Tuesday, May 3, 2011

2011 BCC Rider Profile #3: Jenya Campbell

*    What is your age? 35

*    What is your occupation? Production Supervisor for Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters
*    How many years have you been commuting by bike? I started Biking in May of 09, specifically for the 2009 Bicycle Commuter Contest

*    How did you hear about the BCC?  I found out through my job at Batdorf & Bronson

*    What got you started bike commuting? A co-worker & dear friend (and avid bicycle commuter) suggested I attempt the BCC in 2009, it was this experience that made me realize it was possible to continue biking, even after the Contest.
*    Describe your current average or usual commute (distance,
terrain, urban/rural, etc.) During my work-week, I bike a total of 17.2 miles a day. (8.6 each direction.) I consider myself to be blessed when it comes to my daily commute. From home, I ride a mere mile & 1/2 to the Chehalis Western Trail via the Yelm Hwy and then it's smooth sailing for 5 1/2 miles on the trail. It is another mile & 1/2 to work from there. It is a gorgeous ride, the trail really makes this possible for me.
When I first started, I only biked a day or two a week, but I worked myself up to 4 days. During the month of the BCC I add an extra day.

*    How have you adapted your habits to make bike commuting work for
you? Initially I was afraid that biking to work would be too difficult, in terms of getting ready for the work day. Things like, waking up earlier, would I need a shower after the ride?, bringing my clothes & make-up...things like that. It only took a few weeks for me to get a system in place for myself. It helped to get everything ready the night before. It took some work and tweaking, but it eventually became second nature.
Also, I needed to prepare my bicycle itself for successful commuting. I armed my ride with fenders for WA weather, a bike bag for lugging my clothes, a headlight for the darker months etc. The folks at Bike Tech were really helpful with this. Occasionally I would discover that I needed something I hadn't planned for - so I would just get myself what I needed, as things came up. That happened after a rain-soaked discovery that I needed a water-proof coat, pants & shoes, so that I could comfortably ride in the rain.

*    What are some of the benefits you have experienced from
commuting by bike? The most significant benefit was losing 70 POUNDS. My life completely changed. I remember my first months of rides, and how hard they were. This experience has taught me about my physical abilities, and how to tap into self discipline. The riding ultimately opened my eyes to a part of myself I had long ago lost, or maybe never even knew I had. I started to incorporate other elements to my regimen, which was not so hard - knowing what I was capable of. I even recently ran in my first half-marathon on May 1st...which I NEVER would have attempted, were it not for my biking. My job, my motivational co-worker, the Bicycle Commuter Contest and my determination to stick with it, truly saved my life. I am the best version of myself that I can be...all thanks to these things coming together.
Also, my car insurance is 20% less a year now, because I am a part time driver!!

*    What are some of the challenges you have experienced, and how
have you overcome them? My own mind has been my greatest challenge. Thinking that I can't possibly be able to do this each day. I gotta say though, proving myself wrong has been incredible! I have ridden through the rain, sleet, ice, snow & wind....braved elements I never would have in the past. I try to set myself up for success, with being prepared and giving myself enough time to get where I am going. I often put myself into a meditative state, in order to overcome these obstacles. I have chanted many an affirmation to get me through. Often I say to myself how lucky I am that I GET to do this, that I have the ability to physically power myself, the health & surroundings to support this. It is hard at times, but the reward is SO much bigger anything else I have felt. I feel very proud.

*    What is it that keeps you going, especially when the going is
tough (weather, darkness, inertia, etc)? As I mentioned above, I try to boost myself with positive thought. However, I have to give a HUGE amount of props to my co-worker & friend, who turned me on to biking to begin with. Fortunately for me, and cardinal to my continued success, the majority of my rides are in really good company. I couldn't have done it otherwise. Having someone waiting for you at 5 in the morning really gets you up and moving. Having a buddy to talk to on the ride, someone to say "Hey this rain's not so bad", someone to look out for you, keep you company and challenge your resistance. It is a beautiful thing, that I am eternally grateful for. (And I like to joke that the extra headlights don't hurt either!)  

*    How do you choose your route (most direct, least traffic, most
scenic, etc)? The Chehalis Western Trail is a godsend. I never would have been so successful, were it not for this safe & traffic-less "avenue". It is beautiful, quiet, paved and there is always wildlife around to greet you. I still look forward to the trail, even after traveling upon it so many times.
*    What style of bike do you ride to commute? I don't know much about types or brands of bicycles, mine is a hand-me-down, from a family member. As I mentioned before, I had some things added to it, like a comfy seat, new tires, a bag rack, some lights and a set of fenders.  I believe it is a mountain bike...it has thick tires, and is really heavy. I keep it pretty well tuned up, some of which my friend taught me how to do myself! A couple times a year I bring it in to Bike Tech for maintenance that lies beyond my scope of ability. I have been told that its on it's last legs & won't make it through the summer. I am saving up for something nice & light...but I have enjoyed the bike I have just fine.

*     Any words of wisdom for the beginning commuter? Try it....just try it. I remember when I got on my bike, for the first time since childhood. It felt like I was ten again! The wind in my hair, and all it's reminiscent qualities. It is amazing exercise that almost anyone can do, on almost any kind of bike. The environment and your gas tank will thank you. Don't over think it, just go for a spin. We are so blessed, here in Olympia, with loads of trails and bike paths to choose from. It is a great way to get to the store, or a great thing to do with your friends, or children.  A wonderful date with your loved one....bike to a picnic spot. I liken it to a time machine, why not be a kid again?


Anonymous said...

Wow! Great profile and what an inspiration! Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to figure out what kind of bell she has on her bike.

vanillajane said...


Anonymous said...

way to go and what an amazing achievement

Jenya said...

The Bell is a rubber Squirrel...I got it at Falcone's, on the West Side. They have LOTS of varieties. I got my buddy a shark for his bike. When I walk by, I squeak it & shout "SHARK ATTACK!"
I thought they were kitschy & fun. It's the little things!
Thanks for the supportive comments...