My MSNBC Biking Story: Chris Hayes

Here’s an intriguing promo from the cable news network that’s ahead of the pack when it comes to livable streets. MSNBC host Chris Hayes is pitching his show with a foreshortened look at his Brooklyn-to-Rock Center bike commute. You’ll have to forgive the sidewalk riding that bookends the trip.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Bridge bike/ped path, and what appears to be the Henry Street bike lane all make appearances. Looks like a great commute, but I highly recommend that Chris invest in some panniers for his rear rack. Any other tips?

  • Jesse Greene

    I can forgive the sidewalk riding.  It’s just mounting and dismounting.  But taking the Brooklyn bridge?  Unacceptable.

    I like the side-saddle coasting dismount btw.

  • Jesse Greene

    I can forgive the sidewalk riding.  It’s just mounting and dismounting.  But taking the Brooklyn bridge?  Unacceptable.

    I like the side-saddle coasting dismount btw.

  • Albert

    The type of perfectly safe but illegal sidewalk riding Hayes does is virtually identical to what motor vehicles legally do by virtue of their curb cuts, that is, moving from their place of storage to the street and back.  No need to forgive, IMHO.

  • Anonymous

    I may be missing something here, but what’s wrong with taking the Brooklyn Bridge?

  • Clarence Eckerson

    They must have filmed at Brroklyn Bridge at 7 am on a Sunday. Have never seen it that desolate.

  • Matt

    Manhattan bridge is usually a better choice. the brooklyn bridge is usually too busy with pedestrian traffic.

  • vnm

    qrt145 It’s so clogged with pedestrian-tourists as to make cycling ineffective. If cycling with a purpose, the Manhattan Bridge is always the way to go.

  • Anonymous

    I know that the Brooklyn Bridge is often clogged with tourists, but the few times I’ve taken it I didn’t have any problem. It depends on the season, the time, and the weather (not to mention your level of impatience).

    Plus, one thing is saying that choosing the Brooklyn Bridge is inefficient or inconvenient, and quite another is saying that it is “unacceptable”.

    I know there are people who wish that bicycles were not allowed on the bridge, but I’m not sure if that was the intended meaning.

  • fj

    Yes, it is very important that this message is continued and extended to the logical extreme.  Bicycles are early stage net zero mobility solutions even though they’ve been around for a long time.

    More advanced net zero solutions can and will provide complete accessibility to virtually everyone and be much more practical, easy to use, with higher performance than heavy machine transport and even conventional air travel in many instances

  • Not sure Jesse was for real about BB, but early weekday mornings it can actually be pretty pleasant until around 730 or so.

  • fj

    The simple idea is that vehicles that are small and light enough to be easily powered by human power are potentially net zero vehicles with minimal environmental footprints.  Basic and advanced infrastructures supporting these vehicles also have minimal environmental footprints.

    This type of design practice is one of the major critical paths that humanity must take to mitigate and adapt to the rapidly accelerating climate change crisis and must be broadly implemented and deployed at wartime speed.

  • I have been taking the Brooklyn bridge often, usually around 8:30 am.  Perfectly pleasant.  

  • fj

    Kind of nice all you impatient cyclists avoid the Brooklyn Bridge as it’s the best ride in town; sort of like Venice’s Piazza San Marco in the sky.

  • Clarence Eckerson

    Similar shots to the MY NYC Biking Story profile of Steve O’Neil in Brooklyn Bridge Park: 

  • fj

    In any case, the message is about climate change and it’s bizarre and real goofy how the comments here goes elsewhere.

    Bicycles and net zero mobility directly address climate change head on and something we must be doing at wartime speed.

  • Jeff

    @twitter-93223785:disqus  Your obsession with climate change is interesting, but I think your frustration with this blog’s lack of focus is misguided.  Increased bicycle and transit mode-share, combined with a dense, mixed-use urban environment reduces energy consumption, and therefore helps address the crisis of climate change.  Most of what we as livable streets advocates inherently pushes in the right direction as far as climate change is concerned.

    Done.  There’s nothing else to discuss on that front.  The blog focuses on the cultural, ethical, political, economical, health, and yes, even environmental aspects of the livable streets movement because these are not black-and-white issues with a single answer.  Rather, they lead to nuanced, interesting discussions about where our culture is headed, and how the built environment, and the way we traverse that built environment, plays a role.

  • fj


    let’s get this straight:  you’re lack of concern about climate change (en masse) is extremely dangerous, absolutely destructive, and displays an extreme level of ignorance.

    know the facts. know what lies in the very near future. try to know the scale of what is happening.

    know that fema is currently paying for apocalypse-ready retrofits of homes in places like norfolk virginia to stave off costs of major climate disasters which it cannot possibly pay for.

    know that the recent agreement in copenhagen was for the developed world to pay the developing world $100 billion per year by 2020 to deal with climate change and last year (2011) the major flood in thailand cost $45 billion.

    and this is the direct message of the video on this post.  look at it again if you do not understand. and, the messages are becoming much more urgent and frequent.

    read scientific american, nature magazine (about disastrous rapidly approaching environmental tipping points),, go to columbia’s lamont doherty earth observatory and the earth institute and talk to the scientists there.

    the increase in cycling in this city has come from a major concern with climate change as well as many other initiatives in planyc.  this is the purpose of planyc.

    that obama barely mentions climate change now (he did much more before, as did gingrich, bush, the current republican presidential candidate, etc.) is  a result of major political pressure from the from the cash rich mature fossil fuel industry which made $5 trilllion last year, got one-half $trillion in subsidies, has $10-15 trillion invested in infrastructure that cost $1.5 trillion per maintain.

    and, despite its efforts to delay responsible action, the fossil fuel industry also knows it is at serious risks from climate change as is everyone and those in the future for many years to come.

    the facts are chilling and go way beyond what’s just been mentioned.

    it is not about obsession.  it is about a rational sense of survival which is severely lacking in the public at large.

