Why Michele Rides

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.

  • ddartley

    Off topic, but here’s a Crain’s online survey about whether NYC needs more bike lanes…

  • ddartley

    Off topic, but here’s a Crain’s online survey about whether NYC needs more bike lanes…

  • Evelyn

    This is exactly the kind of woman Iris Weinshall wants to sue off of her street. 

  • Always nice to see somebody riding a bike that’s neither a $3000 fixie nor ironically retro…

  • not betsy anderson

    Manhattan, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Jersey, Brooklyn….

    Props to this series and to the fine people on all types of bikes in all walks of life…but for a 15-week project you guys could toss us across the pond a bone.  Would it kill you to hang outside the SI Ferry terminal for a few hours next week and chat with a different set of average bikers, who still manage to do it every day without hordes of fancy green lanes?  We don’t bite.

  • daphna

    Everybody should head over to the 8/19/11 Crain’s poll that ddartley mentioned.  At last check it was 76% (309 votes) pro more bike lanes and 24% (100 votes) against.  They worded it better than most polls.

    Are more bike lanes what New York needs?
    Yes. If riders are protected from traffic, bicycling is good for them. It’s good for the rest of us too, in that more people cycling means less motor vehicle traffic and pollution.
    No. This is just another example of the Bloomberg administration’s Big Brotherism. Fact is, hardly anybody cycles in the city, but a lot of people need to drive.


    Give Crain’s their page hits.  It can’t hurt to have a ton of people vote “yes”.

  • fj

    seriously have to start thinking about a scrapbook to save great stuff like this.

  • moocow

    I love you girl!!!


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