Monday, June 16, 2008

Rider Profile #4

Meet Keith and his girls, Acadia & Sierra!

Keith Edgerton, Acadia (8), Sierra (5)

Age: 38

Occupation: Commercial Construction Project Manager

Years Commuting: 3 years 2 months or 401 hours and 5,387miles : )

Current Average Commute: Just under 5 miles roundtrip. I use Intercity Transit almost every weekday in combo with bicycle commuting. Starting my day off by riding up Courthouse Hill is not always appealing. It’s always nice to have options with non-car commuting. When I have meetings or errands to run, my max ride will be about 13 miles a day.

What got you started? I became legally blind on March 10, 2005. My brother and I were born with a degenerative disease of the retina (Retinitis Pigmentosa). Our peripheral vision is slowly deteriorating and I crossed the threshold of legal blind status in March ’05. It happened earlier than I thought and it was a big adjustment at first but it has be so rewarding. I still have excellent central vision but my blind spots in my periphery could continue to grow. I was feeling less safe driving and my doctor confirmed that it would be best to stop driving. He agreed that cycling would be great for me because I would be moving at a slower speed than a car and I would be able to hear what’s going on around me.

What keeps you pedaling? I still have a sense of independence without driving. I absolutely love cycling. What most people considered a tragedy in my life has turned into such a blessing. I love being in shape. I love the sights (@ slower speeds than a car), sounds and smells of the different seasons. It’s always a stress reducer for me. I also hope that my girls are learning that there is always a way to do what you want even if the most convenient or obvious option is not available. All (3) of us have really learned how to get around without a car, whether it’s a vacation to the San Juan’s or bowling on the west side. The fringe benefits are no car payments, gas/maintenance, car insurance and less of an environmental impact. It’s such a win/win for the girls and me.

Is the route you chose the safest, fastest, most fun or only route? I would say all of the above. I always look for the less car traveled road or the most beautiful route when I am running errands, going to project meetings, shopping or taking the girls to school. Being safe around cars probably trumps all options, especially when my girls are riding with me. As I tell my girls, “whether you are right or wrong, the car will always win!” Being defensive cyclists is always a priority in our house.

What style of Bike do you commute on? I had a company truck before I stopped driving and my employer, Andy Johnson & Co. bought me a company bike for my first ride. It was a 2005 Jamis Coda Comp. But a year later, I fell in love with my current bike. It’s a 2005 LeMond Tourmalet or as I like to call it, my Orca Bike! I can race with it or pull a 100lbs of groceries in the bike trailer. I hope to be riding my Orca Bike for years to come as long as I can hold onto the vision I have left. Acadia rides the Raleigh Rowdy (not in picture) and Sierra is decked out on the Dora bike.

How many BCC's have you participated in? This is my 4th Commuter contest and the girls 2nd. I love all the stats that come out at the end, especially the total miles. You can really see how a group of people can make a huge difference for the health of themselves and the planet!

Thanks for sharing this with us Keith, Acadia and Sierra! What a positive outlook you have, thanks for showing us how a loss was a gain for you in a way. It really seems like you know how to get around car-free! Keith shared a story with me of a car-free vacation he took with his girls in the San Juan's. He told me it was filled with Bikes, Buses, Ferries, etc., and was a total blast and his girls had a fantastic time. How inspirational! With the seriousness of high gas prices around, some of us are having trouble making those vacation plans, among other things, because of the additional expenses. Thanks for showing us that it's not only possible, but fun to live and vacation without using your car! Thanks for pedaling and see you on the road Keith, Acadia and Sierra! ~KT

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