Meet the guides:
One of our greatest assets is our team of guides. They have the knowledge, experience, and professionalism necessary to provide you with a unique opportunity, and to ensure that you have a great time with us.
Here they are:
In his twelfth year with Bike the Big Apple
Jesse comes to the Big Apple from Maryland. While a student at St. Marys College in Maryland, he was selected to attend a soccer camp in England. He played briefly for Oldhams youth team, but eventually came home - our gain, England's loss! Back at college, he researched the history of the bicycle as part of his history major, completing an award-winning paper entitled: How the Bicycle Paved the Way for The Automobile Age. He spent his college summers bike messengering, and upon graduating, moved to NYC. Here, he continued his bike messengering and his hands-on experimentation with one of the worlds most exciting and prolific inventions. Jesse has biked throughout the United States, as well as Spain, the Domican Republic, Germany, Holland, Denmark, and India. On his recent trip to India, he combined two of his passions-- biking & yoga-- while exploring one of the most culturally diverse and historically fascinating places on earth (second perhaps only to New York). In an article in the Courier Mail of Brisbane, Australia, he was described as a bright young guide who retains his enthusiasm even though he has done tours many times before. Jesse loves exploring the ever-surprising Big Apple, while simultaneously sharing it with adventurous and curious travelers like yourself!
In his thirteenth year with Bike the Big Apple
Marc, a second-generation member of the crew, has been doing rides with the company since 2003. For a few years, his time was split between bike tours and his other career as an engineer. He commuted to the office by bicycle year-round. In doing so during the winter months, he learned the often-underappreciated value of a good, thick beard. In 2008, he escaped his indoor world of engineering to focus on his passions — cycling and New York! Marc has toured extensively through rainy Flanders, the rainy Netherlands, suprisingly rainy California, and — of course — the always dry, sunny and lovely greater New York area. Less extensively, he has pedaled through the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Ottawa, and Montreal. If you're very lucky, on one of his tours, you may be exposed to another one of his passions, singing.
In his fourteenth year with Bike the Big Apple
Richard, a native of Brooklyn, is also a retired New York City public high school teacher. He taught Spanish and English as a Second Language. Richard's specialty is charming his way into places that amaze the most adventurous New Yorkers. Whether it's a bean sprout farm in Chinatown, or a clothing factory that makes sweaters for birds, Richard's 24/7 explorations will give you a sense of this city "down to the core" of the Big Apple. Besides riding here, Richard has ridden across the US, through Europe, China, Australia, and Latin America. He has also pedaled from New York to Alaska, a total of 6,300 miles (10,000 kms). Richard teaches bike safety to New York City students and does teacher training for language teachers in the US and China, spending a couple of weeks each summer in Beijing. He recently appeared on Japanese television (NTVIC) as part of a news special, as he led the Secret Streets tour!
In his eleventh year with Bike the Big Apple
Born in rural Austria to parents whose courtship depended in no small part on a bicycle - father's Volkswagen beetle was still several years in the future - Johannes still recounts with a moist eye those years of childhood bliss spinning his first hand-me-down wheels. Neither countless crashes on gravel roads, nor the fact that biking on the family farm always felt uphill both ways, could sour his love for the bicycle, though this attachment could get severely tested by strong and steady headwinds, like the ones one encounters when going the wrong way on the incomparably beautiful Donauufer (Danube banks) bikeway. Johannes studied Cultural Anthropology in Vienna but in 1992 he traded the rolling hills of the Vienna Woods for a life and wife in Gotham City. On this side of the Atlantic he had to bide his time working in the office of a law firm for seven years before the doctors diagnosed restless legs; it was time to saddle up again. He signed up with BTBA in 2005 and only old age shall pry him from his handlebars ever again. When he is not cycling under the banner of BTBA, Johannes explores the Asphalt Jungle from a slightly different vantage point: as rooftop gardener from the green oases perched up high on the luxury apartment buildings where red-tailed hawks dare....
In his eleventh year with Bike the Big Apple
Levi moved to Manhattan in 2003, and has been hanging onto his rent-controlled East Village apartment for dear life ever since. Over that time period he has had 10 different roommates (11 counting his dog, Frita). His hobbies include: carpentry, problem solving, home and clothing repair, dog-grooming, basketball, watching the New York Mets, cooking extravagant meals, model fabrication, buying fish and produce in Chinatown, ironing out logistical nightmares, and of course cycling. His urban cycling is split between the laid back pace of Bike The Big Apple tours, and the frenetic cadence of a Manhattan bike messenger, a position he has held off and on for eight years. As a bike messenger, Levi has developed a love for: knowing the exact location of every possible street address in Manhattan, locking and unlocking his bike very quickly, exploring for new restrooms, and being able to complete a crossword puzzle done entirely in elevators and reception areas. He spent all of 2007 applying to law schools, only to decide in 2008 that law school was not for him. This indecisiveness stemmed from his love for a good argument mixed with his extreme fear of sitting at a desk and being indoors all day. It is unclear what the future holds for Levi, but at the moment he strives to be the best New York City tour guide he can be.
