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Photograph: Courtesy Jimmy Phillips

Meet NYC’s urban biking Sherpa, who will solve all your cycling needs

Jimmy Phillips, founder of the Domestique, is taking New Yorkers and tourists to the city streets and beyond by bike

Written by
Jordi Lippe-McGraw

We've all heard about the guides that help adventure seekers up major climbs like Mt. Everest and Machu Picchu, but there's one man helping avid cyclists navigate the often unknown biking routes in and around New York City. Jimmy Phillips created The Domestique (taken after the French name of a bicycle racer who works for the benefit of his team and leader), which provides out-of-towners with professional bikes, helmets, food and tailored biking journies, making him the ultimate urban Sherpa.

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"My clients are looking for that once-in-a-lifetime experience of going bike riding in New York," Jimmy tells Time Out New York. "My services are not designed for someone who wants to see the city or have a guided tour; it's focused on fitness for those who are already cyclists, are on holiday, have a nice bike at home, might be in New York for a week and who want to go for a ride. I supply them with a nice bike basically set up to what they ride at home."

An experience with Jimmy can begin one of two ways: either meeting at ARC Athletics (5 Harrison Street) in Tribeca or in his customers' hotel lobby. "People who ride with me have the beauty of putting on their shoes and coming down to the lobby of their hotel and seeing me there with everything they need for an amazing day of riding," he says. "I often get strange looks riding around New York with two bikes, but that's what I'll do for my clients."

From there, Jimmy checks the fit of the bikes, all of which are high-spec BMC carbon road bikes, before heading up the West Side Highway and over the George Washington Bridge. "Exact routes vary depending on the needs and wants of the cyclist," Jimmy notes. "The average ride is around three-and-a-half hours, and we'll often go up River Road in New Jersey to Piermont, Nyack, the Orchards and even all the way up to Bear Mountain if they want. They get a bit of the city riding and also get to see the distance of Manhattan. Many people say to me, 'I can't believe this is available just outside city limits.'"

While a bike ride outside the city is not as treacherous and life threatening as what a traditional Sherpa has to deal with in the Himalayas, this urban Sherpa takes extra care to make sure every need addressed. "I've given clients my jacket; I fix their tires, lend my own personal riding gear so they can continue on and be comfortable, and I point out to the nice coffeeshops and pick up the tab when we stop for a snack," he tells us. "I'm the leader, so you can just sit back and relax."

Only allowing groups of up to six people, Jimmy aims to keep the experience personal. "People tell me it's like riding with a friend at home," he says. "I take the guess work and hard work out of cycling in New York and make it fun."

A tailored journey starts at $300 for three hours and goes up to $500 for a trip up to Bear Mountain. That price includes a full carbon bike, Giro helmet, Garmin 800 GPS, Skratch labs bottle and hydration, Health Warrior chia bars and any snacks along the way. There are discounts for multiple riders.

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