|Maxine on her bike in Portland|
As the librarian for the Olympia Mountaineers, I make sure that we have a great selection of books for cycling, including how-to’s for Urban Cycling and great maps for biking in Europe, USA, and elsewhere. I love to help people get started in biking especially those who don’t seem to be “the type”. I was an earlier “adopter” of Warm Showers, and have virtually never driven to work over my entire career. A late bloomer, I was the last kid in my neighborhood who could balance on a bike. While in high school in Maryland, I heard of some kids who had biked to Canada. I was enthralled! For years I couldn’t find anyone to tour with, so finally I just went by myself…took 20 years to work up the desire enough to not worry about having a partner. My first bike tour was for 3 months, alone, camping, in Europe. I have never stopped since then. For that first tour I starting in Warsaw and biked through Lithuania to my Grandmother’s home town (think 1899) in Latvia. It was hard to find maps, so I just used a compass. Towns were too far apart so I slept in fields. I’m not strong or fast, but, who cares? Smile, you can go biking!
- What is your age, roughly speaking? 61 1/2
- What is your occupation or area of study? Geology and making tile murals.
- How many years have you been getting around by bike? 54
- What got you started riding your bike to get around (practical cycling)? That’s how everyone went places, especially the play ground. Was just totally normal.
- What are some of the challenges you have experienced, and how have you overcome them? Noise! Haven’t overcome it. And I can’t remember how to put the chain back on when I need to clean it or when I travel; I carry a picture or find another bike to copy.
- What is your most frequent destination on your bike? Anyplace with food.
- How did you hear about the Bicycle Commuter Contest? Don’t remember, didn’t the contest start with the beginning of time?
- How many times have you participated in the Bicycle Commuter Contest? Around 10 times? 20? Don’t remember…it’s like other holidays, Black History Month, Bike Commuter Month.
- Describe your current average or usual trip (distance, terrain, urban/rural, etc.) 12 miles. We either bike downtown and have the Ames hill or we head for yoga and cross over Woodard Bay, which means a big hill on either side plus 2 more. I do feel them!
- How have you adapted your habits to make practical cycling work for you? I make sure I have enough time to bike instead of drive. I probably do less errands in a day as it takes longer and less storage area to carry things. Good side, is that I have more days in which I have a place to go, to do those other errands. Someday I will get a trailer.
- What are some of the benefits you have experienced from commuting by bike? Less stress! Plus, I get my exercise and my good citizenship and my chores (or commute) all done at the same time. Plus more money in my pocket; less spent on cars and such. I didn’t buy a car until I was 25; I saved lots of money from 19 to 25 and it’s my retirement. Thousands of dollars became tens of thousands of dollars over time.
- What is it that keeps you going, especially when the going is tough (weather, darkness, inertia, etc)? Bad weather does stop me; I stay home or time my rides for better weather. I don’t experience inertia. Would be nice to perhaps sometime; maybe I would read more.
- How do you choose your route (most direct, least traffic, most scenic, etc)? My riding partner likes less traffic, when he wins we take the bike trail; I like to see flowers and houses, so when I win we take less traveled roads. On my own, I just mix it up and go for variety.
- What style of bike do you ride to commute? Upright road bike style, steel, 3 by 9 speed with a big granny gear.
- Any words of wisdom for the beginning practical cyclist? Talk to people who you see riding. Have an open mind. Buy a bike from a bike store not a department store so that it’s has decent components and therefore easy to maintain. A cheap bike is one that is expensive because it won’t get ridden.
- What’s your favorite thing about practical cycling and/or the BCC? Free treats at the food COOP. We treat our foreign vacations much like we treat our town; go hither and yon by bike. We can see more things, smell and feel the air, and meet more local people.