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Bicycling

Why Janet Rides

5:27 PM EDT on August 26, 2011

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

Janet first started riding a bike in New York in the late 80s, when she was one of the few cyclists bold enough to brave the wild streets of Manhattan. It was an adventure, but certainly not for everyone. After living in Minnesota for a few years, Janet returned to New York and founded a commercial real estate brokerage firm. The city was becoming increasingly more bike friendly, and Janet embraced biking in a more relaxed, utilitarian way that was not really possible before.

Janet's work usually takes her from her office in the Village to various properties in Midtown South. Her old Bridgestone is usually the fastest and always the cheapest way to get to her destination. And it's not lost on her the impression she makes on clients when she arrives for a meeting by bike. Her customers are often people who never really considered biking before so she makes a conscious effort to at least get them to entertain the possibility.

She's something of a bike evangelist, and she has a few converts under her belt -- often people who never considered biking before. She tries to show them what she has discovered -- that a great number of their trips in the city can be done more quickly and cheaply (and more safely than ever before) by bike. She tells me that a customer "broke down and bought a bike" after spending "hours and hours with me." Another convert is a 72-year-old building owner who gave up his car for a bike and has no regrets. He didn't realize just how much anxiety in his life revolved directly around the issue of parking.

Through her work in commercial real estate, Janet sees first-hand the relationship between the provision of adequate bike facilities and the increase in biking in New York. In several major deals she closed recently, bike parking was a significant sticking point. As New York reinvents itself into a more cycle-friendly place, Janet and her Bridgestone will continue to be at the forefront.

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