She was just another New Yorker biking across the Brooklyn Bridge on a pleasant summer afternoon. Except let’s get real, she wasn’t just another New Yorker. She was Beyoncé, on her way to the last of her sold-out shows at the Barclays Center on Flatbush Avenue. And when she posted pictures of her trip on two wheels on her Instagram account, people went a little nuts.
"Gets It: Beyoncé Bikes to Barclays" was the headline at Streetsblog, the city’s main source of news about safer streets (where I used to work a few years back). The #bikenyc hashtag on Twitter lit up with excitement. Deputy mayor Howard Wolfson tweeted the news, as did the city’s department of transportation.
A commenter on Streetsblog had this to say: "NYPD: start doing your job. The life you save may be Beyonce's."
As Brad Aaron noted in his Streetsblog post, Beyoncé is no stranger to the bike. In 2009, she told Billboard how much she enjoys riding around on her days off:
It's amazing how I'm able to ride around on a bike. People kind of see it's me but since I'm on a bike, they think, "No, it's not her." And by the time they realize it's me, I'm already gone. It's great to do something normal every day. It keeps me grounded.
She’s not the only star to use a bicycle for transportation – the Miami Heat’s LeBron James rides to practices and games occasionally. Several celebrities have been photographed trying out the New York’s new bike-share system. Dutch actress Famke Janssen is frequently spotted pedaling around New York.
But when it comes to fame, Beyoncé, of course, is in her own category right now, one of the most financially successful and popular entertainers working today. Her husband, Jay-Z, generated a flurry of excitement when he rode the subway to one of his Barclays shows last winter.
But could Beyoncé do something to normalize the idea of biking – biking to work, even? Some 245,000 people liked her Instagram post about her Barclays ride in less than 24 hours. Maybe some of them will want to pedal in her footsteps.