Members with benefits: should you become a card-carrying member of the bike lobby?

Even when they aren't handing you free coffee, Transportation Alternatives is handing you something

Even when they aren’t handing you free coffee, Transportation Alternatives is handing you something

One of the weirder parts about Dorothy Rabinowitz’ dementia-laced ranting about Citi Bike was her insistence that an all-powerful “bike lobby” was secretly pulling the strings behind the scenes. We all had a good laugh about it, but there is an organization in favor of transportation options that don’t involve cars: Transportation Alternatives. TA fights for pedestrians, public transportation and yes, cyclists, and right now, they’re holding a membership drive. Membership comes with an awful lot of benefits, so should you part with your paycheck to join up?

Keep in mind joining TA will help fund studies like “Speeding Cars are Murdering All of Us” and free coffee for commuting cyclists. Now, it should be noted that when it comes to member benefits, TA falls firmly in the bike category, but man, you get a ton of benefits. You can join for as little as five dollars per month, and immediately as a gift, you can either get blinky bike lights or a commuter gift pack with a cycling map, canvas bag and cycling laws. We’d take the lights, especially if you bike in godforsaken warehouse areas without streetlights.

Your fancy membership card also gets you a huge amount of bike-related discounts around the city. A $35 coupon off a Kryptonite bike lock, which repels all but the most dedicated thieves. 15% off Red Lantern Bicycles‘ bike care classes and 10% off sweet Vaya bags if you bike to the store. Plus non-bike discounts like 20% and 30% off massage and acupuncture at Slope Wellness and 10% off day passes and gear rental at Brooklyn Boulders if you show up on your bike.

Now, should you do it? Well, we’re clearly not the most impartial when it comes to the bike lobby and its devious schemes, nor when it comes to public transportation. For your $40/year, you’d have to make sure you actually used those discounts to make them worth something, and you’d inevitably get a bunch of emails asking you to “Take action!” on this and “Call your representative!” on that. But, if you buy a new Vaya bag, you’ll save around ten bucks. That, combined with the $35 off a new lock and then saving $3.50 on a day at Brooklyn Boulders, and your membership has more than paid for itself. Plus, you can never put a price on driving old, out-of-touch rich people who hate the Prospect Park West bike lane up a wall.