Bicycle Commuter Profile: Rootchopper

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Rootchopper
Location: Alexandria, VA, USA
Started bike commuting: 1990 or thereabouts
Commute distance (one way): 15

Describe your commute: Most of my commute is along the Potomac River along the Mount Vernon Trail. I ride through a bird sanctuary, a park, an old city (Old Town, Alexandria), past marinas, a power plant and a very busy airport. As I cross the Potomac River I get a panoramic view of many of the monuments. In spring time I ride beneath a million cherry blossoms. I end my ride on a bridge high above a very active (and sometimes, er, aromatic) fish market. The wildlife unfolds all along my route. Geese, ducks, egrets, cormorants, herons, ospreys, deer, bunnies, a beaver or two, and Alex and Belle our resident bald eagles.

Describe your bike and accessories: Most days I ride my 1993 Specialized Sequoia. I have Ortlieb red rear roll top panniers, a red Ortlieb handlebar bag, a Brooks Champion Flyer saddle,and barcon shifters mated to Shimano 105 front and rear derailers. I swapped out the stock chain rings to bring my gear inch range down to a knee friendly 20-95 (or so), following guidance of the late, great Sheldon Brown. I have black Planet Bike fenders for and aft. Other goodies include a wedge saddle bag (can’t remember the manufacturer), a Zefal frame pump, Panaracer Passela Tires with Tourguard, and a Blackburn (I think) rear rack.

For lighting I use a Planet Bike Blinky and a Light and Motion Stella mounted to my helmet.

Over the years I have amassed quite an array of all season bike clothing, much of it not particularly cycling oriented. I use whatever works even it it looks shabby.

When it floats my boat, I sometimes ride one of the Nellies. Little Nellie is my Bike Friday New World Tourist. Big Nellie is my Tour Easy recumbent.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Just get started. All the things you worry about are easily fixable. Find a safe route (even if it isn’t the most direct one) that you feel comfortable riding. Ride a reliable bike. Learn how to fix a flat. And wipe that smile off your face before your first meeting of the day. You’ve just taken a lousy part of your day and made it a joy.

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