What is your most frequent destination on your bike? Hard to pick just one…library, downtown Farmer’s Market, West side Farmer’s Market, and Coop are probably the top 4.
How did you hear about the Bicycle Commuter Contest? I moved here in 2011 and heard about it soon after…probably on a flyer at the library.
How many times have you participated in the Bicycle Commuter Contest? This is my 3rd year.
What got you started riding your bike to get around (practical cycling)? I used to ride my bike for exercise and training for a triathlon…that was over 10 years ago. Then I had a kid and put my bike away in the garage and kind of forgot about it. I lived in Seattle and thought bike riding in the traffic looked terrifying. Moving to Olympia made me believe I could do it again. The drivers are much more friendly and aware of bikers, and it’s so much easier to navigate this area. I went to Deschutes Cyclery thinking I might need to buy a new ‘commuter’ bike…and I met Adam, who helped me tune up my old bike and make it more errand friendly by adding things like bike racks and fenders. Since I work from home, I use my bike to run errands and commute to client meetings. When I heard about BCC I realized I could participate by choosing to use my bike for any errands less than 5 miles. This year I’ve started a team called “Roaming Home” and I hope other cyclists who work from home will join me. (Editor's note: To join Andrea's Roaming Home team, simply include that team name in the provided space on your sign-up form, whether online or on the paper form)
Describe your current average or usual trip (distance, terrain, urban/rural, etc.) From my house on the Westside to downtown Olympia Farmer’s Market…I think it’s 13-14 miles round-trip? Easy ride down, harder on the way back when you have to go uphill and have a basket full of food.
How have you adapted your habits to make practical cycling work for you? I don’t wear bike clothes! It’s so much easier for me to use my bike to run errands if I feel like I can just hop on and go. I can wander into local businesses or meetings without being swathed in lycra and bike shoes. You will even sometimes see me in a skirt and heels on my bike if I’m on my way to a client meeting.
What are some of the benefits you have experienced from commuting by bike? It really helped me learn how to navigate the area when I moved here, much more so than being in a car and relying on GPS. I also spend more time with the people I am meeting, and enjoy sitting down and having a cup of coffee or kombucha as a break between my errands. So I feel more connected to the community and the people I am meeting with.
What are some of the challenges you have experienced, and how have you overcome them? My main challenge is rain and darkness. I don’t like riding in those conditions. I haven’t overcome them…I simply ride during the day in the good weather! April - October is my primary riding time.
What is it that keeps you going, especially when the going is tough (weather, darkness, inertia, etc)? That sense of freedom when I get on the bike is always what keeps me going. It reminds me of when I was 12 years old and I got my first 10 speed bike. That summer my best friend and I rode between 20-25 miles every day. We left home in the morning with a dime in our shoes (for a pay phone emergency), lunch in our baskets, and rode ALL OVER New Orleans where I lived. A different time :-)
How do you choose your route (most direct, least traffic, most scenic, etc)? I’m lazy…the easiest route usually gets me!
What style of bike do you ride to get around? I have a Rodriguez road bike from R&E Cycle in Seattle that was custom built for me 12 years ago.
Any words of wisdom for the beginning practical cyclist? Start small and reward yourself. My first rides were from my house to the Westside Co-op for a few grocery items. Easy trip, bike lanes most of the way. Reward came at the co-op…for me that’s anything from Peace Love and Raw or a Magic Kombucha.
What’s your favorite thing about practical cycling and/or the BCC? I love days when I can run 5-6 errands and never use the car. Bank, farmer’s market, library, post office, school, husband’s office…errands used to feel like a chore but biking adds a real element of fun. I love the shirt/poster designs for the BCC and the sense of community knowing that everyone is riding together.