A few years ago Dmitry Gudkov started riding a bike for transportation in New York, and it improved his life tremendously. New York is really a wonderful place for biking, he tells us. It’s often faster than taking the subway, and you can discover parts of the city you wouldn’t normally see. He fell in love with the freedom that his bike gave him: "It was a freedom that you often don’t have in New York, where you’re always depending on a train or bus schedule to get somewhere."
Dmitry didn’t know many other cyclists in the city, and became curious about the other people riding their bikes on the streets and bridges around him. "I was looking to start a photo series, so in February 2010 I got the idea to photograph New Yorkers with their bike and also write a short profile of each rider. Different people have different reasons for riding, and sometimes a person’s bike can tell you a lot about the rider. I called my project #BikeNYC, which is the Twitter hashtag for discussing biking in New York, and I found my first portrait subjects on Twitter. Recently I have also been taking portraits of cyclists I encounter on the street, which has helped me capture a greater diversity of people and stories."
Dmitry tells us that there are a lot of discussions and controversy about expanding bike lanes right now in New York, and opponents of this like to dismiss all bike riders by lumping them into one or two stereotypes: "Either you’re a spandex-wearing roadie, or else a trendy, entitled hipster. I hope that my project, by showing the great diversity of normal people using a bike for transportation, can be a small help in showing that bikes are a legitimate and needed form of transportation, and that the city has an interest in promoting biking and making it safer for everyone."
Thanks you, Dmitry, for sharing the story of your #BikeNYC project with us!
If you like Dmitry’s work, you may also enjoy the other photography in the #BikeNYC group or photos from all around the Flickrverse tagged with BikeNYC.