Urban Biking: It’s For Everyone

Is biking in New Haven still associated with white, middle-class college students and well-to-do transplants?

John Brehon (pictured), sales manager at the Devil’s Gear Bike Shop, argues not.

“Guess what? Cycling is for everyone,” he said on the latest episode of “Urban Talk Radio,” Shafiq Abdussabur’s weekly radio show on WNHH.

You can listen to the episode by clicking on the audio above, or finding it in iTunes or any podcast app under “WNHH Community Radio.”

“We get that diversity,” Brehon said. “We get the student from Yale, Quinnipiac, Southern ... but also we get the professors, we get the kids from Newhallville, Fair Haven.”

“One thing I noticed ... was the actual diversity that works in the store,” added Abdussabur. “For a young man or a young woman from New Haven, that will speak volumes ... Thank you for that.”

In addition to Brehon, Abdussabur on the program was also joined by cit transit czar Doug Hausladen, whose responses came in handy for a lightning round of bike questions at the end:

What’s going to happen to the green bike lanes when it snows? Will the snow plows scrape up the green paint?
No.

Is there a bike tax?
No.

Where can people legally chain up their bikes?
Legally, every parking meter or sign in the city of New Haven. Designated bike racks. If you are interested in having a bike rack at your business ... whip out your phone and use the New Haven connect app or SeeClickFix app.

My bike gets stolen. What do I do?
At the Devil’s Gear, there is a stolen bike report. Take a picture of the serial number on the bottom. Let Devil’s Gear know. Let the police know! And have an adequate lock.

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posted by: anonymous on August 24, 2015  3:03pm

Are people on bikes “white, middle-class college students and well-to-do transplants”?

Decidedly not… just look around the city, other than right around East Rock, on any day.  Most people riding bikes are not white, and are most likely on the lower end of the income scale.

People who drive are at least twice as wealthy as everyone else. 

Go ahead and complain all you want about other people using the roads, but anyone who actively pushes for improvements for drivers at the expense of people who walk, bike, and take buses in our city is using their power to be racist, anti-child, and anti-poor.

posted by: RayWillis on August 24, 2015  6:52pm

Just to clarify, although the city encourages the use of all standard parking meters for the purpose of locking your bicycle to, we ask that you please refrain from locking bicycles to blue handicapped meters and signposts denoting handicapped parking spaces.

posted by: kastoner on August 24, 2015  7:35pm

Why isn’t the New Haven Police Department participating in the National Bicycle Registry?  Having people report their stolen bikes to the Devil’s Gear shop is lame.  I love Devil’s Gear, but keeping a registry of serial numbers of stolen bikes is not their job, it’s the job of the police department.  I have sent emails to Chief Esserman and to the district manager of my police district saying this - and I have gotten no response.

posted by: robn on August 25, 2015  6:52am

A stolen bike registry doesn’t mean a thing if the city lacks the will to arrest people who steal bikes (really…how many arrests for this crime are on record in the past several decades? If it’s more than zero I’d be surprised. If it’s more than 10 I’d be shocked.)
This is even though theft of a property worth $2K and up is a felony and many bikes can exceed that cost dramatically. Or even below that as a misdemeanor, think about the affect upon someone of limited means that uses their bike to get to a job. NHPD has to stop regarding bikes as toys and start taking this seriously.

Here’s a few clues;
When you see a teenager being driven on the handlebars of another teenagers bike and a few minutes later those two both ride by on bikes, there’s probably been a theft.
When you see someone riding a bike completely out of adjustment for their body there’s probably been a theft.
When you see teenage boys riding women’s bikes (something that boys never did when I was growing up) there’s probably been a theft.

posted by: jayfairhaven on August 25, 2015  9:11am

i had a great experience with the devil’s gear stolen bike registry. my bike was stolen, and several months later it was brought in by a customer that needed a new tire tube. i thought it was a miracle that they recovered my bike, and am grateful still.