Austin Augie’s Guide to Catching a Free Ride on a New York City Cab

By
Photography Janette Beckman
Stylist Malaika Crawford

Published April 10, 2020

Tank Top and Socks by Hanes. Pants by Marni. Necklace Austin’s Own. Shoes by Converse.

When he’s not modeling for labels such as Michael Kors and Bulgari, Austin Aughinbaugh is flouting the laws of physics as a professional BMX rider. The Indiana native, who bought his first bike after selling his Xbox at a garage sale, has made the globe into his own personal obstacle course, whether he’s bunny-hopping in Bangkok or handrailing in Harlem. Known as Austin Augie to the subscribers of his popular YouTube channel, the 27-year-old New Yorker can do just about anything on two wheels, including riding a taxi.

———

STEP 1:

“Cop a BMX. Your Citi Bike rentals or trendy fixies won’t work, and could be dangerous. You want to be lower to the ground, which is key to staying out of sight of the unsuspecting driver. You’ll also look cooler.”

———

STEP 2:

“Find a long street. You don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way for a quick two-block commute. Broadway is great if you’re headed downtown. I once hitched an 80-block ride on that street. The taxi driver loved me. If you’re going uptown, Park Avenue is the one.”

———

STEP 3:

“Scan for police. This is a simple yet crucial step in a successful trip. Find a stoplight with plenty of taxis, but with absolutely zero cops.”

———

STEP 4:

“Be patient. Once you’ve scoped out your cab on the street of your choosing, wait. When the light turns green, start pedaling. Do not grab the car right out of the gate. Get a feel for the driver. Gauge his aggression. An angry cab driver eager to get to his next fare has the potential to tear your arm off.”

———

STEP 5:

“Go with the flow. As your ride pulls away, try to match your speed with theirs. You only have about three seconds before the gas-powered machine outperforms your two-wheeled friend. Once it feels safe-ish to do so, take one hand off your handlebars and grab onto a piece of the car (usually a window or a door handle).”

———

STEP 6:

“Hang on for dear life. Keep an eye out for sudden stops, potholes, and, most of all, cops. A broken arm isn’t as bad as a rap sheet. Also, if you’ve got the skill for it, try to keep one eye on the driver. (You can usually see them through the side-view mirror on the passenger side.) You’re looking for signs of distress, frustration, or raw anger. It’s all in the eyes.”

———

STEP 7:

“Get off. You’ll need to figure out a time to disembark. If you’ve made it this far without a concussion—always wear a helmet, by the way—this is the easiest of all the steps. Just let go.”

———

PLEASE DON’T ACTUALLY DO THIS. SERIOUSLY.

———

Hair: Rubi Jones using Amika at Julian Watson Agency.
Makeup: Caoilfhionn Gifford at Streeters.
Fashion Assistant: Imaan Sayed.
Hair Assistant: Lara Barney.