Bicycle Commuter Profile: Liesl

Bicycle Commuter

Name: Liesl
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Started bike commuting: 2004
Commute distance (one way): 10 miles

Describe your commute: I ride from the Powderhorn Park neighborhood in south Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul in all four seasons. The first third of my ride is through elm-vaulted residential streets. These streets are flat but due to our winters, have lots of potholes to watch out for. Then I get buffeted by wind as I cross the Mighty Mississippi and head into an affluent area of St. Paul along Summit Avenue. Beautiful old stout mansions of stone and brick, including the Governor’s Mansion–which means it gets plowed right away in the winter. Then I drop down a San Francisco class hill to downtown St. Paul to the Science Museum of Minnesota where I work. I like that the big hill is down on the way there if I’m running late, and right at the beginning on the way home–I get it out of the way, and in the winter, I generate enough body heat to keep me warm for many miles.

Describe your bike and accessories: I have three bikes that I commute with: 2 single speeds and a touring bike. The touring bike, shown in the photo, is a 2005 Rivendell Suluki set up with wooden fenders, a Nitto Mini Front Rack and Baggins Li’l loafer on the front, and a Nitto Mark’s Rack on the back with a Carradice Barley saddle bag or an old Baggins Adam saddlebag depending on what I need to carry. The first single speed is a Rivendell Proto-Bleriot set up with a White Industries rear ENO hub. It’s minimal and light, so just set up with Keven bags front at back. The second single is a 1986 Trek 620. This is the winter beater bike, also set up minimally.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Winter bike commuting is a blast–do not be afraid! Dress as you would for cross-country skiing. Make sure you’re a little cold as you set out, or else you’ll get hot within a mile. Get really good lights and reflectors, and knobby tires. Studs for ice and more than a little snow.

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