New Yorkers get on their bikes in style

Thu Jun 4, 2009 2:55pm EDT
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By Jui Chakravorty Das

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - New Yorkers are getting on their bicycles and they are doing it in style.

Frumpy, unfashionable gear has given way to sophisticated, chic and affordable designs by fashion students as more city dwellers abandon the buses and subways to pedal to work.

"New York should have not only the most bicyclists, but the most stylish ones as well," Patti Harris, the first deputy mayor of New York, told a news conference.

Promoting bicycling is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's agenda to create a greener, bike friendly and car-free New York.

Following the examples of cycling cities such as Amsterdam and Beijing, New York has built 200 miles of bike lanes in the past three years. An estimated 185,000 New Yorkers cycled to work in 2008, an increase of 35 percent from the previous year.

In keeping with the city's efforts to promote cycling, luxury apparel maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton asked students at the Fashion Institute of Technology to create chic yet affordable cycling gear.

"We want to do everything we can to raise the profile of biking in New York," Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, said at the news conference to announce the winning design.

"Having functioning, attractive gear so you can arrive at work looking stylish should be very encouraging," she said. "No one wants to show up at work looking like bike messengers."   Continued...

<p>A man rides his bike under the FDR East River Drive in New York July 24, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>