Commuter Profile: The Qadeer-Dorregaray Family

This month’s commuting clan is a T.A. family twice over. They’re not only card-carrying T.A. members who regularly ride, but also the brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew of our Design Manager. He thinks they’re the cat’s pajamas and we do, too.

Who’s who, and how old are you? I’m Ahmer Qadeer. I’m 35. I’m Milagros Dorregaray. I’m 34. This is Ibrahim. He’s two. And I’m Azucena Qadeer and I’m four.

Before we get started, Azucena, your bike is amazing! Azucena: I like going fast and feeling the wind blow in my hair.

Did you tell her to say that? Ahmer: No.

If you say so…. Where do you live? We live in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.

Where are you from originally? That’s whole-article complicated.

So who started riding first? When? Why? Milagros: I hadn’t ridden since I was a kid, then I bought a bike and re-learned to ride it for the Five Borough Bike Tour. Then we had kids, and I stopped riding until earlier this year.

Ahmer: I always loved riding, but when I moved to New York I was a little tentative about biking. I had plenty of friends who rode; one started a women’s bike gang and some were bike messengers, but I always thought of riding in the city as a risky activity. A couple of times I went to Kissena to ride at the track, but basically I limited my riding to the Five Borough Bike Tour and weekends in the park.

Then what happened? Milagros: I got a folding bike, which reminded me that I love riding and it fit in the house along with the toys, strollers and other kids’ things, and suddenly I was using it to get around, to go to work and to go for leisurely rides. Then Ahmer started commuting by bike and taking the kids for rides in the bike seat. We just borrowed a bike trailer from some friends and took the kids on a loop around the park with it.

Is riding as a family different? Ahmer: Riding together makes the destination a little less important and the biking more of the real focus. We just went to Coney Island along Ocean Parkway and had dinner on the boardwalk. It was magical from start to finish. And Azucena is just learning to ride so she and I take rides around the neighborhood together, which is incredible.

With all the changes over the past couple years, has it become safer to ride together? Milagros: It is definitely safer to ride. All the bike lanes make a huge difference. It makes me a lot more comfortable riding with the kids.

Ahmer: I love riding in the city and the bike lanes are a great help. They make riding feel a lot more comfortable and less like a scene from Quicksilver.

Nice reference! If you could change one thing about the streets and paths you bike on, what would it be? Milagros: More bike lanes! The improvements are great and the city is getting a lot more pedestrian and bike friendly, but it could be even better. Each improvement just seems to draw more and more people to riding. The more accommodations there are the more people will ride.