Commuter Profile: Abby Aguirre

Age? 33

Occupation? Features editor, T.: the New York Times style magazine.

Do you ever ride to the office? I do these days, and it’s really nice. I used to work evening shifts in the newsroom, on the foreign and page-one desks, and the hours didn’t really allow for it. I love to people-watch on the subway, but riding is a far more pleasant way to start the day.

What’s your favorite part? I live in south Brooklyn, so I ride over the Brooklyn Bridge or the Manhattan Bridge, then up the West Side Highway bike path. Flying over the Brooklyn Bridge in the early morning, before the foot traffic is nuts—that’s heaven.

Do many of your colleagues ride? Yes, many of the editors at T. ride, including our editor in chief, Sally Singer, and lots of journalists throughout the larger newsroom. There’s always someone on the elevator with a helmet tucked under one arm.

Have you always biked? I have—I grew up in a beach town in California and in the Colorado mountains, then went to college in Portland, Oregon. So biking was inevitable, I suppose.

We’ve noticed that bikes are becoming a staple in the fashion/style world. Any thoughts why? What do you think is responsible for the boom? Probably as a result of messenger-fixie culture spilling over into the mainstream in recent years, and of Dutch- and Danish-style city bikes becoming popular, there are many more frame designs and accessories for aesthetes of all kinds to geek out on. But I would guess the trend is mostly reflective of collective unease about the economy, the environment and our dependence on oil — nothing could be less current than driving around town in a stretch Hummer, in other words.

A few weeks ago, you did a whole urban biking series for T. What was your favorite part? Talking to people involved with bike share programs. They really see firsthand how the prevalence of cycling is tied directly to city planning. If the infrastructure supports it, people will ride. Study after study shows that the more cyclists there are on the road, the safer it feels, the more people will opt to bike. Also, you often hear that the biggest bike share is Paris’s Vélib’ system, but that one isn’t half as big as the 50,000-bike system in Hangzhou, China.

Image courtesy of Andrew Hinderaker

Are you excited for New York’s system to start up this summer? Do you think it’ll change the city? I am! Especially after using the system in Miami Beach for a week last fall—it’s super well run and easily the most convenient way to get around. New York is not Miami Beach, but I think the bike share could make a real impact if enough people use it and if it continues to grow. It would put a lot more bikes on the road and possibly hasten a tipping point of sorts, making converts of people who at the moment find it too dangerous or stressful to do routinely. It may also change the way people commute, since they’ll be able to check out a bike and ride, if not the whole way to work, maybe one leg of the trip.

What kind of bike do you ride? For the better part of the past ten years I rode a 1980s Trek road bike, which was in many ways perfect. I recently upgraded to this Dutch-style bike, by Linus out of Venice Beach, because I wanted something more upright. It’s terrific, a Cadillac by comparison. It’s too beastly to hang in the bike room at work, so I chain it to one of the poles or racks on the street. But never to the rack on 40th closest to the building entrance—that one belongs to the great Bill Cunningham.