Commuter of the Month:
Occupation: Sales and Repair of Antique and Estate Jewelry
Why did you start commuting in New York City?
I had a car, but I lost my license because I had Vermont registration and New
York plates. So I started using my bike. That was about 30 years ago.
How does the biking measure up against the car?
I can get where I want quickly. It's cheap-you get a bike for $30 or $50 at a
flea market, put $100 into it and you've got a way of getting around. But
there's always parking problems.
What kind of bike do you own?
An 18-speed hybrid. I'd like to get a radical frame bike, I'd love to use it
for commuting and joy-riding over the countryside. I saw one on sale at my
bike shop, so we'll see.
What is your typical riding attire?
I have to meet clients, so I wear suits sometimes. Never jeans or sneakers, I
try to look professional. Even when I had a boy's bike I wore a skirt. I don't
wear a helmet, I just don't like them. I just hope I won't fall and hurt
Describe your daily commute.
Sometimes it's pleasurable, sometimes its hell. I live on 27th St., work in
the Diamond District, and see clients between 65th and 80th Streets. I've had
cab drivers slap me, people spit on me, all kinds of things, but usually it's
pretty cool. If the sun is shining, I feel good and I'm pretty happy to be on
I try to do a lot of meditation, to go to another consciousness. Once, a young
guy in a decrepit Cadillac drove by and yelled, "You're too old to be
riding that bike!" So I turned around, caught up with him and told him
what a sorry car he had. He was shocked, "You rode all the way back to
say that to me? I'm- I'm s-s-sorry!" I chased that pedestrian who spit at
me until she escaped into Madison Square Garden. Nothing and nobody stops me.
I'm out there making a living, not bothering anybody. They need to learn
How do your clients react when you show up to appointments on bike?
They commend me, but they think I'm crazy and have a lot of nerve. I think so,
A few-worst was on 2nd Avenue. A truck hit me. I was dragged, broke four ribs,
had a concussion and was in intensive care. But I got a big insurance
And you still rode after that?
I couldn't wait to get back on the bike.
Do you use your bicycle for recreation?
Sure. I have a NJ Transit Bike Pass, to go riding on the shore. During the
summer I go out to Spring Lake and Long Branch.
What are your favorite NYC cycling haunts?
Riding along the river path on the west side is very pleasant, and it's nice
to go riding when they stop the traffic in Central and Prospect Parks-they
should do that more.
Any ideas for improvements in NYC bicycling?
I don't know what people are thinking. Manhattan is a very small area with
narrow streets. Whoever wants to can come into the city and drive their big
cars, big trucks and buses. It's ridiculous. I'd like to see less traffic in
Manhattan, something more like in China, where you see millions of bicycles
acting as the main way of transporting people. Bicyclists should undergo
training to become ready to ride in the city. People don't realize how
dangerous it can be.
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