Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 BCC Rider Profile# 3 Anne Marie

We're interviewing a few intrepid practical cyclists who commute by bike year-round, to find out how they do it! 
* What is your age, roughly speaking? 39
* What is your occupation or area of study? Pre-nursing student and Navy Reservist
* What is your most frequent destination on your bike? School - preschool for my son, and SPSCC for me
* How did you hear about the BCC? Not sure, but we moved to Olympia in March 2012 and I tend to notice things that have to do with bicycles. I probably googled it after seeing signs around town.
* How many times have you participated in the Bicycle Commuter Contest? This year will be my first. I am looking forward to it.
* What got you started riding your bike to get around (practical cycling)? When I lived in Germany a few years ago, my office was within 2 miles of my apartment. I started biking to work then and realized I was much happier than when I drove. We moved to the DC area after that, and I started to hate driving more because of the traffic congestion there. After moving here, we decided to try being a one-car family to save money, so my commitment to daily cycling became much greater.

* How many years have you been getting around by bike? 4 or 5. 
* Describe your current average or usual trip (distance, terrain, urban/rural, etc.): To get to my son's preschool, it's a little over 8 miles cycling, mostly on the Chehalis-Western and Woodland trails. It's a great, peaceful ride, and I don't have to worry about traffic much. We don't always take that route, though, especially when the weather is nasty. We might bike 2 miles to get downtown, hop on the bus to warm up for a few minutes, and then bike about 4 more miles to his school. 
* How have you adapted your habits to make practical cycling work for you?    I am pretty compulsive about checking the weather now. Little things like knowing what hours it's going to rain or how windy it's going to be matter a lot more when you're out in the elements than when you're protected by a car. 
* What are some of the benefits you have experienced from commuting by bike? My son is my commuting partner - he sits in a front-mounted seat near my handlebars - and I love spending the time with him. On our morning commute, we might see ducks, geese, horses, cows and bulls, and who knows what else. It's wonderful to have the time to see nature together and to be able to talk about it. Another thing I love about getting around by bike is the ease of it. I used to get so stressed by driving, irritated by trying to find a parking spot, and so on. I do still get irritated by drivers sometimes, but the enjoyment of being on a bike more than balances it out. I don't miss the stress of driving at all. 
*What are some of the challenges you have experienced, and how have you overcome them? Getting flat tires. Still working on that one - I have yet to fix one on my own. Investing in some good, puncture-resistant tires makes a huge difference. 
* What is it that keeps you going, especially when the going is tough (weather, darkness, inertia, etc)? Driving is not an option a lot of times (my husband takes the car to work), so it's pretty simple: I just have to bike if I want to go anywhere. Especially if I am with my son, I try to have fun no matter what the conditions. We sing songs and try to take note of interesting things along the way. 
* How do you choose your route (most direct, least traffic, most scenic, etc)? Usually the most direct. I try to stay on the less busy streets, though, if I can. Olympia is a great town for cycling though with all the bike lanes.
* What style of bike do you ride to commute? Until recently, I was riding a 1953 Raleigh 3 speed. I just had the fine folks at Joy Ride build up my dream commuter bike, though - an 8-speed Soma Buena Vista.
* Any words of wisdom for the beginning practical cyclist? Start small, and work your way into daily commuting. Think about time, too. You may think it's faster to go places by car, but in reality, it's often not. If you're doing stuff around town, once you factor in waiting at stoplights and finding parking, taking your bike can be a faster alternative. 
* What's your favorite thing about practical cycling and/or the BCC? Being on a bike is fun, pure and simple. There are moments of pure exhilaration to be had just flying down hills. Plus, at the end of the day, it feels pretty good to think, "Hey, I biked 20, 30 (or however many) miles today."
* What would you say to someone who feels that it's not do-able to bike through the winter?  It's all about planning and having the proper clothing. If you're dressed right, most of the time the weather will not bother you much. When things are really crappy, there's always the bus, and it's easy to use in conjunction with your bike. Most importantly, always be safe. Lights, reflectors, bright clothing. The Pacific Northwest is a great place to be on a bike year-round because of the mild winter! 

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