Since the launch of the Citibike bike sharing program last summer, whether for commuting or recreation, it has never been easier to bike around New York City. Cycling has become a tourist attraction as well and now a featured amenity at many boutique hotels. For the upscale traveler, the garish blue logo-ed Citibikes offer neither the style nor convenience of a fleet of the most fashionable urban cycles available at one’s hotel. Small luxury hotels like The Surrey, Gramercy Park Hotel, and The Mark have partnered with bespoke bicycle companies like Bobbin Bicycles, Martone Cycling Co., and Republic Bike, offering their guests the opportunity to ride these chic cycles during their stay.
For these boutique hotels, the bicycle companies they partner with become an extension of their brand and the design of the hotel. The Mark commissioned Republic Bikes to create a custom bicycle for the hotel which incorporates design elements of the hotel’s lavish interior, such as black and white stripes on the chainguard and basket, and an orange saddle that matches the hotel’s outdoor seating.
When The Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca recently decided to provide bicycles for their guests, with so many companies to choose from, they carefully researched bicycle brands that aligned with the aesthetic and spirit of the hotel. “We had heard about Shinola and the store is just a stones throw away”, explains manager Kai Gilsey. “In reading about the brand, it became clear that they shared a very similar ethos to us. They value handmade craftsmanship, something that is authentic, and understated luxury… all the things that align with The Greenwich Hotel as a brand”.
At their core, the two business share the drive to restore industry in America. While Shinola has a flagship store here, it is a Detroit based company dedicated to reviving the economy of that city and made in America craftsmanship. The Greenwich Hotel is owned by Robert DeNiro, a proud Tribeca resident who founded it in the aftermath of 911 as part of the revitalization of lower Manhattan. The hotel seeks to support local businesses that share the vision of the neighborhood. A bellman escorts guests around the corner to the Shinola store where they are fitted for their bike. With the most beautiful collection of bikes, watches, leather goods, desk accessories and other gift items, along with a fantastic coffee bar and newsstand, it’s a shop they would recommend to their guests anyway.
The usage of these bikes is complimentary. For hotels located near to Central Park or the West Side Highway bike path, one extra definitely worth paying for is a picnic lunch. With chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten at The Mark Restaurant, Cafe Boulud at The Surrey, and Locande Verde at The Greenwich Hotel, guests can ride AND dine in style.
CLOCKWISE TOP LEFT: MARTONE CYCLING CO. AT THE GRAMERCY PARK HOTEL; BOBBIN BICYCLES AT THE SURREY HOTEL; REPUBLIC BICYCLES AT THE MARK; SHINOLA BIXBY AT THE GREENWICH HOTEL