Commuter Profile: Charles Komanoff


I just love how I feel on my bike. I love how fast it is, how it gets me anywhere I need to go.

I like being able to see the city in a different way, to be able to interact with everybody and everything as I glide by.

I keep two pair of rain pants, one at home and one at work. I want to be on the bike every day. I don’t even own a winter coat. I just wear windbreakers lined with sweaters.


Bike stories are the story of my life. I didn’t learn to ride a bike until i was 25. I grew up in a very bikeable suburb in the fifties but somehow didn’t learn how to ride. A friend taught me after I’d been living in New York for five years and it totally flipped my relationship with the city.


After learning to ride a bike I stopped feeling beaten down by the city and started feeling on top of the city. I felt I had the ability to be in the city in a way that made it all work.


I met my wife when I was running TA in the late eighties. Now we have a couple of kids. A few years ago, the younger one and I took a 600-mile bike trip through New England. I just can’t imagine who I am without bicycling. I have three bikes.


I say you have to ride proactively. You have to go for it, you have to command your place on the road. You have to be predictable, you have to be strong, decisive, and aggressive — but just before that point where you could be putting yourself seriously in danger.


Anything and everything I do I’m on the bike. I love going over the GWB and taking River Road along the Hudson to Piermont, or riding into Westchester and taking Metro North back.

Nobody younger than 11 has lived through a month in which I didn’t bike 100 miles.

Charles Komanoff helped refound TA in 1986, and in the ’90s co-founded the direct action traffic justice group Right of Way. He currently works in policy analysis. Charles moved to New York in 1968 and learned to ride in 1973. He still has the Cannondale Charlie sold him in 1990. Between that, his Bridgestone mountain bike, and his relatively newer Domane, Charles finds a way to spend time on two wheels every single day.

Interview and photos by Eric LaCour.

About bicyclehabitat

New York City's neighborhood bike store since 1978
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