Steven Rea is the movie critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer and author of Hollywood Rides a Bike, a photograph collection of classic movie stars on bicycles. Steve has been a customer of our original cafe from literally day one. He says he would peek in the cafe while JP and Todd were constructing it. If he wasn’t at the cafe on the opening day it was for sure that he was on the first week. He has been a regular ever since and even visits our Manhattan cafes when he is working in New York.
Steve has loved English bicycles since he was a kid growing up in Manhattan. The first time he rode his bike was when his dad let him down a hill in Central Park. The momentum kept him upright and this was how he learned to ride. He would spend weekend mornings riding through Manhattan streets, ending up on the Staten Island ferry. Steve moved to California for college and spent some time in Los Angeles after college working as a freelance music writer. Life brought him to Philadelphia in the early eighties where he quickly discovered that Philadelphia was a perfect city for bicycle riding.
Steve got his first couple collectable English bicycles at the Great British Bike Weekend in Philadelphia. The GBBW was a gathering organized by Philadelphia’s Trophy bike shop, it was “Three days for English three-speeds”. These gatherings featured group rides, repair workshops, a swap meet and infamous pub crawl. These weekends were inspiration for Steve to get serious about collecting and learning more about these classic bicycles.
While he was still living in California, Steve picked up the first photograph featuring a movie star and bicycle from a shop on Hollywood Boulevard that specializes in collectible 8 x 10 head shots and movie stills. Over the years he found a couple other random movie stars on a bicycle photographs and when he decided to start his now internet famous blog, ridesabike.tumblr.com, he only had about 8 photos. Steve started with a simple blog because he was not that tech savvy but had a real drive to get these images out into the world somehow. Seemingly over night Steve’s blog had hundreds of followers and he was getting messages from all over the world. The response drove Steve to take this collecting seriously and with the help of his new internet friends he was able to track down over 400 photographs of stars on bicycles. Steve is also gathering photos of stars and pets, which is turning into an interesting collection.
Through his website Steve was able to find a publisher for a book of this collection of images, it was released earlier this year. Steve went on a book tour to promote the book, speaking and giving a slide show are various bike and book shops. At a book tour stop at Adeline Adeline bike shop in Manhattan, Steve connected with an old friend who suggested that they turn the book into a ipad app to further continue the project. The app has just been released and it turned out fantastic. Take a look here.