Senator Chuck Schumer will probably think long and hard before allowing a reporter to accompany him on his daily bike commute again. An exhaustive piece in the Daily News today recounts the importance of cycling in the senator's life, but less attentive readers will probably quit after the first anecdote:
As he biked through Brooklyn with a Daily News reporter last week, Schumer answered his flip phone without slowing his roll.
“What’s up? I’m on the bike!” he said, making his way along Bedford Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant."
So now we know that not only does the Senate's third ranking Democrat still use a phone that last enjoyed popularity during the Bush administration, he also went to the trouble of prying it open while riding, which, while moronically legal, is still generally frowned upon by cycling advocates and a few other people.
His interlocutor in this case was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but Schumer won't risk eating a mouthful of macadam for just any lowly politician. "I’ve gotten calls from the President while I’m on the bike. Him, I stop for. The President’s about the only one,” he told the tabloid.
When he's not answering his phone while riding, the senator distracts his ears from the sounds of passing cars and sirens and screaming pedestrians with his iPod, which he uses to groove to the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Kelly Clarkson and Beyoncé. As we have pointed out in the past, it's technically legal to bike with one earbud, but goddamn it if it's not stupid and irresponsible.
Let's not forget also that Schumer was once part of a vocal contingent opposing construction of the bike lane on Prospect Park West, a fact which he tries brush off as the opinion of his bike-loathing wife, the city's former transportation commissioner.
“I think everyone’s come to peace with the bike lane—it’s here, I ride on it all the time,” he said. “I never opposed it, [Author's note: Oh?] but for peace in the house, I stayed quiet.”
Also, it seems like Schumer could probably find at least a few curmudgeonly NIMBYs still put out by the now years-old lane if he really looked. Maybe they should try him on his flip phone.