For two Farmingdale State College professors, May 16’s Bike-to-Work Day is just another day on the calendar. For them biking to work is a September-to-May ritual that helps keep them in top shape and protects the environment.
"I get some exercise, I don’t emit pollution, and it’s so dangerous that I enjoy the adrenaline rush,” says Dr. Martin Lewison, assistant professor of business management. For Dr. Michaela Porubanova, an assistant professor in the Psychology Department, the benefits are similar. “I love all the benefits of bike-commuting, starting from not contributing to pollution, to getting exercise in the morning – biking is my morning coffee! – to seeing the world around me.”
Bike-to-Work Day is sponsored nationwide by the League of American Bicyclists, which began the event in 1956.
Dr. Lewison bikes six miles a day, though he starts his commute from his home in Forest Hills, Queens. He pedals to the LIRR station at Jamaica, folds up his bike and boards the train to Farmingdale. From there it’s a two-mile ride to the campus. Dr. Porubanova begins her journey in Chelsea, Manhattan, on a Citi Bike, which she rides to Penn Station. Then it’s on to the Farmingdale station, and then the Farmingdale campus, where she has rented a storage locker for her bike.
There are challenges along the way, including the weather, says Dr. Porubanova. She adds: “The area around Farmingdale is not necessarily bicycle-friendly. You might experience anything from strange looks from drivers to a disregard of you.” For Dr. Lewison, he’s dodging potholes, navigating Queens Boulevard – known to New Yorkers as the “Boulevard of Death” – and avoiding clueless drivers. To help mitigate the danger he wears high-visibility clothing and decorates his bicycle with an abundance of white and red lights. “I look like a Christmas tree, but if a driver notices me one second earlier, it might save my life.”