Summer 2000, p.19

Eight Million Commuters In This Town; Here Are Four of Their Stories…
The following four bike commuters have a fresh perspective on bike commuting, getting started, and tips for other novice commuters

Mike Rahal
Occupation: Intern with Sam Schwartz Co.
Commute: 22nd St. and Third Avenue to Broadway and Houston.
Started: May 1999
Why do you bike to work?

I didn't want to walk to work because it takes too long and I didn't want to take the train because of the money.
What's the best part of biking to work?
It's convenient, cheap, and it's fast.
What's the worst part of riding to work?
The danger…the possibility of getting doored.
How would you convince a friend to start commuting by bike?
Actually, I did that last week. I got one of my roommates to start riding to work by going out to Queens and getting my brother's bike for him to use. It was actually pretty easy.
Any tips for new commuters?
It's always important to focus, to pay attention and listen carefully. You have to be aware of the traffic to the left, to the right, behind you… Don't ride recklessly and maintain a decent pace.

Rhonda Smith
Occupation: Products Development Manager at GORP.com
Commute: 102nd between West End and Riverside to 19th between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Started: Bike Week Commuter Challenge.
Why do you bike to work?
Initially, it was the Commuter Challenge that got me into it, but I love to ride-it's a great alternative. It beats being squished into a subway, and it's less expensive that a cab.
What's the best part of biking to work?
The best is getting outside and doing something active.
What's the worst part of biking to work?
The worst is the traffic and the smog. Another deterrent is it requires I get everything organized the night before in a backpack and take a shower at my gym.
How would you get a friend to start commuting by bike?
I'd ask them if they would want to meet up and go together. Doing it with someone else takes the fear out of doing something new.
Any tips for new commuters?
Don't get too scared that you don't do it. It can be a lot of fun.

Sheila Resari
Occupation: Producer at GORP.com
Commute: 107th Street on the West Side to 19th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Started: Bike Week Commuter Challenge
Why do you bike to work?
It is a nice alternative in the summertime to being on the subway. Another worker in my office who knows a lot about bikes really gave me the encouragement that I needed to start. It also helped that he could tell me how to fix up my bike so that it would actually ride well.
What's the best part of biking to work?
It's faster, which is strange since it's such a long ride and better then waiting on an oven hot subway platform for a crowded train.
What's the worst part of biking to work?
The danger factor, the fact that you have to plan a little more and that you'll come into work a little bit sweaty.
Any tips for new commuters?
Knowing what to expect is definitely key, like knowing which side of the street to ride on. It makes a difference when you get to Broadway and 7th Avenue and you have to navigate between cars and pedestrians.

Mark Granger
Occupation: Project Manager with the Superfund Project at the EPA
Commute: Washington Heights (181st Street) to Federal Plaza on Broadway.
Started: Bike Week Commuter Challenge.
Why do you bike to work?
I like going to the gym but I kind of think of Stairmasters and treadmills as hamster wheels. So, when Bike Week came along, I said, "I'm going to give this a shot, it seems like a real adventure."
What's the best part of biking to work?
I've been working here ten years and I've been taking trains for ten years, and there's nothing that beats the perspective of the City that you get from riding.
What's the worst part of biking to work?
Coming home, the hill at 180th Street is a killer. The only other downside is the traffic.
How would you convince a friend to start commuting by bike?
I would say that it's an awesome thing. It's not a commute-it's an adventure.
Any tips for new commuters?
Wear your helmet and be alert.

Read more commuter profiles.