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

Why Michele Rides Streetsblog Dmitry Gudkov

I met Michele at the foot of the Brooklyn end of the Manhattan Bridge cycle path. She is a freelance scenic artist and regularly commutes over the Manhattan Bridge to Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where she paints sets for a TV show.

For years, Michele didn't ride a bike in the city - it didn't seem like a safe option. But about six years ago, an avid cyclist friend finally persuaded her to try it out. It was all about baby steps - initially she was intimidated even to cross the Williamsburg Bridge - but it wasn't very long before she became a regular bike rider. Dedicated bike lanes, especially protected ones like the Hudson Greenway, helped ease her in before she was ready to ride in traffic.

Because she doesn’t have inside bike storage at home, Michele’s been unlucky enough to have several bikes stolen over the years, so it’s her policy never to spend more than a couple hundred dollars on a bike. Still, the money she saves by commuting by bike instead of taking the subway is one of the main reasons she prefers to ride, especially as fares have continued to increase. And, she adds, “the cardio doesn’t hurt, either.”

Before we parted, I asked Michele if she'd read the Daily News' recent coverage of the Manhattan Bridge bike path. She hadn't. I gave a quick summary and she assured me she's never flipped off any working stiffs while making the crossing.

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