Why Sally Rides

Editor’s note: Sometimes it seems like pundits and reporters are incapable of writing about bicycling without falling back on words like “sanctimonious” or “European-influenced.” Many of New York’s political representatives likewise seem incapable of grasping how safer streets for cycling would benefit their constituents. Streetsblog could write endlessly about the point-to-point convenience of cycling, how bike infrastructure complements the transit system, and why it’s no coincidence that in a city where 54 percent of households don’t own cars, 54 percent of voters support the expansion of bike lanes. But nothing can cut through anti-bike noise quite like New Yorkers who ride, telling their own stories.

Photographer Dmitry Gudkov has been putting together profiles of NYC cyclists since last spring with his #BikeNYC portrait series. Dmitry’s subjects ride for many reasons, and as far as I can tell not one of them has said they do it to stigmatize motorists or feel more Continental. Streetsblog is pleased to announce that we’ll be publishing Dmitry’s profiles in a new weekly feature we’re calling “Why I Ride.” Here is the first installment. You can see more of his work at GudPhoto.com.

Copyright Dmitry Gudkov, used with permission.

Originally from England, Sally lives and rides in New York. Her commute takes her from her home on Roosevelt Island to Midtown, where she works as a textile designer.

While she has been a bike rider all her life, she didn’t begin bike commuting in New York until about a year ago. Besides the health benefit, one of the main reasons for the change was that her commute on the F train became increasingly unpleasant and unreliable. She would often have to wait for two or three packed trains to pass before she could board.

With the encouragement of a bike messenger friend who helped ease her into New York cycling, she now has a reliable commute that takes 25-30 minutes on an average day.

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