We set off to take over the streets of New York with our friends from Cyclones. Biking made social: monthly rides, special destinations, after-partying…all mixed up with a special vibe that sets the tone for a community doing much more than just ride.
We sat down with Jesse Israel and Lauren Bille, the ones responsible for making this (and much more) happen, to talk about their projects and get to know them better.
Hi guys! First of all big thanks for such a warm welcome and congratulations on all you guys are pulling out! How did this all start?
Jesse: A few things that started as cool ideas for friends have lead to the communities that exist today. The way I see these communities is just as permissions: creating situations/reasons for people to get together and interact.
The first cyclones ride happened because I emailed a few friends for a group bike ride thinking it would be a fun idea. A group of 20 of us rode out to Coney Island and the roller coaster on the boardwalk is called the Cyclone and that was the inspiration for the name.
And how did that lead to medi club?
Jesse: I wanted to find a way to have a group get together in the winter when it is too cold to ride outside with Cyclones in NYC. My friend Yuvi had a loft in soho and meditation was something that I was already in to and wanted to share with friends. We put it together and the first mediclub was 35 people.
It’s inspiring to see how this has grown. Over 100 people take part in each Medi Club nowadays and the The Big Quiet has a huge following (more than 1.000 people signed up in less than 48 hours for a mass meditation inside the Oculus last month). We guess this growth makes it essential to have someone like Lauren by your side. How did you start working together and how do you feel you two compliment each other?
Lauren: I used to work for lululemon and was helping develop the lifestyle side of the men's brand. I googled "mindful entrepreneur nyc" and an article with something about Jesse Israel came up. I cold called emailed him, the title of the email was "we were meant to meet". He invited me to Medi Club and the Big Quiet. I went to both. Immediately when I met him, I felt like friend. He has this way of making people feel comfortable and important.
I think we compliment each other because we have similar taste in culture, design, way of life and life purpose. But we bring different energies to the table. I seem to ground him. He challenges me, seriously in every way. We both love to laugh and have fun. And we both love to bring people together. We are both serious about meditation and well being while also enjoying our "modern" lifestyle in NYC. He's a saavy business man, I'm learning a lot in that arena. I have a huge heart and bring that to our business.
We totally feel that! You two are amazing at bringing people together and do it with style. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspires you in fashion?
Lauren: I am inspired by men's fashion, fashion of the past, timelessness, simplicity, minimalism, having fewer better things, angles, fit. Jesse is inspired by clean, simple, minimal, design.
Definitely love to hear that! In Longway we truly believe in this: less is more, we like it raw. Besides that, you know we stand for the Longway Home: stepping out of your comfort zone to grow and find a community of people to create things with. We always like to ask about a time you took the Longway yourselves.
Jesse: I truly stand for the Longway. In the US we are raised to take shortcuts to happiness and I have always enjoyed breaking the mold. I built a successful record label (Cantora) and had an amazing team and incredible place and I left because my heart wasn't in it. I took the leap in to my own Longway journey with no clear path or direction in to where I was going.
And we see you’ve found your journey and are really making an effort to welcome people on it! What keeps you up at night these days?
Lauren: how to make sure i'm staying in my power and using my talents, my voice and my ability to learn in our work.
Jesse: our expansion plan, how to spread what we're doing to millions of people.
This is why we love you guys! Thank you for sharing your time and experience with us. We hope to contribute to spread this feeling all the way!
Find out more about Cyclones and Medi Club and the amazing community behind them.