Location: Syracuse, NY
Started bike commuting: About 5 years ago
Commute distance (one way): Currently 13.5 miles
Describe your commute: I have a mixed commute. I drive to a parking lot about 7 miles from home. I ride on both roads and the Erie Canal towpath (stone dust path) into the city and work. Riding on the towpath eliminates having to ride in a lot of car traffic. I tend to carry lunch and a full change of work clothes. I have access to showers at work so I can ride in bike gear.
Describe your bike and accessories: 2011 Surly Cross Check, triple crank, 11-34 cassette, butterfly touring, a sprung Brooks saddle, Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (32), and Planet Bike fenders. I use an Ostrich front bag on a Velo Orange decaleur and a Nashbar garment bag pannier on a Tubus Logo rear rack.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Experiment with lots of different riding routes to and from work. Most of all be a very alert, courteous, and lawful bike rider; be someone others want to share the road with.
Breeze rides are “fun, free, informal bike rides for women” organized and funded by British Cycling. From the Breeze website:
The Breeze network from British Cycling is all about fun, local bike rides for women — and a whole range of support, training and ride opportunities too.
Breeze bike rides are for women, by women. The Breeze network is informal and relaxed. It’s what you want it to be. Breeze bike rides are free. Getting involved is easy.
Breeze is part of British Cycling’s commitment to getting more women riding bikes for fun, and encouraging more women to join British Cycling. Together we can change cycling for women. Be part of the Breeze network.
I’ve posted a new batch of Commuter Profiles. Look for more later this evening.
Name: Leon Webster
Location: St. Paul, MN USA
Started bike commuting: 1978 — in Indianapolis
Commute distance (one way): 7.5 miles
Describe your commute: Mostly Flat. 1/2 mile to the bike lane on Summit Ave. to Mississippi River Blvd. Cross the Mississippi on Lake st. Bridge, then take the Midtown Greenway (MUT) to LRT Trail (MUT) to down town MPLS. Finish with 3/4 mile in Downtown traffic.
Describe your bike and accessories: 2008 Salsa Casserole set up as a fixed gear bike. 700×28 Panaracer tires. Planet Bike “Cascadia” fenders. Acorn rear bag. Tubus Rack. Velo Orange leather saddle. Jandd Commuter brief case.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Hang in there! Commuting has gotten a lot easier since I started 33 years ago. Lots more bike lanes and bike commuters now than there used to be. Full Disclosure: I am beginning a leave of absence on June 2nd to ride my bike across the country. So I won’t be commuting this summer!
Location: Carrollton, Texas, USA
Started bike commuting: 2009
Commute distance (one way): 1.5 miles (no prize for shortest commute?)
Describe your commute: The commute begins on foot as I walk my bike and my son to the elementary school in our neighborhood. I then zip along side streets, and a few minutes later roll up to my office. Too easy. I even have space to park my bike indoors at the office.
Describe your bike and accessories: I commute on a 1971 Schwinn Suburban. It’s campus green and has five speeds. Other notes: original grips, new saddle, no rust, one original wheel, Schwalbe tires, old school dynamo light, fenders and a chain guard (of course), and affordable pedals. This gentleman’s bike performs best when paired with regular office clothes and a shoulder bag from L.L. Bean.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: You should expect a different frame of mind. Your brain and your attitude are adjusted when switching from the car to the bike.
Name: Eric Jenkins
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Started bike commuting: 20 years ago, in Vancouver, BC. Semi-regularily since then, every day in the last month. Only put spike tires on this past winter, drove much more in the winters previously.
Commute distance (one way): 7 miles
Describe your commute: Bike path along top of river valley and over a bridge, then on major streets through downtown to cross a major highway (with traffic lights!). Then empty resediential streets up to my work. 35 minutes to get there, as I travel pre-rush hour with very light traffic. Almost every street is a designated bike route.
On the way home, I am able to use one of the few segregated bike paths that allows counter travel down otherwise one-way streets. Although there are quite a few stop signs and non-priority traffic lights, in the afternoon rush hour the bike path is preferable to decidedly non-bikefreindly major streets. The bike path leads to a fantastic multi-use path that follows a ravine down to the river crossing, all very wide and bike-centric. One steep hill back up to the University area (1st or 2nd gear for me!) and back to designated bike paths all the way home. The university area is on very quiet tree-lined streets, looks very New England-y, and I pretend I am in the movie Breaking Away. ( I don’t think the movie was set in New England, but I’m a little US geographically challenged)
I work in long-term care, in a locked down dementia unit. I find the bike ride really gets me in a tranquil mood when I get to work, and calms me down after work. When driving the car, I can get quite testy either direction.
Describe your bike and accessories: Currently using an old Norco ten-speed I found in an alley put out with the garbage cans. Components are Suntour, early 80’s vintage. I fixed it up myself with parts from another old ten-speed, so getting the derailluers working properly is a learning experience as I’ve never really got into the nuts and bolts before now.
Front light is a Cygolite Expillon-250, which is more than enough light for me. Tail light is a Portland Design Works Radbot 1000, which is bright enough to be plainly seen, but not too bright as previous tail-lights have been. I’m very concerned about being seen in traffic, and especially in inclement weather. Also helmet front and rear lights.
I have a trunk bag on a rear rack to carry rain gear and extra sweaters, gloves, etc, as well as a patch kit. Removable Blackburn grocery pannier holds my lunch and coffee supplies, as well as a very full tool kit. I have been stranded by mechanical issues too many times, as I’ve usually had pretty bargain-basement commuter bikes.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Just do it, it’s not that hard. I’ve gotten at least one other person at my work riding their bike to work, one more to buy a bike, and one more on the way. Our city has terrible infrastructure problems, and the cars face grid-lock in every direction from our central location – many people are biking out of necessity. I’ve done it on absolutely no budget!