Tag Archives: BSNYC

Eben Weiss: Cycling’s Most Famous Snob

Bike Snob Eben Weiss in New York City. Screenshot via Vimeo.

I got off the train and started to jog. I was in Inwood at the very northern end of Manhattan and I was late for my meeting. Given that the man I was holding up has made his name as a scathing critic, I was a little worried. But when I arrived at the Indian Road Cafe, Eben Weiss greeted me at the door and quickly forgave me when he found out I was visiting from a subwayless city. As we waited for our waitress, Weiss explained that the park across the street from us is supposedly where the Dutch bought Manhattan from the Lenape Indians and that the confluence of the Harlem and Hudson Rivers was just around under the Henry Hudson bridge into the Bronx.

Weiss is, of course, Bike Snob NYC. He launched the wildly popular blog in 2007 as an anonymous and acerbic cultural critic, picking apart the booming fixed gear fad, the racing world, and the bike industry with daily posts. In 2010, as a lead up to the publication of his first book, Weiss came out to the world as the Snob. At the time, people wondered if the unveiling would mean the end of the blog. But five years and another two books later, Weiss is still posting daily as one of the most vocal cycling world pundits. Over the course of our lengthy lunch, we talked about the start of his blogging career, his evolution as a bike advocate, the oddities of bike world celebrity, becoming pals with Lance Armstrong, and much more.

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The Enlightened Cyclist: Bike Snob’s Road to Commuter Heaven

Bike commuting is the intersection at which nearly all sub-genres of cyclists meet. There are no doubt people out there for whom bikes are solely a form of recreation or exercise. But, the vast majority of cyclists I know—whether they’re carbon-riding racers, retro-grouchy randonneurs, bureaucratic advocates, or something in between—like to ride their bikes to work or the store or around town whenever it’s possible. As such, commuting provides a common ground for bike riders that might otherwise never see eye-to-eye. We can all relate to the pleasure of a pre-work boost of endorphins, the fun of coasting down a long hill, and the selfish-satisfaction of cruising past a long-line of cars mired in inevitable evening traffic jams. We all know the frustration of getting cut off by a car racing to the next red light, the fear of a close call at the hands of a distracted driver, and the anger of being told to “get off the road.” The Enlightened Cyclist hinges on this collective experience as it explores the past, present, and future of commuting of all types in order to define the road to bike commuter bliss.

Eben Weiss’ (known to most as Bike Snob NYC) second book, The Enlightened Cyclist is modeled after a religious self-help book, albeit with tongue firmly planted in cheek throughout. Weiss’ goal is ostensibly to help all cyclists reach a state of commuter nirvana while using their bike to go about their daily businesses—something he readily admits he has not achieved with complete success. In order to build the case for the advice he offers, Weiss starts by taking the long view of the history of commuting and then draws on his experience as a commuter in New York City to examine the current state of commuting in America.

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