In his eighth year with Bike the Big Apple
Max was born and raised in Manhattan's Morningside Heights, although he currently resides in Brooklyn. Ever since his building's superintendent dug an old bike out of the basement for him when he was a lad, he has been exploring New York's avenues and gutters on two wheels. Max has bicycled the west coast of the United States, chunks of Europe, the Caribbean, as well as every single street in the Bronx. After graduating from the prestigious University of Chicago, he used to work researching alternative transportation options for New York City at a non-profit - before realizing that a desk, even the coolest, most fun desk, was not for him. Now he occupies his non-touring as a professional paramedic (he's never needed to use those skills on a tour!), which allows him to explore the city in another mode. New York City has him by the wheels, and he looks forward to rolling with you!
In his eighth year with Bike the Big Apple
Manny has seen the streets of New York from top to bottom - literally! For his very first job, he worked as a subway conductor for the Metropolitan Transit Authority, traveling beneath the very city he now cycles through. A native New Yorker, born in Manhattan and raised in Queens, Manny is, however, no novice to biking in New York, having spent many a day of his youth on a bike. In addition to his tours for Bike the Big Apple, he works as a reference librarian at Queens College with a specialization in Spanish language and literature. (Don't worry, he won't tell you to shush on a tour!) His own Spanish heritage runs many generations until his father emigrated from Spain to the U.S. via Cuba. Manny himself lived and studied in Spain for two years during the controversial Generalissimo Francisco Franco era. He is also proud of his cycling heritage! In addition to Spain, he has bicycled through Portugal, Poland, France, Italy, Germany, England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and do not forget Luxembourg- small but hilly! From his travels across to Europe to those underground, Manny has loads of stories and secrets to share with you!
In his eighth year with Bike the Big Apple
A Parisian native, George, made his home in the New York islands in 2003, studying geography and residing in almost every borough of New York City (including aboard his sailboat) before settling in Queens with his lovely wife and cat. As an urban explorer and restless vagabond, George has spent the past decade navigating the streets and waterways of the Big Apple by bicycle and by boat, but his voyages have taken him as far as Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, cycling 2,000 miles (3,200 km) in the world's largest temperate rainforest, and on his own personal Tour de France following the trace of his Huguenot ancestors. In the offseason, Captain George organizes sailing vacations around the world, and when he is not busy biking or sailing, he volunteers with local organizations and cooperatives that promote environmental protection, alternative energy, and urban sustainability. He was recently involved in a project designing and building bicycle generators for household electricity. George loves to experience the life of the city and he is delighted to show you around the block!
In her fourth year with Bike the Big Apple
Erin grew up in Pennsylvania and moved to New York City in 2005 to attend college. New York City blew her away so badly that she had no choice but to make it her permanent home. Erin has taken advantage of the immensely diverse opportunities the city has to offer by working an array of jobs including (in no particular order): chocolate maker, photographer, assistant bike mechanic, Bike the Big Apple sweep, photo technician, and currently an archivist. She now lives in Brooklyn where she spends her days off exploring the ever changing city and eating the varied and delicious food to be found there. She strives to learn new things everyday while doing one of her favorite things in the world: riding a bicycle.
In his fourth year with Bike the Big Apple
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Ray, believes that no visit to New York is complete without a trip to his part of town. After a 4-year stint studying Geology in rural Minnesota (and 7 months studying Spanish in Mexico), Ray returned to New York and began begrudgingly learning about Manhattan in order to become a more thorough tour guide. Today he will happily show you around the whole city but then will undoubtedly subject you to a vote on borough superiority. When he's not cruising around on 2 wheels he works with students, tutoring math and Spanish during the year and working at a sleepaway camp in New Hampshire during the summer. Other than Queens's Jamaica Bay, the most exotic places Ray has biked include Ireland, Spain, and Mexico where he would dodge pickups and buses past cornfields on his way to and from his university.
Hall of Fame:
Joel (1944-2008), who founded the company in 2001, led hundreds of bike tours all over New York City and beyond. He was a native New Yorker, who left the Big Apple only to pursue a degree in law at the University of Chicago. Rather than practice law, he taught Constitutional Law for decades at a highly competitive public high school in the Bronx. He even commuted to work year-round by bicycle! He had the personality and communication skills too, having been named Teacher of the Year at his school in 1995 and the top law-related educator in New York State in 1996 by a committee of the New York State Bar Association. In an article in the weekly New York Resident newspaper, he was described as "the consummate guide, part borscht-belt emcee, part social studies teacher, knowledgeable, and radiating real New York attitude and energy." Joel's legacy - a love of cycling and a passion for showing people the city that formed him and his ambitions - lives on through Bike the Big Apple.
With Bike the Big Apple from 2004 through 2011
Pat worked as a bike messenger for several years on his home turf of Washington D.C. and in New York City; his humility and curiousity turned a back-breaking job into a dream occupation. In New York, he earned a Master's degree in English Literature, and started teaching on the university level, while working as bike-guide-extraordinaire for Bike the Big Apple. He enjoys writing and reading poetry about and throughout his diverse and intriguing citie. He has toured the west of Ireland, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Long Island on extensive bicycle trips. On one memorable adventure, he and Levi towed their dog, Frita, from NYC up to the Canadian border with their bikes. It was an inspirational and eye-opening experience for the New York puppy. His bicycle, Gibco (a 1985 Bianchi), has logged over 30,000 miles and is well-known to hot-dog vendors and dumpling houses across Manhattan and Brooklyn. In 2011, with tears in our eyes, we had to watch Pat leave New York for Washington, DC to pursue his PhD. Will he return to us as Dr. Pat?
Come join us for a unique tour! Find out yourself why many of our customers exclaim, “Who would've thought biking in NYC would be the high point of a city visit?”