Charlie’s Christmas List

charliebikeSometimes owning a bike store is like being a kid in a candy store – there’s so much cool stuff around me all the time!

I’m mainly an urban rider. I commute to all of the shops from my home in Brooklyn, and I ride the Westside Highway to get uptown.

There are a few key accessories that I never leave home without. They keep me safer, more comfortable, and worry-free. Here are some of my favorites – things I ride with and a few things that I wish I rode with:




RL Cage – my favorite cage. Lightweight, comes in every color, and it holds bottles extra tight.

Chamois Butt’r – a must for long distance riders. If you’ve never tried chamois cream on your shorts before, pick up a single serving packet and give it a try!

Knog Oi Bell – its sleek design helps it blend right in to my handlebars. The ringer is loud, the install is easy, and it’s not bulky.

Specialized Air Tool Mini Pump with CO2 – just in case I get a flat on my commute. This pump has CO2 for a quick fix, and a pump to top off your tires.

Kryptonite 1090 Evolution Series 4 Chain Lock (3′) – my favorite lock for the city. It fits easily around any size/shape bike rack, and it’s super strong.


Specialized Prevail Helmet – my go-to helmet for years. Whenever one expires, I just keep buying new ones. The new design is even lighter and more ventilated than the last.

Crank Brothers M10 Multi-tool – has everything I need on the road. It has every size wrench and two screwdrivers, and it comes in seven colors!

Wahoo Kickr with Zwift – for when it’s too cold to ride outside. We have one of these set up in the Prospect Heights shop, and it’s a lot of fun! Stop by some time and see what it’s like to take a virtual training ride.

Balaclava – my savior on sub-freezing days. Having a balaclava keeps my ears, head, and cheeks warm and protected from the wind.


Trek Super Commuter – a bit of a stretch for a Christmas list, but this is my dream bike. I already ride a pedal assist bike around the city, and it helps me (and my arthritic knees) ride longer and more comfortably. It neutralizes the hills, so going from Brooklyn to Manhattan is not only possible, but also fun and freeing. I don’t really need a new bike right now, but hey, it’s always nice to dream.


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The Re-Paving of Prospect Park

This weekend, we were pleasantly surprised to receive a press release from the Department of Transportation announcing:


Back in December, local shops, teams, clubs, and activists teamed up to send a letter to the Prospect Park Alliance and DOT, asking them to make the park safer by repaving the pothole-ridden West Drive. Now, for the first time in twelve years, the west side of the park is being repaved.

Construction began on Monday, and sections of the West Drive will be closed for the next two weeks. The tentative end date for construction is Friday, April 8th – work is weather permitting, so check the project’s status before you head out for laps. The DOT knows how important the park is for local cyclists, so they’re hoping to be done with construction as quickly as possible.

We’re looking forward to a smooth road with fresh new paint to mark the bike and pedestrian lanes. Whether you race, run, ride, or relax in Prospect Park, two weeks of detours is a fine trade for a smoother, safer roadway. Maybe the closure will encourage Brooklyn commuters to try a new route to work (or even to venture up to Central Park occasionally for laps!).

Charlie is quoted in the press release celebrating the news:

I ride through the Park every day. It is the best part of my daily commute! The touch-up paving a few months was greatly appreciated; a repave will make it awesome. There are too many cracks and fissures keeping riders focused on the road, this will make a better ride and will make the park much safer for all users.



For the duration of the project, you’ll see signage at park entrances with closure details. The work will be done in sections, so not all of the West Drive will be closed at once. You can stay up to date on the project by checking the DOT’s website or following them on social media. Once the road is done, let us know what you think of it. And be sure to wave when you see Charlie on his way to work!

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I love having a bike shop in New York City


I love having a bike shop in New York City. Sure there are numbers to crunch and stressors to handle, but unlike a lot of people’s jobs, mine is constantly filled with bikes. There are times when I am attached to a desk and doing business type things, but what I enjoy the most is the action on the sales floor. When the season hits, it’s important to remember to slow down and take time to smell the bike grease and fresh tires (a bike shop’s equivalent of flowers?).

