After I wrote my letter of protest in reference to removing our bike racks in Battery Park City an old friend and his organization Transportation Alternatives came to the rescue! Since I had his attention I thought it would be a good idea to post a little interview with him, he agreed!
So I ran out at 9am on Saturday morning to get some shots of Charles and Son cycling to Pier 40.
Are you one of the Founders of Transportation Alternatives?
I wasn’t a founder of TA at all. But toward
the end of my presidency, 1986-1992, people
started dubbing me the “re-founder” (since
I had brought the organization back from
the depths, to a place of dynamism and
success). I like that term, re-founder.
Charles and son riding to Pier 40
How long have you been cycling?
Since April 1973, when I learned to ride,
at age 25, in Central Park.
I wish! Our recreational styles are different.
And my kids (15 and almost-12) are spooked by
NYC traffic. I’m working on it. A few times
a year my younger son and I borrow a friend’s
tandem and ride to the GWB or into Brooklyn.
For years, both my wife and I carried the kids
on our bikes — sometimes, both boys on one bike.
First in detachable rear kiddie seats, later on
those excellent top-tube seats with the fold-out
foot pegs on the down tube. Over the years I
logged over a thousand miles on the bike with
each kid, just getting around.
Whats so good about riding in NYC?
Practically everything. The ability to go
anywhere and everywhere fast, efficiently and
at my own pace. Soaking up the energy in the
streets. The ability to “transcend time, traffic
and the regulated ordinariness of city life,” as
I wrote in an op-ed in the Times 20 years ago.
The whole package.
Do you commute by bicycle?
Every day, no exceptions. I have good RAINGEAR!
(I keep spares in my office) and work in a
bike-friendly building. Up to 6 inches of snow,
nothing stops me.
Whats your favorite way to get around NYC?
If you mean what “mode,” then bike, of course.
Sometimes if I’m with one or both boys and
biking isn’t practical, we take the train.
I haven’t taken a solo cab ride in at least
How many bikes do you have?
Three — my mountain bike with the top-tube
seat (I still ride Alexander occasionally) for
getting around; a Cannondale road bike for fun
long rides; and a beater bike for Critical Mass.
Plus the bike trailer I used to haul the kids in.
I now use it for freight. I’ve moved heavy boxes,
glass shelves, musical instruments, and, last
year, a 110-pound 27-inch TV a friend in Harlem
gave us. It was a blast, hauling it through
Central Park and down the Greenway to Tribeca.
Anything you’d like to add?
I love cycling — here or anywhere — as much as
ever. My kaleidoscope of reasons seem to be shifting,
though. While I still relish the enviro benefits, they
no longer rank in my Top Three reasons to bike: those
are (3) save time, (2) physical activity, and (1) riding
just feels terrific!