Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Commuter Profile #6 - Constance Lantagne

What is your age? 55
What is your occupation? Contract Administrator
How many years have you been commuting by bike? First time since the late 90's before the new bridge on Harrison
How many times have you participated in the Bicycle Commuter Contest? Second time
Describe your current average or usual commute (distance, terrain, urban/rural, etc.) 18 miles round trip. Ride up Mudd Bay Rd from Kaiser to Providence St Peter hospital. Terrain urban and well Ralph's Thriftway hill in the morning (let's me know I'm alive at 6:00 am and not too old to pump up that long hill) and back up Harrison at night (I really am able to leave work at work, there's not time to labor over work only labor up the hill)
What got you started bike commuting? St Peter's Environmental Committee joined the hospital commute contest to lower our carbon footprint.
How have you adapted to make bike commuting work for you? (I bought padded bike shorts soft on the tush :) I leave the house at 5:30 am so that I'm basically the only vehicle riding down Harrison hill as a result over the month of May I've gotten more confident manauvering the hill at a fast pace. You see, I have no problem working hard to bike up hills, it's the going down hills fast that I had to get used to. Also, when I'm riding through town if it looks like people driving cars don't recognize me I stand up on my pedals so that they see me. I also stand up in parking lots so that I'm more visable. I learned how to fold cloths so that by the time I get to work they look like I just took them off the hanger. It also helps to have showers at the hospital. And when "that guy" (don't know who he is but he's a power house) bikes by me in the mornings as I'm working my way up Ralph's Thriftway hill and leaves me in his dust in an instant it seems; as the days go by he doesn't leave me in his dust as quickly and that makes me feel like I'm getting stronger and not laboring so much up "that hill".
What are some of the benefits you have experienced from commuting by bike? I am braver going down hills fast, the celulite is turning into muscle, and my husband brags about my bike commute to everyone so even after 31 years around each other, he has new bragging material and it's cool to have a veteran biker like him think that my 18 mile commute is something to brag about. Also, in May the lilacs and rhodies were blooming making it a delicious fragarent ride. When I ride my bike to work in the morning I feel like I'm not in auto pilot (re. wake up, get in the car and presto I'm at work) riding my bike takes personal effort and it's something I do just for me :)
What is it that keeps you going, especially when the going is tough (weather, darkness, inertia, etc)? I don't know if I have to get song rights but, when the hills get tough I break into the song "...I ride my bike, I roller skate, don't drive no car, don't go too fast but, I go pretty far..." that is my mantra and voila I'm up the hill :)
How do you choose your route (most direct, least traffic, most scenic, etc)? The most direct route in the morning, on the way home I ride into the neighborhood to the right of Harrison hill to stay away from the commute traffic and the heat of the road and I have several ways to go home so I don't get bored.
What style of bike do you ride to commute? Nashbar Road Warrior bike -you could say it is a mountain bike.
Any words of wisdom for the beginning commuter? Stay alert!!! Watch for people in parked cars you are going to drive by, they will open their doors without realizing that your bike is rolling by. Buy padded biking shorts. Go ahead and step out of your comfort zone and try commuting once you've done it for a month or so you will find it is one of the best ways to personally lower your carbon footprint, get stronger mentally and physically. It's very empowering.