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Hudson Urban Bicycles storefront in NYC - leadHudson Urban Bicycles storefront in NYC's West Village
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George Bliss, owner of Hudson Urban BicyclesGeorge Bliss, owner of Hudson Urban Bicycles
Nestled away in New York City’s West Village, Hudson Urban Bicycles (HUB), the creation of owner George Bliss, is a shop with a mission to change the way New Yorkers view cycling. “Cycling culture is hated in New York,” Bliss said. “It scares people from ever even getting on a bike.” At HUB, Bliss and his staff are out to change that perception by creating a welcoming atmosphere and selling only practical bicycles.
HUB was started with a very specific goal in mind – to create a new paradigm for biking in New York and America. Bliss would like to see Manhattan’s perception of cycling get turned on its head, transforming the city to a place where upright bicycles are the mainstream, people wear their office or street clothes to ride, and where the average person will see cycling as a viable and realistic way to get around town. Bliss expressly wants to shatter the notion that cycling is “renegade or juvenile,” and instead make it “desirable, even glamorous.”
Bliss is out to prove that a bicycle shop can be profitable selling only practical, comfortable upright bicycles. To that end HUB deals exclusively in well-outfitted upright bikes that will get you around town and make you look good while doing it. Bliss said he would rather sell an inexpensive and stylish European 3-speed than a costly and inappropriate race bike any day. His dedication to practical cycling options for everyday people is often what sets HUB apart from other bike shops in New York. Similarly, Bliss hopes that by sharing his philosophy – that biking is for everyone – his shop will help get more people on bikes in the city.
The retail space occupied by HUB also makes it a unique shop. The large indoor/ outdoor location is a rarity in a city where space is often at a premium. The shop runs completely off the grid, meaning that rainwater is collected for personal use, propane heaters provide heat in the winter, and power comes from a small Honda generator. Efficient lighting and not having an air compressor keep energy needs at a minimum. Art and plants hang from the walls and while there is an impressive fleet of bicycles on the floor, HUB is the intentional opposite of the average Manhattan bike boutique. Bliss has gone out of his way to make people feel comfortable here. He said that the last thing he wants is the typical, macho sportsman selling an expensive and impractical bike to a new cyclist. By hiring only women to work as sales staff, Bliss hopes to make cycling, and the shop, feel more welcoming. And this approachable style works. According to Bliss, up to 70 percent of his customers are women, and plenty of families with children come looking for bikes here as well.
So, how do you change a city’s distaste for cycling culture beyond selling practical bikes? Bliss has a plan for HUB to become as much of a community space as it is a bicycle shop. He imagines a place where children can play and learn to ride and where farmers markets, with produce delivered on cargo bikes, can be held. Hopefully one day we will see his vision come true.
139 Charles St. at Washington,
West Village, New York, NY 10014
Achielle, Batavus, Biomega, Biria, Linus, Cooper, Montego, Pilen, Puma, Swift Folder, VanMoof, Velorbis
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