Rochester bicyclists consider advantages and challenges of commuting on two wheels

May 18, 2018

Credit freeimages.com/Bill Owen

Rochester area commuters who participated in National Bike to Work Day had sunshine and relatively mild temperatures for their ride on Friday.

Susan Levin of Corn Hill made the 20 to 25 minute ride to work at City Gate.  She gave up her car seven years ago when she lived in Chicago.

"It's much more relaxing," she said. "Being in a car is very stressful to me. I tell people when they say they're stuck in traffic, 'You're not in traffic, you are traffic.' "

Levin says the only negative about commuting by bike is the fact that many still consider it an oddity, as driving a car is considered a rite of passage in the U.S.  She says she’s somewhat of a black sheep in her family because of her choice, but hopes attitudes are starting to shift.

Adrian Martin has also been relying mostly on his bike for his weekday commute from the Highland Park area to downtown Rochester for the past six or seven years.

His advice to those who are thinking about biking to work is to try it first it on a weekend when there's less traffic and they’re not on a tight schedule.

"It all has to do with your tolerance for being close to traffic. Because I've been doing this awhile, being in and among cars doesn't bother me that much, but for a lot of people, that's the reason they don't bike."

Martin considers the city of Rochester relatively bike friendly, but he would like to see more protected bike lanes with posts or bollards to separate car traffic from bicycle traffic.

"Something that's more than a line of paint on the ground, because a lot of times, cars don't really respect that line of paint and either they park in it, or trucks park there when they're doing a delivery or something and that kinda forces you to merge into traffic to get around 'em."

Martin and Levin both say biking saves them money on parking and helps to keep them in good physical shape.

According to the Census Bureau, bicycling is the preferred mode of transportation for just over one percent of Rochester area commuters.