I have never arrived somewhere on a bike and not been in a great mood.
I grew up in California, and I learned to ride when I was around six years old. I really wanted a 10-speed, and my cousins had this old rusty bike at their house. They gave it to me, and I stripped it to the frame, re-painted it silvery blue, fixed the wheels, and slapped a Schwinn sticker on it, so the bike would look more complete.
The kids in the neighborhood all rode bikes together on Saturday mornings. We would all pack backpacks with some water and just a few things and just go ride up in the hills, listening to music along the way. I can still remember the mist on my face.
To me, that was freedom.
Before I got a car, I always had a bike and could go anywhere. There are so many things you can see, hear, and smell. The car restricts your view of the world in some ways.
I actually rode a bike to work until the day I had my son. I worked and lived in Los Altos at the time and rode the bike to work every day while I was pregnant.
The best time of year for biking in New York is Summer Streets. There is something about going down Park Avenue with no cars, and looking up at all these buildings.
There is a certain pace to biking… It can depend on who you are riding with, kind of like dancing.
There is definitely a zen to riding a bike.
I ride passively. I mean the average car weighs what – two tons? I just don’t want to gamble, I prefer to be passive. In fact, that’s the whole zen of the bike. Especially here in New York where everybody wants to be the top dog. When someone pulls out in front of you, its not personal, so don’t take it that way. You just watch out for your safety, be courteous and it all works out, man.
You get there when you get there, I think that’s the key.
Cynthia Basinet was born in Los Angeles, California. The sultry singer and actress, best known for her hit “Santa Baby,” has appeared in film, TV, and hundreds of commercials. Long considered a social change activist, she has visited refugees in North Africa, addressed the UN nearly a dozen times, and was nominated for a shared Nobel Peace Prize. You can find Cynthia cruising on her bike daily in SoHo.
Interview and photos by Eric LaCour.