A Brooklynite’s Journey to Biking

Today’s blog post is written by Molly Ornati. Molly works with our partners at Bed Stuy Restoration, and joined Citi Bike through our Corporate Program. Read on to learn how this Brooklynite conquered her fear of biking and now fiercely navigates the streets of Bed Stuy on Citi Bike!

At Bed Stuy Restoration Corp, where I have worked for four years, there was a big initiative to bring Citi Bike to Bed Stuy. I thought this was a great idea but I didn’t even think about joining. The streets look way too dangerous, and I felt as a mother, it would be downright irresponsible of me to do something so risky. But one day my co-worker Jesus, who started biking every day, and had gotten really healthy and slender, convinced me to ride with him when they gave out free day passes. I was surprised that it was kind of fun, even though I felt quite nervous and out of sorts. The Executive Vice Presidents for Programs, Tracey Capers, kept encouraging me to join so one day, tempted by the summer air, I decided to give it a try and joined in June of this year.

Every ride, I got more and more comfortable with the bike, my route and dealing with traffic. Before you know it I fell in love with being a city bike rider! I started taking trips on the weekends, and found it took me 4 minutes to get to places that had previously been a half hour walk. When you take a new trip, like recently returning from a meeting in the Wall Street area to my Brooklyn home, it is really exhilarating. You feel like you are flying across the city, independent and free, creating your own direct route to exactly where you want to go.

Why do I like Citi Bike? First of all, when you bike, angels look upon you. It also has that triple-crown benefit: unlike any other form of transportation, it is good for your body, good for your budget, and good for your environment. I love that I know that whatever else happens in my day I will get 25 minutes of exercise in the morning, and also sometimes at night. I can’t believe that I have already taken 85 trips.

The environmental impact means a lot to me. I’m very concerned about the problem of global warming, and the fact that our ecosystem is completely breaking down because there is too much carbon in the atmosphere. When you start learning about the problem you understand the urgency of the issue, and realize that the house (planet) is on fire and we are using cups of water to put it out. In order to really address this issue we have to make huge societal changes, like the national mobilization that happened during WWII, to avoid unprecedented destruction and the elimination of human civilization. For me biking is an example of the changes we need to make, but on an international scale. I see that I have reduced 163.7 lbs of carbon dioxide, which is nothing, but I feel like I am an example for all those people riding around in carbon machines.

Most of all, biking is downright fun! Every trip is an adventure, through which the city tells me it’s stories. There is the struggle of gentrification, and people’s lives upended. But there is also the ever present effort to create beauty and self-expression, people making their mark. Recently at work we were talking about who is a Brooklynite. Someone who’s lived here a year said he was one, and was roundly drowned out. I said I’ve been here 25 years and they said they’d take me. As they say, I’ll leave this town toes up.

Our partners at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation lead the NYC Better Bike Share Partnership, a citywide effort to develop inclusive programs and policies to promote equity through bike share and increase the diversity of bike share riders to improve health and financial outcomes of NYC neighborhoods. The Partnership is a community-driven collaboration of diverse stakeholders who influence transportation, health, and economic opportunities by leveraging the NYC bike share program.