Why Manny Rides

Here’s the seventh portrait in Streetsblog’s weekly “Why I Ride” series.

Why Manny Rides
Photo copyright Dmitry Gudkov

Originally from the Bronx, Manny now lives in Queens. All told, he’s lived in New York for 58 years and has been cycling here for about 50 of them. During that time he has had about half a dozen bikes, two of which he lost to theft. All were used. “I’ve never bought a new bike in my life. This one I inherited from my brother.”

When I ask how the experience of riding in the city has changed in that time, he tells me that he still faces a lot of the same challenges that he has for decades — crowded streets, being seemingly invisible to drivers, the risk of being doored. Like me, he always keeps a yard of space between himself and parked cars when riding. “I’ve only had a few accidents over the years, but each one has been memorable.” On the other hand, noticeable improvements like the increase in dedicated bike paths have made his life easier. As we ride over the 59th Street Bridge, I ask him what the crossing would have been like 40 or 50 years ago. “You’d have to ride in car traffic. Although it often moved much slower. Believe it or not, you’d still see the occasional horse going across the bridge in those days.”

No fan of the rain, Manny usually leaves the bike at home on wet days. Otherwise, when it comes to his choice of transport, one of the biggest deciding factors is cost. “I drive a car, but gas prices are really high. Fortunately, most of my trips are just a few miles.” Where is he riding today? “I’m going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to look at some landscapes.”

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Into Our Town the NYPD Came…

|
Your federal Homeland Security dollars hard at work (Photo: Untitledname from Flickr) Apologies to Maurice Ogden but I guess I didn’t think enough of it when the NYPD was only cracking down on Critical Mass riders. Now it looks like the harassment has spread to regular daily bike commuters and is the product of official city policy. Here are four reports we’ve […]

Why Ron Rides

|
Ron is an engineer living in Williamsburg. He was riding back to his office from a meeting when we took the photo, then emailed me his thoughts about bike-share. “I was happy they added Williamsburg stations sooner than they had officially announced. I’ve been travelling over the Williamsburg Bridge each day and I’ve been pleasantly […]

Why Carol Rides

|
Carol is a talent manager. Before signing up for Citi Bike she had not been on a bike in New York in many years. She joined largely because of her cross-town commute. “I go from 44th and Lexington to 53rd and 8th. I normally take the subway — two trains — or I walk. Most […]

Why Erin Rides

|
Here’s the sixth portrait in Streetsblog’s weekly “Why I Ride” series. I always like to see bikes like Erin’s – elegant, but clearly bearing the scuffs and scratches that come with regular use. I ask her how she likes it. “I love it. It’s a great city bike.” Erin lives in Brooklyn and on this day […]