This weekend, we traded the great spring weather we’ve been enjoying lately for a few days of cold winds. Thankfully we avoided the forecasted snow storm, but the first official day of spring brought with it temperatures a good 10 degrees colder than usual. Even so, the temperature in the store was tropical. The staff was on! A brief (hopefully) dip in temperatures couldn’t dull their excitement that the season has started – you could sense the energy and hear good conversations between staff and customers all day long. Here’s a 15-minute slice of life in the shop during spring:

I took a few minutes to watch a 6-year old waiting for his new bike. He was vigorously pumping one of our floor pumps while his sister pretend inflated the bike lights, locks, and bells on the wall. He proudly proclaimed he was putting more air in the world so we all could live longer. He probably didn’t know that although that floor pump isn’t directly saving anyone, riding bikes will help save our future from climate change and extend many riders’ lives (and increase the quality of those lives).

A few feet away from the floor pump superhero, Chris was working on a well used electric pedal assist bike we sold a few months ago to a messenger. As he wrenched, they discussed whether this had been a profitable bike for the messenger. Did the added speed help him get in an extra delivery or two every day? Did he feel better at the end of the day and was he able to enjoy his time with his family more? Although greater productivity was the reason behind the purchase, the end result was more, and happier, family time.

Then a couple came in. He was pushing a Specialized road bike and she was looking to take advantage of our spring sale and get a women’s specific road bike to share the experience with him. She did find a bike and sounded enthusiastic about riding – if not with him then with our women’s cycling group (see our site:

Another children’s bike was moved toward the repair stand for a final safety checkover before going to its new home. Next week is the start of spring break, so we’ve built a ton of kids’ bikes recently. 

The bike’s new owner, about 8-years old: What if I don’t remember how to ride?

Mom: Have you heard that saying It’s just like riding a bike? That because you never really forget how to ride a bike!

Moments later, she was riding down the block on her new bike, a huge smile on her face.

Then in walked another couple. This time the woman was the biker and the boyfriend the potential convert. As they browsed road bike options, I looked around and realized I could hear three different languages being spoken. I saw happy tourists, excited to find items unavailable in their country, picking out NYC memories for cycling friends back home.

I returned to my desk and found an email from a mom inquiring about teaching her and her 7-year old son with mild autism to ride bicycles. We work with Andree Sanders, a Bike League Certified Instructor, and every year she helps hundreds of adults and children learn to ride or be better cyclists. I remembered teaching my wife to ride 35 years ago so we could take a bicycle tour of Cuba, a trip with memories to last decades! (If you’re looking to learn how to ride, no matter how old or young you are, you can contact

Did I mention I love owning a bike store in NYC? Not every day has such easily identifiable bits of joy, but if I remember to slow down and take in what’s going on around me, I know that everyday has a remarkable set of memories being made in my shops.



Owner, Bicycle Habitat

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“It just annoys my feet when I can’t ride my bike”

There are many different reasons to ride. Last Wednesday was one of those cold February winter days where the temperature never rose above freezing: my morning ride to work started at 28 degrees and my trip home ended at 22 degrees. My 8-mile commute, from the south side of Prospect Park to Soho, was cold riding in and even colder riding home.

A week later, I still have the head cold that I attribute to riding through sub-freezing temperatures last week. I’m sure that continuing to ride hasn’t helped it go away.

At 66 you’d think I’d have gotten smarter. The funny thing about being 66 is sometimes, hopefully not too often, you have the understanding that you are much closer to the finish line then the start line. This gives way to a feeling of carpe diem – seize the day! And that’s when, regardless of the temperature, I find myself pulling on wool socks, waterproof shoes, heavy long pants, a base layer, a thermal pull over, a reflective jacket, a balaclava, warm gloves, and a helmet.

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Charlie’s first bike selfie, taken during the snowpocalypse of early 2015.

The reason I ride today is the same reason I started riding 47 years ago: even in the freezing cold, it’s fun. And there are many other reasons: the environment, climate change, to make New York a more livable city, to save money and time, to conserve natural resources (why is conservation a four letter word in politics when fracking and oil drilling aren’t?). But mainly I ride to keep my mind alert, my body active, and my heart beating. I know that if I do not ride at 66, I know I will not be able to ride at 80. I ride because the downhill is worth the uphill, the wind on my face is worth the occasional fly in my teeth, because people watching is amazing from this side of the handlebars. I ride because I ride and it is fun.

