Monday, July 28, 2008

Suburban Commuters

Here is a great NY Times article about bike commuters in New York. This time, these are commuters coming from nearby suburbs into the city for work.
It was 7:30 a.m. on a humid Monday, and David Muller, a doctor and a suburban bike commuter, was sweating his way to work. As he rode along the George Washington Bridge and into Manhattan, Dr. Muller, 44, seemed indifferent to the low roar of rush-hour traffic. He was halfway from Teaneck — where he lives — to Mount Sinai Medical Center — where he works — and was happy to be on his bicycle.

“It’s free, it’s good for the environment, good for your health,” he said, beads of sweat collecting under his helmet and underneath his backpack, about 5 miles into his 12-mile ride. “And it’s a little dangerous, so you get a little thrill at the beginning and the end of each day.” He also gets satisfaction from beating cars across the bridge. “I love it,” he said.

Five minutes later, another commuter pedaled along. Henry Minnerop, a partner in a Manhattan law firm and “70-plus” years old, said he drives each day — year round — to Englewood Cliffs, and then bikes about 12 miles into Midtown. “I park my bike in the garage I used to use when I drove in,” he said before riding off. “There’s a gym in my office. I shower and come out looking like a lawyer.”
Some are even doing what would be considered extreme commuting:
“Going into the city, it’s drudgery,” said Tom Begg, 43, of Glen Rock, who began riding to work this year. A consultant and a triathlete, he is one of a group of hard-core bike commuters who gather between 5 and 6 a.m. each day outside a car wash in Ridgewood to make the approximately 25-mile ride into New York City.

One of the longest bike commutes belongs to Phil Riggio of Darien, Conn., who rides to and from his Midtown office three times a week. Mr. Riggio, a technology trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, began making the 40-mile, two-hour trip in March, shortly after his office moved to Manhattan from Darien.
While I have a 20 mile round trip commute, you really have to give credit to these commuters from outside the city limits. Those crossing the GWB and making their way to Midtown have very few safe and enjoyable routes. This article demonstrates how the city really needs to start thinking multi-modal and getting those front racks on buses to finally to help some of these commuters out in a pinch.

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