Sunday, April 4, 2010
Clarence Eckerson Jr. - carfree American profile
"My name is Clarence Eckerson Jr, I'm 43 years old. I am the Director of Video Production for Streetfilms, a NYC-based vlog that produces films about transportation in cities. I currently live in Brooklyn, New York's Red Hook neighborhood."
When did you start commuting by bicycle?
"Strangely, I didn't learn to ride until I was in the 5th grade; not soon after that I became a paper boy in my town and used my bike to deliver the news. So since age 13, I have had some sort of element of bike commuting in my life, though some places/times I have been more of a bike commuter than others. "
What other transportation avenues do you take advantage of?
What is the best part of about cycling for transportation for you?
"The best part of cycling is the freedom it brings. The ability to use one's own body to get around and be in touch with the rhythm of the city. Yes, sometimes cycling can be rough and weather can be a deterrent, but in the same amount of time the average American is stuck in traffic every day - you can get a workout, save money, put less of burden on our ecosystem, and arrive home less stressed."
"Sometimes my family and friends cannot believe - still - that I ride a bike in New York City. But to me, riding in NYC is so much less dangerous then being regulated to the shoulder of a country road where cars are blazing past at 50-60 mph or more. In the city, you can take a whole lane, the road's chaos becomes a predictable symphony, and cars rarely drive faster than 25 mph. Besides, NYC is increasingly adding phenomenal bike infrastructure which in turn churns out more riders which makes the roads even safer."
What bikes do you currently ride?
"Right now I have three bikes: a purple Bike Friday folder which I use to commute and shoot video from, an orange Dutch Batavis cruiser which I enjoy running errands on (and increasingly commute more on), and a Trek 7.7 FX which I ride about a dozen times a year for long weekend excursions."
What three pieces of advice would you like to share with folks considering the carfree lifestyle?
"Three pieces of advice: Don't be meek: assert your right to the road, but ride conservatively. Get a solid lock. Get some bike maps."
"If you are looking at ways to invigorate and enlighten your community, visit http://www.streetfilms.org/ and watch some of the over 300 films we have done on bicycling, walking, mass transit and livable streets. It's addictive. Binge watch."