A bike dealer friend from Hub Cyclery sent me this note:

A young boy of about nine came in with his mom to check on his bike’s service progress. First he wanted to know “Did I get it in on time?!” (like is it going to live?). His mom says, “He wasn’t too happy because he had to walk home from school rather than ride his bike,” to which he says “Yeah, it just annoys my feet when I can’t ride my bike!”

What a great definition of fun. Just like that boy, on freeing February days, I’d still rather ride than take the train. And, yes my cold was worth the ride.



Owner, Bicycle Habitat

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Winter Tune-Up Special

wintertuneupblogWhether you’re gearing up to tough it out and ride all winter or getting ready to hang up your bike for the season, treat your bike to some much-needed TLC with a discounted Annual or Enthusiast Tune, free pick-up/delivery, and discounted winter storage:

Annual Tune: $100 (was $140)

includes 10% off all parts and accessories purchased with the tune-up

Enthusiast Tune: $150 (was $200)

includes 20% off all parts and accessories purchased with the tune-up

Too busy to make it to the shop? We’ll come to you! Our winter tune-up specials come with the option of free pick-up and delivery if you live within four miles of any of our shops, within Manhattan and Brooklyn. Call your local shop to schedule pick-up.

Winter Storage: $75

Done riding for the season? To store your bike with us until the spring, add $75 to the price of your tune-up. When you pick it up in March, it’ll be good as new and ready to ride!

But how do I know what kind of tune-up I need?

Come in to one of the shops! Estimates are always free, and the best way to navigate our service menu is with the guide of one of our friendly mechanics. After we take a look at your bike, we’ll let you know what the most sensible, and economical, option is. Our goal is to keep you riding safely and smoothly. Whenever possible, we’ll suggest preventative steps to help your bike and your parts last longer and function smoother.

Read more about our tune-up options >

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We’re taking BH on the road!


Veteran tour leader Rick Gallo.

Coming in 2016: Bicycle Habitat On the Road – multi-day fully supported bicycle tours all over the east coast. We’ll be leading trips all the way from Maine to Florida, with one in our very own backyard: the Hudson Valley in spring. Registration for our first tour of the year – Florida in February – is already open, and veteran tour guide Rick Gallo is excited to ditch the snow and bike the coast.

As we were preparing to launch our touring program, we got a note from a longtime customer about an old BH newsletter she found in her files. (Back in the ’80s we used to print our newsletters on actual newsprint.)

The front page article was Hal’s reflections on his cross-country tour. He begins: How does one write a short article about an endeavor that took 35 days to complete? Oh well, here goes! Remember everything is better or worse than what you read here!

Read his full article on our touring blog.

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Commuter Profile: William Atitie


Biking is cultural where I come from. The number one form of transportation is by bike. 

I’m from the northern part of Ghana, and the people are poor. They don’t have money for cars and all these things, so they all struggle to get bicycles. They travel from village to village doing business on bikes. Most of the roads are not very good, so they use mountain bikes to deal with the potholes. William3

I learned to ride in 1951.

The teachers taught us so we could run errands for them. These days I ride to the African markets in the Bronx. They have so many African markets in the Bronx. I have to get my local food. I ride all the way back to Manhattan and I am 73.


I have a Brompton. This is my second Brompton. The first one was stolen from me in less than 3 minutes. I left my bike outside of a convenience store, turned around, and it was gone. I got the surveillance video, made photos from the video and posted them up. Someone from the neighborhood ended up telling me where it was. The police called me and I went in and identified the thief in a line up. The State of New York gave me $150 because they said the value of the bike had depreciated.


I ride passively, I want to follow the traffic rules.

It is better to be late than to be the late William.

I have discovered that biking is very, very healthy. To me, it keeps your mind always on. When you are on a bike, you are active and alert to your surroundings. You are keeping buy. So it is very, very healthy.


My favorite story is the one about Albert Einstein and his students’ question about the meaning of life. He came back the next day with the answer:

“Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.”

It’s true!

William Atite is originally from Ghana, Africa, where he worked as a police officer and later a journalist for the Ghana news agency. After attending school in England, he moved to New York City. A graduate of Fordham University, he worked as administration for New York City Children Services (ACS). He has lived in New York for 33 years and rides his Brompton every day.

Interview and photos by Eric LaCour.

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