Summer 2002, p.23

Commuter Profile: Jeff Jenkins

Age: 40
Occupation: Technician for Verizon
T.A. member? Not yet
Neighborhood: Huegenot, Staten Island
Commute: Huegenot and Arthur Kill Road to north on Richmond Avenue/Richmond Terrace to the ferry. Water/Pearl street to the Verizon building. A total of 13 miles/85 minutes.
Bike: Specialized mountain bike.
Gear: A rack for my school books, a knapsack, a water bottle and my helmet.
How long commuting: 14 years. Really my whole life (my parents can't believe I still do it), but, to my current job, my 14th anniversary was on June 28.
Why started? When I started at NY Telephone (now Verizon) I saw that they had an indoor bike rack so I decided to start riding. I love the freedom; I always have a seat.
Attire: I don't wear any special clothing except for cleats. Verizon provides lockers and a locker room to change in, though no showers.
Weather: I bike year round but I try to avoid inclement weather because it's dangerous in Staten Island.
Response from co-workers: I have slowly but steadily been trying to convert co-workers, but there are still only three or four bike commuters out of all of the hundreds of people who work in this building.
Memorable experiences: Six years ago, I went into a bike shop and saw a bent wheel hanging on the wall. The manager turned to me and said, "now imagine if you didn't have a helmet." I bought one on the spot.
Worst experience/commute: I once got doored and had to get stitches.
Advice to would-be SI commuters: Try it one day at a time. Also, make sure that you do it for the fun, not for the exercise, that way you'll stick with it longer.
Lock: I use both a Kryptonite U-lock and a cable lock.
Parking: There is a bike rack inside the building next to a booth with guards, so I don't have to worry much about theft. But I can't always take my bike on site visits because I can never be certain that there will be bike parking.
Riding style: Hard and fast because I'm usually on someone/something's schedule, like the ferry. That's the biggest difference between riding in Staten Island and the other boroughs. But, I'm extremely cautious of pedestrians-it's easier and safer to give them the right of way.

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