Wednesday, June 1, 2016

2016 Commuter Profile Number 4: David

  • What is your age, roughly speaking?  I’m 35
  • What is your occupation or area of study? I’m an Office Specialist and a full-time student at online college WGU pursuing a Bachelor’s degree of Science: IT Security, though I’m in transition mode to starting a new position as a Project Coordinator.
  • What is your most frequent destination on your bike?  So far since getting my bike in February: Work / Home / a taproom or brewery in between
  • How did you hear about the Bicycle Commuter Contest? I first heard about it about a decade ago when working for the State.
  • How many times have you participated in the Bicycle Commuter Contest? This is my 2nd.
  • What got you started riding your bike to get around (practical cycling)? At the time in 2004, my budget was tight, gas prices were high, and between my bike and a regional rail line, getting to work without using my car was the most practical way to go.  This was back east in Philly.  I’d ride Lancaster Avenue from West Philly out of town into Wayne, PA.  More accurately, I’d ride to a train that took me close to my job in Wayne, but after work, I would ride all the way home, a 14 mile trip, not caring about my sweat build-up.
  • How many years have you been getting around by bike? With years of inactivity in between, about 12.
  • Describe your current average or usual trip (distance, terrain, urban/rural, etc.) The distance between home and work is about 10 miles with a significant change in elevation along the way.  Mid-month my work location will change which will shorten my trip and allow for me to ride more often due to that change.  One way will be 3 miles come May 9th.
  • How have you adapted your habits to make practical cycling work for you? I consider how I can make a trip I need to make, be to a place that is in riding distance, instead of driving distance.
  • What are some of the benefits you have experienced from commuting by bike? I clear my mind when I’m cycling in a way that doesn’t happen when I’m driving.  I feel accomplished when I arrive at my destination proud of the fact that I got by on my own fuel and burned calories along the way, making room for the beer calories I’ll take in later.  I believe it’s a good look too, setting a good example: representing a healthy alternative for more people to take advantage of.  It’s such a nice look when I see pictures or footage of a strong bicycling community in other countries where the primary form of transportation is bicycling.  Those people often look quite fit, happy, and attractive.  What a testament to bicycling!
  • What are some of the challenges you have experienced, and how have you overcome them? Currently the challenge is the elements.  I’m really only inclined to ride when it’s not raining or super windy.  I bought fenders for my wheels so that if I get caught in a shower or riding after some rain has occurred, I don’t get my back or pants dirty from the surface water.  I’ll make it a point to take advantage of nice days to make up for the days I couldn’t ride due to the elements.
  • What is it that keeps you going, especially when the going is tough (weather, darkness, inertia, etc)? What keeps me going is realizing that the more I ride the more I enjoy it.  The longer I go between rides, the less motivated I am to get back out there because it hadn’t been a part of my recent routine.  I make it a point to get back out on my bike as soon as weather permits if it’d been nasty lately.
  • How do you choose your route (most direct, least traffic, most scenic, etc)? I like to take the scenic route, which is what bicycling generally is anyway.  Traffic doesn’t bother me much.  I realize it’s a concern, however, Lancaster Avenue from Wayne to West Philly had no bike lane and the speed of the drivers was usually around 40-45 mph.  Perhaps it was my natural youthful ignorance that allowed me to simply trust drivers to not hit me, and realize that my only job is to maintain the smallest most fine line of real estate in my small crease of the roadway, ensuring that I don’t at any moment veer off to the left and possibly get clipped.  Worked out then.  There’s much more bike-friendly roads out here in the PNW.  Hence, the direct route, winds up being scenic anyways, and the traffic is rarely a factor.
  • What style of bike do you ride to commute? I have a road bike.
  • Any words of wisdom for the beginning practical cyclist? Stay alert and aware.  By doing so, you’ll be conscious of your surroundings and possible dangers.  Assume the worst possible scenario when it comes to something another driver may do, and plan on reacting to that.  More often than not, you won’t have to act on it, but it’s nice to be prepared.  It’s a good mental exercise to instill in your mental routine when you’re on the road on your bike.  Do this and you’ll also notice the scenic aspects of your trip simultaneously.
  • What’s your favorite thing about practical cycling and/or the BCC? My favorite thing about practical cycling is that you’re taking a trip that is a necessary trip and you’re making it free, fun, and fulfilling.  The BCC is awesome because it adds an element of competition to something that’s already beneficial.  Healthy competition is a contest where everyone wins, except those that don’t participate at all. Tsk tsk.

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