Winter 2002, p.23

Commuter Profile: Officer Tom Bluenke

Neighborhood: Staten Island
Occupation: NYC Corrections Officer at 100 Centre Street
T.A. member since: At least 1999
How long commuting by bike? I started commuting by bike when I was assigned to the court system nine years ago. Before that, I had started biking in general in 1988 to lose weight and get back into shape. When I began, I told my father that I had spent $2000 on a bicycle. He was surprised because, when I was nineteen, he told me that I should be more concerned with bikes than cars. But, because I was thirty then, he thought that I should be more concerned about cars than bikes. But, I'm a bicycle junky.
What's your route? In Staten Island, I take South Railroad to Highland Boulevard to Bay Street right into the third Staten Island ferry terminal. Once I'm in Manhattan, I take Front Street to the Centre Street Ramp to Pearl Street down to Worth and then to Centre Street. 45 min. + 12 min. And, yes, I ride at night-with lights.
Why commute by bike? I just find it to be more convenient because, among other things, you don't have to worry about train delays. Also, I find that if I have a problem with the bike-which I occasionally do-it's usually only a flat tire. I'm now responsible for getting a few other corrections officers at work to bike commute.
Equipment: I have a number of bikes, but I usually commute on a Trek 7600. I tend to buy cycling gear for whatever time of year it is. The only bad habit I have is that I don't wear a helmet.
How do you park your bike? I bring it inside the court building and put it at the back of the employee lounge room.
Bikes Stolen? I used to park my bikes outside the courthouse, but I had to stop because one of my bikes was stolen.
What has the commuting experience been like so far? It's great. It's a stress reliever. I don't have to worry about train schedules and I save three dollars a day.
Do you have any advice to would-be commuters? If you're serious, buy a halfway decent bike. It will be the best money you ever invested.
Has becoming a cyclist changed your perspective? I think that most people don't realize that, when we look at the automobile and public transportation, what we can do and what we'd like to do are not the same things.

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