Over the last couple of months, New York City has become a lot more bicycle friendly. Miles of new dedicated bike lanes have made riding around the city a lot safer. Here in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, lanes were added to Smith Street and Hoyt Street just last week. Suddenly, it appears that everyone is getting out their two-wheeler or thinking about purchasing one.
So, if timing is everything, Rolling Orange, a new bicycle store at 269 Baltic Street, could not have chosen a more opportune moment to open here in Brooklyn.
Rolling Orange features heavy-duty Dutch city and cargo bikes by three manufacturers. Reminiscent of the sturdy pre-war bicycles, they are available with many add-ons, different configurations and an assortment of fun, bright colors as well as the standard black. The bicycles are shipped assembled from Holland and cost from $900 for the commuter bike to $2,000 and up for the cargo bikes.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with owner Ad Hereijgers this week to speak about his newly-opened store and about these unique bicycles.
Mr. Hereijers, who has lived both in Manhattan and in Carroll Gardens, has an obviously fondness for New York City and calls himself "a city freak".
He is a partner in New Amsterdam Development Consultants (NADC), "consultants who are experts in real estate development with an emphasis on development concepts in urban markets, most notably on projects that transform cities, such as waterfront developments, mixed-use districts, and the revitalization of urban neighborhoods." The slowing market has given him the opportunity to shift gears, so to speak.
Mr, Hereijers intends Rolling Orange to be much more than a bike store. Through bike-themed events and movies, he wants to introduce Dutch biking culture to this city and would like New Yorkers to ease into the Slow Revolution. He encourages everyone to "go into the slow lane and take time to enjoy urban life."
Mr. Hereijgers acknowledges that his bicycles are expensive and are not for every Brooklynite. He points out that these particular bikes are luxury items even in Holland, but that they are so well made that they are investments. "They are bikes for a lifetime and their resale value is high." he added.
In order to protect that value, Rolling Orange will offer full on site after-sale maintenance service. Hereijgers is also hoping to be able to offer bicycle insurance in the future.
To those skeptics who say that such expensive bikes may get stolen, Ad Hereijgers answers that the demographics in this area have changed. "It's all about perception," he stated. " If you feel that buying a house for three million dollars is a safe investment, you should also feel that this neighborhood is safe enough to park your $2,000 cargo bike in front of your house."
I hope that his optimism is rewarded and that this city's nascent bike culture flourishes.
269 Baltic Street
718 935 0695