutes. There are some really beautiful mornings coming up at this time of year. Enjoy, be safe and have fun!
May 15, 2013, 11:48 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I don't think those that ride bicycles are always hipsters, so don't accuse me of saying such. However, there have been numerous complaints of cyclists who never seem to think that the rules apply to them. Just reading that entry on Streetsblog alone about saying that they deserve special rules is only more of reason such a group is creating more enemies than allies. I never understood why it's wrong to teach bicycle safety for this group known as the bike train. If cyclists complied with the rules of the road, they would be much more safer and they would never have to worry about placing others or even themselves into harm's way by flouting them constantly. For the record, I have never said that I had anything against those wanting to ride a bicycle, just those who behave as such with them. As for the bikeshare program, it has more burdens than benefits, and the video from the NY Times says why there is a reason to oppose it. On a side note, I have to Brooklyn just two weeks for Game 7 of the Nets-Bulls, and I even managed to find a parking spot just by the arena, though I had to wait until 7 PM for it to lift so the spot would be free rather than paying the muni meter.
May 15, 2013, 4:37 pm
ty from pps says:
OH MY F%CKING LORD! Tal Barzilai, you are such a dumb, ignorant person. I don't know what is wrong with me that draws me to read your babbling comments. But they are so full of misinformation and just plain willful ignorance that it's deeply painful. I really hope you are a "special needs" person. That would almost make your comments marginally acceptable.
May 15, 2013, 5:27 pm
@NYCBiketrain says:
Hi folks:

For those of you who would like to learn more or share info about the Ft. Greene biketrain, details are at:

http://www.bikeapolis.us/2012/10/31/brooklyn-biketrain-fort-green-to-manhattan/

You can also find us on Twitter @NYCBiketrain.
May 15, 2013, 5:52 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, if you should be taking any kind of medication, it should be chill pills, because you really need them.
May 15, 2013, 6:33 pm
ty from pps says:
I will "chill" when you get smarter or stop commenting on things you don't understand (which seems to be everything so far).
May 15, 2013, 6:39 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal - you posted at the same time as me. How do I know that wasn't me posting as you?
May 15, 2013, 6:49 pm
Brolic Deuchestism from Bed-Stuy says:
Did you say, "get gay?"
May 20, 2013, 4:33 pm
Jym from PLG says:
@Tal - This is essentially a carpool. When people get together to form a carpool, do you insist that they review automotive safety as part of their commute? If not, why not? After all, motorists break far more laws, destroy far more property, and injure and kill far more people than every other transportation mode put together.
May 23, 2013, 9:36 pm

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