Wednesday, May 16, 2012

2012 Rider Profile #2 Greg W.

What is your age, roughly speaking? 50

What is your occupation or area of study?
Computer Programmer

What is your most frequent destination on your bike?
(Unfortunately) Work

How did you hear about the BCC?
I've been participating regularly since it began

How many times have you participated in the Bicycle Commuter Contest?
Probably 15-20 times
What got you started riding your bike to get around (practical cycling)?
I guess three things: (1) the fun of riding; (2) concern for the
environment; and (3) the need for daily exercise

How many years have you been getting around by bike?
I started commuting full-time in 1986, so I guess this is my 26th year

Describe your current average or usual trip (distance, terrain, urban/rural, etc.)
My current commute is about 3.5 miles one way. I travel from about a mile and a half NE of Priest Point park through rural roads until I reach East Bay drive where I can use the bike path. When I get close to town I veer off towards the Port to avoid the State Ave traffic, eventually ending up on
Capitol Blvd right downtown.

How have you adapted your habits to make practical cycling work for you?
I've never had a job as an adult where I couldn't bike to work (I'm really lucky, I know!), so aside from giving myself enough time to put on rain gear when it's wet, I haven't really had to change my habits.

What are some of the benefits you have experienced from commuting by bike?
Probably all of the obvious: it's a great way to start and end the work day -- you get to be outside, zone-out and think about everything or nothing, see all the latest changes in your neighborhood(s), get a little exercise, and feel good about yourself for the small part you're doing to reduce oil consumption & pollution.

What are some of the challenges you have experienced, and how have you overcome them?
We've moved a few times over the years and it sometimes takes awhile to find the optimum route in to work. Obviously some roads are more congested than you might think, and vice versa, so it takes some experimenting to find the "path of least resistance". Another challenge is the occasional rude driver who cuts you off or yells obscenities, and it takes some self-control to keep your cool (I don't always succeed). Finally, sometimes you go through spells where you get a lot of flat tires, which are no fun to change in the dark or on cold/wet days; I've found that having good quality tires (not just tubes) helps, and it's important to replace them when your old ones show signs of significant wear.

What is it that keeps you going, especially when the going is tough (weather, darkness, inertia, etc)?
The only time I really think twice about riding is when it's been raining for days on end and I get tired of putting on and taking off wet rain gear. However, I'd feel pretty wimpy if I actually drove the car to work if there wasn't a particular reason to do so (e.g. having it serviced), so I always manage to guilt myself into it.

How do you choose your route (most direct, least traffic, most scenic, etc)?
As I mentioned before, I always look for the roads with the least amount of traffic, or the best (widest, cleanest) bike paths. Right now, I have the best of both worlds.

What style of bike do you ride to commute?
I've always ridden a hybrid/city type bike. Smooth, medium-width tires, plenty of gears, and a sturdy frame.

Any words of wisdom for the beginning practical cyclist?
Start out riding on fair-weather days when there's plenty of light in the morning and at night. Go at your own pace! There is ALWAYS someone slower than you and two that are faster. Don't trust any cars, even if you have the right of way -- assume they don't see you.

What’s your favorite thing about practical cycling and/or the BCC?
I just love being outside and getting a little exercise before and after work.

1 comment:

Kim H. said...

Wow!What a great role model for us all. Thanks for the encouragement and good advice.