Commuter of the Month:
Richard E. Linde
Are you a T.A. member? No. Why not? There's no reason. I'm not a very
alternative kind of guy. I don't really know what T.A.'s agenda is. [Editor's
note: After learning more about T.A., Mr. Linde became a member.]
How long have you been bike commuting: 8 years.
Why started: I was very dissatisfied with my commute from home (Upper
W. Side) to work (E. Side). I either had to spend $12.50 on a cab or use three
different trains and spend 50 minutes just to get to work. I had to think of a
better way than being subjected to the insufferable crowds in the subway. Bike
commuting was an idea born of necessity. I started on good weather days; now I
ride in all weather.
Why commute: After biking, I'm relaxed and confident at work. After the
subway, I'm fuming. There's also an intangible feeling of control. I get where
I want to go without being at the mercy of a cabby. Biking is an opportunity
so many people are missing. When I ride to work, I can't help but feel a
little smug passing people waiting for a bus or cab.
Other biking? I do all my errands by bike, even going to the grocery
for a quart of milk. I ride to church. Increasingly, I ride to meetings.
Recently we had a meeting at the Harmony Club. Everyone from the office took a
cab. I rode my bike and beat them.
Bike: Trek 700 Hybrid.
Parking and Security: I can't park in my building. Management doesn't
want to assume any "liability." Thankfully there's a bike rack
nearby. I wish more office buildings would welcome bikes. At first, my bike
got stolen about every 6 months. Considering saved subway fare, I was still
breaking even. Five years ago, I got several kinds of locks: Kryptonite, heavy
gauge chain, U-lock.
Equipment: Blackburn rear rack that can support a case of beer. Rear
metal baskets. Fenders. European mud flaps. Bell. Front & rear lights.
Riding in the weather: I wear a waterproof suit in the rain. People
look at me in my 'human condom' routine and think, "What a geek."
But I get to work much drier than they do.
Best part of commute: Every morning before work I give my daughter Nora
a ride to school. It's nice daddy-daughter time. She rides side-saddle and
wears a helmet.
Worst commuting story: I was almost doored by a limo once. I turned my
wheel so hard to avoid the door, I collapsed my front wheel. And once I got
bumped from behind by a drunk driver. I held him at the corner until a cop
came. He was hammered.
Riding style: I am very careful and don't take a lot of risks. There's
too much at stake. In any altercation with a car, I lose.
Memorable reactions: Most people are amused. A few adventurous souls
ask me how they might do it.
Advice: I would encourage people who aren't riding to try it. It's good
fun, you get mild exercise and CAN arrive at work without being rumpled and
sweaty. Plus, you can keep a shoeshine forever, because your feet seldom touch
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