Welcome to our new interview series "Meet The Riders", where we'll be talking with the most devoted halfbikers about the sport that unites us all and how life has changed since joining the community.
Our first interviewee is Joel - Halfbikes's NYC ambassador. If you're in the area, feel free to contact
him for a test-ride and he'll make sure to show you the ins and outs of the Halfbike :)
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself (job, hobbies, etc.) . Where are you from?
I’m an industrial designer living in a typical small apartment in NYC. Growing up in Fargo, ND, I developed a love of year-round outdoor sports and activities with all the wide available space there.
You wouldn’t think it but there are a lot of possible outdoor activities here in NYC, too, and I still love outdoor activities. My biggest passion is sailing and I do it often from lower Manhattan. I also enjoy our redeveloped waterfront parks quite a bit. It’s where I run, walk, and generally escape from the noise of the urban landscape. It’s a great place to Halfbike, too!
2. How did you hear about Halfbike? What made you commit to this new sport? What's your favorite thing about it?
I first saw the Halfbike in an ad on a sidebar while browsing online and it caught my eye. Since I’m a designer the look and movement was immediately interesting and I had to see what it was about.
It was pretty clear, after watching videos, that the fun factor looked as appealing as the size (to fit in my apartment). Coincidentally, I was looking for a new way to get exercise as my knees aren’t as good as they used to be. So I bought it thinking it would be a great way to get to my sailing club and have both fun and exercise along the way.
Strangely, when I read about the learning curve on the website, it made me even more curious. I thought if there’s something different about the technique of riding then it could be cool to try and an interesting challenge. That's probably the designer side of me coming out.
True to the learning curve graph, it took me a few days to get comfortable and nearly a week to really feel like I could ride well. I took it as a challenge to keep improving everyday (kind of like learning skiing) and after that week, I loved it. The technique was fun, interesting, and made me want to keep riding and practicing and playing around.
My favorite thing is that it’s fun enough to make me want to ride a lot! That gets me out exercising more than I used to and since it fits into my apartment so easily it’s really convenient.
3. How did your commute/habits change since you got on a Halfbike? How did it look before that?
I work from home so it didn’t change my commute but now I take time during the day for a riding break and will often go for a lunch or mid-afternoon ride to clear my thoughts and get my body moving. It helps me get back to work for the rest of the day with more focus and energy.
I’ve also changed how I spend some of my Saturdays doing longer exploratory rides in NYC. I can take the bike on the subway easily and then ride around different parts of the city. That’s something I never used to do before.
4. Anything else? (add anything you'd like to say)
It has helped me prepare for running casual 5k races with my mom. She started running at the age of 72 and convinced me to join her in local community races. I can now run those races faster by cross training on the Halfbike. It’s helped strengthen my knees and get me in better shape!
Since I ride a fair amount in my neighborhood in NYC, a lot of people have stopped to ask questions and due to that I’ve met a bunch of people with cool bikes, unicycles, or other modes of slightly unusual transportation. It has grown a community of people I would never have known or had the chance to meet.