Zester and Nayah Harper
Name: Zester Harper,
50 and Nayah Nicholson, 11 (mother and daughter)
Occupation: Zester is a former long-time restaurant owner and now
current college student. Nayah is a 7th grader.
Commute: Nayah commutes by scooter to school and we both run all of our
errands by bicycle from our home in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
Route: Nayah scoots one block to the Classon G train stop, takes it
four stops and scoots three more blocks to her school in Park Slope. It's
about 30 minutes, 10 minutes of which are on the scooter. To get to Park Slope
from Lafayette Street to run errands, we bike West on Greene to Franklin where
we head south to Eastern Parkway and West to the Park. It takes about 10
Bikes: I have a 15-year old, 18-speed and Nayah has a new, 12-speed.
How long commuting? We've both bicycled our whole lives.
Why started? It's always been a part of my life. When I was growing up
in Georgia, my father would bicycle home from work and, if we met him en
route, he would put two or even three of us on the bike with him. It was just
natural for me. So, when I moved to New York in 1972, the first thing I bought
was a bicycle. Even when I had a car, I would bring my bicycle with me when I
had to go to meetings in Manhattan. I'd drive in and park somewhere out of the
way uptown and then ride downtown to my meeting and back. I just enjoyed
getting the air and relieving tension. I always felt good when I got to my
As for Nayah, I put her in a
bike seat at about a year--as soon as she could sit. At three, she was riding a
three wheeler all by herself. When she was four, I took her to dance class one
morning and she asked me why she had an extra wheel on her bike; Nayah
insisted that she didn't need it. I was really scared to let her ride on a
two-wheeler alone at that age, but I agreed. I held on to the bike as she
started to ride off, but Nayah started screaming and yelling and pushing my
hand away so all I could do was stop, put my hand over my mouth and hope that
she didn't hurt herself. She's never had a problem since then! Nayah's gotten
to the point where she's even really good at tightening her screws and fixing
and patching her own flats. Neither of us has ever gotten into an accident.
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