Commuter profile: Suit in the City

One of the more common reasons given why people don’t bike commute is because they can’t wear office wear on their Bianchi Pista track bikes.

This bike commuter is architect Riyad Ghannam in San Francisco. He rode is bike to elementary school, middle school, high school, to his college classes in North Carolina, and now to his office at a South of Market architectural firm in San Francisco.

“Generally I dress casually,” says Riyad, “but I do not hesitate to use my bike to go to job sites or to see consultants and clients when dressing in a suit is required.”

It’s a given that this kind of clothing is probably not appropriate where summer happens (e.g almost the entire United States outside of the west coast), but in milder climes Riyad shows that bike commuting in office wear can be done.

I asked Riyad what the biggest challenges are for him as a professional who meets with clients. “The biggest challenge is dealing with a society that is often status oriented where ones material possessions cast an impression on your professionalism,” he explains. “Although I am a proud and dedicated bike commuter, I tend to not highlight how I arrived at a meeting. If the client asks, I can tell them by bike, and in a way it’s my way of proving to people that biking is a practical alternative to driving. I’m also proud to say that many of my projects are designed to promote good stewardship of the environment, and I think that biking is ‘walking the walk’ [Ha ha] of sustainablity.”

About Riyad’s bike: “I love the Pista!!! It makes biking so fun!”

As an architect, Riyad does bridge design. He designed the bicycle safety railing on the Golden Gate Bridge and the I-80 Bicycle-Pedestrian Overpass at University Avenue in Berkeley. Riyad is also part of the design team responsible for the bicycle/pedestrian way under construction on the new Bay Bridge. He authored the proposal to extend the pathway across the western span of the Bay Bridge all the way to San Francisco. In 2006, Riyad was elected to the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. His employer won the San Francisco Bike to Work Challenge in 2006.

Photo courtesy of Adam and used with his kind permission.

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