Commute Stories: George Sarrinikolaou
George Sarrinikolaou (Office of Academic and Research Programs, The Earth Institute) commutes by bike to Morningside campus from Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
George’s trip from Prospect Heights is 12 miles each way, which usually takes him under an hour – sometimes faster than taking the subway. He rode to Columbia for the first time in the days after Hurricane Sandy, and has been riding fairly regularly since then.
“I commuted by bike previously when I lived in Vermont, although biking there is much different,” George said. “I had to overcome my own fear and hesitation to begin riding in New York City. Once I tried it, I found that it was not as difficult as I had imagined.”
George said that although some days he does take the subway to work, he prefers the days he commutes by bike.
“I think it's a really elegant way to travel,” he said. “It's just me and this very simple machine. Biking puts me in touch with reality, the road, the weather, and things around me in a way that's very different from being in a car or being on the subway. I also like the freedom that comes with riding. I set the pace and choose the route and the bike I want to ride. And, of course, biking is better for the environment than commuting by subway or car.”
George noted that the more people who commute by bicycle, the less congested our roads, subways, and buses are. Biking, rather than driving, also makes for cleaner air and lower carbon dioxide emissions, which can also make for healthier commuters.
“When I ride on the Hudson River Greenway, I see people of all ages riding to work, which suggests that bike commuting can be done safely by anyone,” George said. “I would also say that there are now more people commuting by bicycle than ever before in New York City because of the good infrastructure for biking here. So if there ever was a good time to ride, this is it.”