Monday, April 6, 2015

2015 Commuter Profile Number 3: Linda

  • What is your age, roughly speaking? 
  •  I’m a fifty-two year old woman
  • What is your occupation or area of study? I work for the Family Support Center as a Family Resource Coordinator. I have spent my adult life parenting and supporting other parents in a variety of ways. I volunteer for two non-profits that support’s families as well as working for a non-profit.
  • What is your most frequent destination on your bike? I do occasional recreational biking with my partner on the weekend. However mostly I commute to work three to four days a week as I’m part time and only work four days a week.
  • How did you hear about the Bicycle Commuter Contest? My partner and I have five children between us and three of our children participated in the BCC when they were teens and each of them won in their categories.
  • How many times have you participated in the Bicycle Commuter Contest? Last year was my first time participating in the contest; my previous jobs have been too far for me to bicycle commute. I have never been very physical or athletic and I hadn’t bicycled since I was in my twenties.
  • What got you started riding your bike to get around (practical cycling)? I’ve always dreamed of bicycle commuting so when I began this job in July of 2012 I decided to bike to the bus which is about two miles. After doing that for a year I had loaded the bike on the bus and brought it downtown to do some errands after work. When I was done I decided to ride home as it was a beautiful summer day. It was so fun that I biked to work in the morning and I was launched.
  • How many years have you been getting around by bike? 2.5 years
  • Describe your current average or usual trip (distance, terrain, urban/rural, etc.) I live near the airport in South County and bike 8 miles each way to and from work. I start on rural roads with no shoulders but low traffic as well. I then pass state offices and Tumwater HS and pick up a bike lane. Then I turn onto Capital Way at Lee Street in Tumwater and have to ride in traffic for several blocks before the bike lane picks up again. When I turn on “E” Street,  I have to pull a short hill without a bike lane and pick up a lane again after I get past Falls Terrace which I follow along Deschutes Parkway all the way into downtown. Merging into traffic on Fifth Ave is not two unpleasant at ten in the morning. Since I work 10-3 I am commuting between 9 and 10 am and 3-5 pm. These are very pleasant times to be on the road after/before the main commute times. When I get out of work late or have errands the commute is more stressful with all the increased traffic. 
  • What are some of the benefits you have experienced from commuting by bike? I feel much more rugged and capable being able to get myself to and from work on my own power! 
  • What are some of the challenges you have experienced, and how have you overcome them? When I have to ride during commuting hours I find it much more stressful. I don’t feel I have as much flexibility when I’m in traffic: I am somewhat wobbly and feel pressured when I’m passed closely, I’m not real strong so I can’t muscle myself out of the way or bike real fast to keep myself safe.  I do have one block on Capital way Southbound between Trosper and Lee Street that I bike on the sidewalk because I can’t keep up with traffic in this very busy block. I also try to avoid biking during peak times so I don’t have to be out in heavy traffic. Two of my bike lanes are sandwiched between parked cars and traffic lanes and I find this alarming. I often ride in the traffic lane in these areas rather than in the dangerous “door zone”.
  • What is it that keeps you going, especially when the going is tough (weather, darkness, inertia, etc)?      I have given myself permission to ride the bus (or even drive!) if it’s raining in the morning when I’m ready to leave. However I will sometimes ride home in the evening in rain as I can change into dry clothes more easily when I get home. Because of the time of my commute I rarely ride in the dark which is more comfortable for me. The last two winters have been fairly mild and I haven’t missed all that many days to rainy mornings. I have biked through the cold mornings, they’re challenging to get going but also so fun and invigorating! The coldest I’ve been out in is I think 20 degrees.
  • How do you choose your route (most direct, least traffic, most scenic, etc)? I think my route is the most direct and the least traffic with the possible exception of Capital way and I’m so much slower than traffic that that doesn’t feel like a good option although I have come home this way a few times. I love going around Capital Lake on Deschutes Parkway and through Tumwater Historical Park and Interpretive Park on the lake. I’m a naturalist at heart and watching the birds and plants though all their changes is a real joy.
  • What style of bike do you ride to commute? I believe my bike is a hybrid bike with a comfy seat.
  • Any words of wisdom for the beginning practical cyclist? Give it a try on the way home from work until you feel comfortable and can figure what clothes you’ll need and how long it will take before trying to get to work on time and presentable. I don’t wear any special biking clothes, just my work clothes which is why I don’t generally bike to work on rainy mornings.
  • What’s your favorite thing about practical cycling and/or the BCC? I love leaving my car languishing at home and using my own power to get me around!

1 comment:

Leslie Halstrom said...

This was a very helpful post for me, as a non-athletic, middle-aged lady who is attempting bicycle commuting. Great tips, "permission", and inspiration. Thank you!