Commuter of the Month:
How long commuting: 5 years
How you started: I used to use my bike only on weekends to get places.
But there is no subway where I live, so I began to use it more regularly.
Commutes: Many. From home on Avenue C to Varick St. near the Holland
Tunnel, often to the Flatiron District, and formerly to 92nd Street and
Broadway. My schedule changes a lot.
Why bicycle commute: It is the most reliable way to get around. I know
it takes 12 minutes to get to Christopher St. by bike, but with public
transportation I'd have to leave much earlier. And it's cheap. Last year I
spent $160 on bike repair. Riding also makes you feel part of the city,
especially when the lights are with you.
Bike: White Royce Union 10-speed. I call it "my office."
Bought for $1 at an upstate tag sale.
Gear: Rear rack. Flashers at night. I always wear a helmet.
Thefts: This is my third bike in NYC. I saw the thief take my last bike
from a pole. "Hey! Hey!! Hey!!" I screamed, "That guy stole my
bike." I was very pissed that he took my chain too. While I do covet the
groovy Pee Wee Herman bikes you see downtown, I'd rather have a beater that I
don't have to worry about.
Riding feats: A stage platform fell on a friend's hand once, badly
injuring her fingers. After sending her to the hospital via ambulance, we
discovered two pieces of finger tissue that had been severed. I rushed them to
St. Vincent's on my bike so they could be reattached; it was the fastest way
to get there.
Riding style: I ride quickly and consistently, but I'm not aggressive.
Maybe I was once, but I realized it wasn't worth it. I don't cut off other
cars. I let pedestrians know I'm coming with my mouth. If I mess up, I
apologize. I'm especially conscious of little old ladies in the crosswalk.
Seasons/Weather: I don't intentionally ride in heavy rain or snow, but
I've gotten caught in both. Cold weather doesn't bother me.
Bike parking: Scaffolding is the best bike parking ever, only it keeps
moving. The flatiron district is brutal for parking, and midtown is tough. The
best parking is outside Crunch on Lafayette St.
Best commute: It's wonderful when you're riding with other cyclists on
the road. There's a kindred spiritedness. Once I was riding down Bowery, and
this other guy rode along side me. We were talking about the route, and then
he handed me a sticker that said "Bicycle." It was so cool.
Cycling lows: I hate seeing bad things happen to other cyclists. I once
saw a bike all twisted up on Broadway and a cop looking under a truck. Someone
had been hit.
Advice: If you think about riding, absolutely do it. Take it slow till
you know where you're going. Don't ride the wrong way or on the sidewalk; it's
not worth it. For the one block you save, you endanger others.
more commuter profiles.