Biking has been a big part of Krista Christophe’s life for nearly a decade, but in the last year even she is a bit surprised at how much she’s learned about bikes.
In 2006, when she was in college in Chicago, Krista got her first bike since junior high from a family whose children she babysat. It was a barely-used Schwinn, and it served her well for three years in the flat, highly bikeable midwestern metropolis. Then someone lifted the Schwinn from her apartment building’s backyard. “When it was stolen, I cried like a baby,” she says.
Soon thereafter, she moved back home to Lubbock, Texas to live with her family. Despite her hometown’s car-centric culture, Krista made a point of biking to work everyday - no small feat across Texas distances on a used Peugeot. “People thought I was a freak for biking to work because everyone drives everywhere,” she recalls. But the climate was hospitable - with barely any snow or heavy rain, she can count on her hands the number of days she didn’t commute by bike over four years living in Lubbock. It soon caught on with coworkers. “I started a bike revolution. By bike revolution, I mean three other people out of two hundred employees also started biking.”
In early summer of 2014, Krista moved to New York. “At the time, I would have said I was really into bikes,” based on years of bike commuting. In mid-August she started working for Redbeard Bikes, building up the shop's website. After hanging out with the owners and mechanics, she realized that when it came to the bikes themselves, she “was an utter and total initiate. A novice."
After soaking up some of the shop knowledge, Krista got her first brand-new bike. It was a Giant Momentum Street. She was struck immediately by the difference. “It fit me way better than the Peugeot - that one I had to jump on to get on. I was amazed at how different it was to ride a bike that’s the right size."
Four months ago, Krista got her second bike because, as she says, “I was ready to step up my ride game. I wanted to take longer rides.” She got a Liv Avail 3 in a striking blue and orange alternating between that on longer rides and the Momentum for commuting. Altogether she bikes between 50 and 100 miles per week, depending on whether she does shop rides.
The Avail has become such a part of Krista’s life that she decided to name it: Avery. She’s most fond of her sixty to ninety minute training rides in Prospect Park. “It’s nimble,” she says. But aside from being a joy to ride, the Avail has other traits to recommend it. “It’s very attractive. People compliment it. It’s ready to go with me.”
Alex Yablon is an NYC based journalist. He writes the for the independent, nonprofit news organization The Trace.
Sam Polcer is an NYC based photographer. He is the author and photographer of the Preferred Mode blog.