2017/01 – Bike Shops (David Vollbach and Julio De León)

Screen Shot 2017-01-07 at 2.35.07 AM.pngJulio De León and David Vollbach before the Port Authority, 1/5/17.  Source PANYNJ.

David Vollbach [1]

My name is Dave Vollbach and I work at Bicycle Habitat in Soho. We’re one of NYC’s biggest and oldest bike shops. Since our flagship Soho store opened 39 years ago, we’ve expanded to four locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn and a staff of 50.

We have a great deal of interest in maintaining cycling access across the GWB. Along with many shops, we regularly host rides using it as a starting point.

While the improvements to the bridge’s approaches are welcome, if you maintain the path at its current width, the increase in bike traffic will force riders to dismount and walk.  Walking a mile in stiff, cleated cycling shoes will destroy the shoes and is extremely unpleasant, if not dangerous, for the cyclist.

Our business is contingent on our customers having places to ride.  If the GWB becomes unrideable, it will stifle not only commuters, but a customer base for dozens and dozens of shops and businesses in NY and NJ.

Road bikes used by recreational and competitive cyclists accounted for a quarter of the bikes that sold at Bicycle Habitat last year, yet over half of our profit dollars.

Widening the paths as part of the upcoming re-cabling makes a lot more sense than waiting until the problem becomes more acute and costs increase. Please include widening of the paths in the Capital Budget.  Thank you.

Julio De León [2] [3]

On July 28 (2016), I saved somebody who was about to jump over the George Washington Bridge.  As a cyclist, I would like to see the bike path more wide, because it is too narrow.  I see so many cyclists like me, who have so many problems going back and forth.  This is very, very important for me.

When I saw the man about to jump, I got off my bike.  But at the same time, there was another guy coming. In another second, I could have had an accident with the other cyclist.

Please invest a little bit more in bicycles.  That is my wish.  Thank you.

[1] PANYNJ Board meeting 1/5/17, David Vollbach is 1:34:00 to 1:36:5, PANYNJ Videoshttp://tinyurl.com/znlnpjq

[2] “On a Bridge, a Quick-Thinking Cyclist Saves a Life on the Ledge”, NY Timeshttp://tinyurl.com/gnfsjq8

[3] Julio De León is 1:28:38 to 1:29:32, PANYNJ Videos

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