March/April 1999, p.18

Commuter of the Month: Shannon Slon Simon

Name: Shannon Slon Simon
Age: "I never tell, but I love when people guess younger..."
Job: Acting Director of Visitor Services, Museum of Television & Radio
Neighborhood: Upper West Side.
Years Commuting: 10
T.A. Member Since? Yesterday.
Your first bike? I've been riding since I was six years old, having learned in a back lane behind our house in Forest Hills on a folding paratrooper's bike. My father found the bike in an Army-Navy store and bought it for my birthday. My current bike is also a folder - the smallest Dahon they make.
Your commute? It takes about 25 minutes, 3 1/2 miles each way. I come down from 108th and Riverside Drive, on Broadway to 52nd Street. This is the safest route since people on Broadway are used to surprises.
Where do you park? I fold my bike and put it under my desk. My building's policy is no bikes, but I have convinced them that, without my bike, I won't come to work. I also use my bike to get anywhere I need to be in the city during the day and argue with people to let me bring the bike in wherever I'm worried it could be stolen. If that doesn't work, I lock it with a Kryptonite 4 lock.
Biking advantages? Getting there faster than the bus and the train, mostly. I love being outdoors, but I must be inside all day, so it's lovely to get a whiff of air and to see the sights to and from. Taxi and bus drivers are so polite to me. I get an occasional jerky cab driver who ignores my rights as a biker, but 99 percent are my heroes. Once I was even kindly reprimanded by a cab driver who got out with tears in his eyes and explained that I shouldn't have just pulled out from behind that bus without looking. He was so frightened and he made me more careful. I thanked him for his concern.
Most humorous moment? I was riding down Central Park West one morning, returning from some errand, and a messenger got off his bike and asked me, "Where's your umbrella, Mary Poppins?" That's happened a few times! People stare at the bike because it looks like a circus vehicle with its very small wheels and me sitting up so high.
Besides commuting.. ? I use my bike to run errands. I drag tons of groceries home; and go to doctor and dentist appointments. I would rather ride than walk. Three or four times a week, my English springer spaniel and I take his walk from my bike.
Tips? Always expect the unexpected. At night I always ride with three flashing lights. I also prefer not to ride in snow or rain - drivers have too much to worry about, and I'd rather not be one of their mistakes.

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