My NYC Biking Story: Marcus Woollen
Marcus Woollen is a prime example of what bicycling can do for your mind, body and spirit. Fifteen months ago, after being declared obese by his doctors, he decided he needed to get healthy and find a way to fit exercise into his busy schedule.
So he tried bike commuting from Jackson Heights, Queens to Hell's Kitchen and loved it. As of May, he's lost an incredible 50 pounds (already five more than when he filmed with us!) and has inspired many friends to start biking too.
Here are some words of advice Marcus has for all of us:
- "New York City is almost ideal for biking - it's pretty flat, and traffic isn't very fast - more like organized chaos."
- "By commuting, I have so much more energy during the day, and I sleep much better than before."
- "Most of the year, I commute in my work clothes. In the summer, I'll wear something cooler, and keep a few sets of clothes in a closet at my office - and have them dry cleaned over the weekend so I can pick them up on Monday morning as I get to work."
- "Riding in the winter is easy - as long as the streets are plowed, I'll go. My biggest mistake at first was wearing too much and overheating - biking keeps you much warmer than waiting on a cold subway platform!"
- "Queens is a great place to ride a bike - with the exception of a few major through streets, there are a lot of quiet neighborhood streets to ride on. The neighborhoods out here are wonderful and incredibly diverse."
Streetfilms would like to thank the Law Offices of Adam D. White for sponsoring this chapter in our My NYC Biking Story.
Marcus Woollen: [00.12] About a year and a half ago my doctor said I was not only fat, I was obese, and that was sort of a wake up call. I was trying to figure out what could I do to make it so that I could get some exercise into my daily life. I borrowed a bike from a friend one day and it seemed pretty good here in Queens, so a few days later I went into the city and I bought a bike, rode it home and I’ve been riding back and forth to work ever since. The ride takes me about 40 minutes. My subway commute was also about 40 minutes, so I’m getting an hour and 20 minutes of exercise every day.
Marcus Woollen: [00:44] When the Daily News did an article on me I thought it was kind of funny and I had actually gone on vacation so I came home and the internet had blown up. The article said, you know, I’d lost 30 pounds and as of yesterday I’ve now lost 45 pounds.
Marcus Woollen: [00:57] I know of seven people who have since taken up bike riding again since I started riding. I’m not sure if I’m an inspiration or they just saw me doing it, it was sort of a catalyst for them to do what they’d already been planning to do.
Speaker: [01:08] Marcus was a real inspiration to me. Last month I went out and bought my bicycle and I’ve been commuting to work almost every day since.
Speaker: [01:14] It’s been really inspiring to get in shape myself. If he can do it, I can do too, so I bought a bike and here I am.
Speaker: [01:19] I saw how much weight he had lost doing it and it just sounded like a really fun idea.
Marcus Woollen: [01:22] One of the bumpy spots in my old commute was riding across Queens Plaza. Riding a bike was always a bit nerve-wracking, navigating your way through that, so I’m thrilled this city is finally building a protected bike and pedestrian path, a way for people to get on and off that bridge.
[01:38] I love riding around the city. I love watching the people,
the buildings, going through the different neighbourhoods, watching
the seasons change, the people change. It’s a really magical
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