What Alison doesn't mention in her "e-interview" is that she is a highly motivated and inspirational BCC Team Captain at her workplace, recruiting riders, holding in-house drawings, organizing bike rides and demos and rewarding riders. Thanks Alison!
- What is your age? 31
- What is your occupation? I work for Information Services at L&I
- How many years have you been commuting by bike? 4
- How many times have you participated in the Bicycle Commuter Contest? This year will be the 3rd time
- How did you hear about the BCC? A friend at work
- What is it that keeps you going, especially when the going is tough (weather, darkness, inertia, etc)? What keeps me going is that I never regret riding in to work. It could be a melee of elements thrown at me in the morning, wind, rain, cold and still when I get to work I feel great. Ok maybe I’m still waking up when I get there, BUT I feel good about myself that’s for sure. So the fact that knowing I feel great by riding is what keeps me going, that and the fact that I already have all the gear for all different seasons, have the bike, I really have no excuse.
- How do you choose your route (most direct, least traffic, most scenic, etc)?
The route I choose is kind of squirrelly from downtown to Tumwater, but it suits me well because it has the least amount of traffic, plenty of bike lanes and the hill up Capitol is nice and steady – good for strength building. I hear that they are talking about expanding the trail system to reach Tumwater….can’t wait for that if it happens!
- Describe your current average or usual commute (distance, terrain, urban/rural, etc.)
From Eastside Oly to Tumwater I cruise down the hill then up Capitol then jog right down Custer to 2nd St, up and over the pedestrian bridge beside Home Depot and down the road to work. I go the same way home except in the Winter because of the panniers I have on my bike it makes it heavy to push up the Custer hill to make a left on Capitol with traffic behind me. So during the Winter I will go around the old brewery to Deschutes Parkway, around the lake and then head up the 4th ave hill to home.
Oh that 4th Ave hill!! It’s a love-hate relationship we have. I love to hate it, it hurts sooo good.
- What got you started bike commuting?
A girlfriend of mine gave me her old bike. It was a diamondback mtn bike and I rode it to work through the Summer of 2007, I still have it and use it for mtn biking up in the forest when I can. My friend was really into road biking and he convinced me to buy my current bike, which by the way matches the color of my living room (Not planned on, I swear!!). But totally awesome!!! As my friend says: ‘It’s what they call accessorizing!!’ So my bike, affectionately named ‘Panko Pilot’ is what I use to commute to work with, the occasional recreation ride and I rode it in the2008 STP.
- How have you adapted your habits to make bike commuting work for you?
I hear this a lot from bike commuters, but it’s true: Organization is KEY! If I set out my clothes for work and accessories, etc the night before then in the morning when I wake up everything is already ready to go in my bike bag, all I need to do is put on my bike clothes and head out the door. I would be lost without the showers and locker room at work. It’s a HUGE perk.
- What are some of the benefits you have experienced from commuting by bike?
My fitness level for one, plus saving the money of driving my car to work now that gas is WHAT?!?!?!?! $3.79 a gallon!!! At least it was at the Shell station downtown this morning.
- What are some of the challenges you have experienced, and how have you overcome them?
The fear of getting a flat or something going wrong with my bike and I won’t know how to fix it!! I’ve come to accept the fact that things sometimes and will go wrong, but to just roll with it. Things always work out ok in the end. I’ve also come to realize that I can be really resourceful when I have to be. Like the time I bought a battery jumper from Home Depot because my car was dead at home and I didn’t want to ask anyone for help. I bought the jumper and realized all I had was my bike bag full of work clothes and other miscellaneous items with me. I ended up taking it out of the box and managed to fit it in my bag and it turned out that it was a good workout for the way home. DANG that thing was heavy!!! Plus my fears are somewhat subsided knowing that my favorite bike repair shop is on my way home in case there’s something that goes wonky that I don’t know how to fix.
Getting my bike on the bus rack – I don’t know why I had such anxiety over this, I had visions of the bus driving away with my bike and me chasing it down. Or my bike being halfway on the rack and falling off mid-ride. OMG what would I do?!?!?! My bike!!!!!!! I would be devastated. Or that I would have to ask the bus driver to get out of his seat to help me with the rack, whilst people waiting are jeering at me. Turns out it wasn’t that hard. There’s pictures on the rack about what to do that made it easy for me. It all turned out ok, I made it downtown during one of the craziest hail storms I had ever seen and now I have the confidence that I can put my bike on the bus if I ever need to. I can check that one off the ‘Things to worry about’ list! Whew!
- What style of bike do you ride to commute?
‘Panko Pilot’ is a baby blue Trek with as many pink accents as I can fit on it.
- Any words of wisdom for the beginning commuter?
JUST DO IT! You will feel great! I understand people have other commitments, school, work, kids – maybe all 3, but if you can work a ride in at least one day a week or even one a month your body, soul and the environment will be thanking you!