Fall 2001, p.21

Volunteer Profile: John Wright

Age: 66
Neighborhood: Flatbush, Brooklyn
Occupation: Social Worker, retired
T.A. member since: 1994
Volunteer activities: NYC Century route clean up, marking, and marshaling; volunteer night mailing parties; T.A. office shelf building.
Explain your involvement with the NYC Century?
I rode my first NYC Century in 1994. I saw the flyer in my local bike shop and felt I was ready for the 55-mile route. When I got to the start I left with the 100-milers instead. That ride took me 13 hours! Riding the tour gave me a great amount of (cycling) confidence and showed me places in the city I had never seen before. I was hooked and decided to join T.A. and get more involved with cycling in NYC.
How do you feel about the ride now (so many years later)?
The purpose of the Century intrigues me. The ride uses open streets, park paths, and bike lanes and shows people that the outdoors is accessible and safe to cycle in.
Tell us about your trail clean-up efforts.
Last year I got together with T.A. volunteer Robert Eberwein to clear the sand and shells off the Shore Parkway path to get ready for the tour (from Plumb Beach to Canarsie Pier, about 3 miles). This year I wanted to involve Gateway National Recreation Area to enlist and sustain their help in maintaining this path. I visited the site manager for the area and asked for their help. They were delighted to help us and gave us brooms, bags, and shovels to use. I followed the same model in Forest Park. On a NYC Century pre-ride we discovered a black pole in a dark tunnel. I got in touch with the site manager and explained that this pole needed to be painted yellow so it would be visible. Once again they were glad to help and thankful that we had put so much thought into the well being of the trail users. I am hoping that this idea of working with various agencies can grow so that the trails can be properly maintained. Clean paths will encourage cycling, and make the parks more accessible. Our willingness to help (as volunteers) shows that there is interest in keeping these trails clean and inspires these agencies to make it a normal activity.
You have been a T.A. member for long time. What is your favorite T.A. component?
T.A. has a wonderful and effective magazine. People are surprised at how influential T.A. is given that we only have 5000 members. It is nice to see T.A. quoted so often in the mass media with respect to traffic issues. Direct member participation in various elements helps maintain this strong voice.