In 2008, I agreed to sponsor the first ever NYC Summer Streets. Organized by the NYC DOT, the program was going to shut down Lafayette and Park Avenues for several miles, for several hours. I like bold moves in the name of improvement; I signed on to support the event.
We were one of the two local sponsors for that first year. The city also needed repair help, so we staffed a mobile station uptown and two stationary stations in Soho. It was a big investment for us, a small shop, and we played our role to make it a success. When companies along the route complained about loss of business, we were a very vocal supportive partner for the program. (Now, just a few years later, studies show that bike-friendly streets are good for business.)
It looks like Summer Streets is here to stay and has become a NYC fixture; Bicycle Habitat played its role and I am proud of the work we did making it a success. While Summer Streets is our most costly marketing event, we proudly bring in our brand partners such as Trek, Specialized and Bern, to incorporate the breadth of opportunities and experiences in NYC cycling. While newer sponsors have joined in to round out the offerings along the Streets, from fitness classes to zip lines to health classes, we continue to host our best staple: A friendly, knowledgable staff of riders and mechanics ready and enthusiastic about helping more people ride, more often, and enjoy doing it.
Every time we get up early, it hurts. But we remind ourselves: The more that our neighbors can experience the streets as safe and accessible, the more they will ride – and the safer, the better our streets will be. So we embrace this early morning tradition. One we are honored to have helped nurture since the very beginning.
See you Saturday.