  • TV guy

    Is it not possible that they chose the Brooklyn Bridge simply because it’s more iconic and looks better on camera than the Manhattan Bridge?

  • vnm

    qrt145 I took Jesse Greene’s comment as a joke. This isn’t that serious. 

    TV guy, yes, I’m sure that’s exactly why it was chosen.

  • Anonymous

    He is rolling his bike into 30 Rock.
    Do they really let him bring his bike into the building via the front door!  Wow!

    Directly into the RCA Building?  I’m impressed.

  • fj

     This also speaks to Chris Hayes message using bikes to battle climate change:

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Joins ITDP in New York to Kickoff Rio + 20

    Janette Sadik-Khan followed his remarks with the example of NYC’s new bike share program, which will provide access to 10,000 bikes in 600 locations in New York City, with the first of these opening in July.

  • fj

    Until major public space — called city streets — provides completely safe practical ways for everyone to travel the city, walking, cycling, and other net zero and near net zero mobility solutions will continue to be marginalized as serious transportation solutions.

    And, the heavy Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian traffic which might slow a cyclist crossing by no more than 5 minutes, should not be considered any sort of real inconvenience.

  • fj

    Life is intelligence and virtually the same
    Nature provides everything

    And life is definitely obsessed with survival

    And every person working on transportation with any future must be obsessed with net zero and near net zero mobility solutions sufficient to make worldwide mobility emissions and environmental footprints the absolute minimum.

    The rapidly accelerating climate change crisis demands this.

    That is the story and message of the video embedded in this post.

  • Jesse Greene

    Yes the comment about the Brooklyn bridge was just a joke and I’m sorry if anyone took it the wrong way.  I also apologize for distracting from the discussion of substantive issues by bringing up a silly little nuisance.

    Substantive comment: sustainability (or climate change) is an important (the most important?) reason to embrace the livable streets movement but I doubt it will win many converts.  Climate change is such a politically divisive issue in this country that using that as your argument in favor of more bike lanes or more walkable areas is likely to do more harm than good.  In my experience, the people whose minds you want to change are often put off by the idea that more people should embrace bikes because of climate change.  The payoff is too abstract for them and it makes it seem like riding a bike is a sacrifice when we all know that it’s actually a pleasure.  Besides, you run the risk of hearing something like “yes you’re right we need more electric cars.” And electric cars have almost as many problems as gasoline cars.

    The more persuasive argument for livable streets is that cities are wonderful, and too many cars will ruin that.  Cycling and walking are pleasant and efficient ways to get around that don’t cause the same harm to others that cars cause.  Everyone who wants to cycle and walk and take transit should be able to do so with safety and convenience and we should view that not as a choice but as a human right.  For that reason we shouldn’t allow cars and infrastructure designed solely for their use to monopolize our public space.  

    And sustainability is just a wonderful positive externality.

  • fj

    Jesse Greene,

    Most likely we are pretty much in agreement except that the terrific promise of net zero mobility will drive the benefits you describe once it is truly on the radar screen as an extremely important whole-system  solution just as solar photo voltaics are rapidly becoming.

    It will be a major game changer for the hundreds of millions if not billions moving up from early stage net zero mobility to more advanced methods and many of those same wealthy communities that are first adopters embracing complete streets will see this as an extremely import truly global solution.

    Socio paths only occupy about 1% of the population and a well-informed population will see the terrific benefit to all and that the horrors committed by current system(s) are totally unacceptable. 

    Ultimately there is no escape for anyone from rapidly accelerating climate change and the supposedly clueless but worldly extreme rich know this better than anyone experiencing this first hand and the risk exposure detailed in their board rooms and company’s bottom lines.

  • fj

    An important and very effective survival strategy during emergencies is to work together.

    Climate change is not a controversial issue and it is not a divisive issue. These are flat out lies promoted by the fox news nation and main stream media and no different than the lies about transportation and the ways we should run our streets and cities that make a lot more sense.

    The reasons for these lies are obvious and the facts against them are obvious but when people continue to keep quiet this allows the lies to prevail.

  • fj

    NY Times Slams Romney’s ‘Energy Etch A Sketch’ On Climate, Coal And Clean Energy


  • Anonymous

    @twitter-93223785:disqus , would you kindly refrain from spamming this blog with off-topic posts and links? Half the messages in this thread are from you already.

  • Littlewonger

    I just want to know if Chris Hayes really rides his bike to work every day?

  • panniers are a MUST… but I seriously doubt Chris is riding his bike to work everyday, makes for a nice TV spot, but believability, not so much. Far safer with panniers, but Chris knows what’s best, right?

  • Morgan

    Any idea what kind of bicycle it is? They flash the head badge, but not enough time to identify that it is.

  • Fvjake
  • Sara

    Commuting by bicycle is a great way to commute, enjoy the outside, and get good exercise. I personally found the best commuter bike 2012 in Salt Lake City.

  • Bill F

    Yes…learn how to get off of a bicycle like a guy. You’re not wearing a skirt. And while your at it, get a bike worth riding.


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