January/February 1998, p.15

Commuter of the Month: Richard E. Linde

Occupation: Executive recruiter.
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 the ground.

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