Location: Minneapolis, MN USA
Started bike commuting: 2005
Commute distance (one way): 14 miles
Describe your commute: Going to work in the morning I put my bike on the bus. All the Metro buses here have bike racks mounted on them. I don’t have a locker room at work so I can’t arrive sweaty.
I have several routes home. For a scenic route I ride through Kenwood, around part of Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun before getting on to France Ave. For a fast route I ride the Cedar trail out of downtown Mpls to France Ave.
My ride, no matter which route I take, is enjoyable except that the last 3/4 mile is all up steep hills. Bike commuting has helped me stay in shape but I doubt I’ve done anything to help the environment because my bus route operates with or without me on the bus. So my commuting really is just for my own personal benefit.
Describe your bike and accessories: Specialized Sirrus Elite with Planet Bike fenders and lights. My latest tires have reflective sidewalls. I have a rear rack to which I clip my Jandd briefcase/pannier. I switched to BMX style flat pedals so I can ride with any type of shoes.
What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Don’t worry about how you look. I used to change after work into bike shoes, jersey and shorts. I got tired of carrying home work clothes and shoes. Now all I do is is switch to shorts and wear the rest of my work clothes on my ride. I dress business casual so it’s no big deal wearing a polo shirt instead of a bike jersey.
I also think I get a little more respect from car drivers when I look like a commuter instead of a racer.
[Visit our Bicycle Commuter Profiles page to add your profile to the collection. —ed.]
Breezer’s new website is live and showing their 2012 line-up. Of particular interest is the new “Downtown” line of steel-framed city bikes. The Downtown 8 features a Nexus 8 drivetrain, chainguard, rear rack, and fenders at $829.99. The “Beltway” belt drive model is listed in the main menu, but the page is not yet displayed.
For 2012, Trek is offering the Cocoa, a Dutch-inspired 3-speed city bike. Specs include a Shimano Nexus 3-speed internal gear hub, chain case, skirt guard, fenders, kickstand, retro saddle, and understated graphics. Retail is $609.99.
Trek Cocoa →
The Source Eleven is Specialized’s new top-of-the-line commuter for 2012. Specs include Alfine 11 internal gear hub, Gates CenterTrack belt drive, Alfine hydraulic disc brakes, Supernova Infinity 8 dynamo hub, Infinity E3 front and rear lights, Pletscher kickstand with integrated kickstand plate, alloy fenders, alloy belt guard, Racktime rear rack, and internally routed wiring. Retail is $2750.
The physical benefits of regular exercise are universally accepted, and the mental health benefits—particularly as they relate to anxiety and depression—are becoming more widely acknowledged as well. According to a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting in 2010, we may be able to add anger management to the list. From the ACSM:
A research team assessed angry mood and emotions in 16 collegiate men high in “trait anger.” The subjects viewed anger-inducing scenes before and after 30 minutes of leg-cycling exercise at 65 percent of their maximal oxygen uptake. The investigators measured oscillatory brain activity, the event-related late-positive potential (LPP), and self-reports of anger intensity during picture viewing.
“The major novel finding from this study is that exercise protected against angry mood induction, almost like taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack,” said lead investigator Nathaniel Thom, Ph.D., a stress physiologist.
In another paper, published in 2005 in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research, researchers from the University of Essex confirmed something that most of us bicycle riders already knew intuitively: as little as five minutes a day of exercise in a natural environment can improve mental health. The activities studied included walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming. From the study:
Our findings suggest that exercise in pleasant environments may have a greater effect than
exercise alone on blood pressure, an important measure of cardiovascular health, and on
measures that are relevant to mental health. We conclude that green exercise has important
implications for public and environmental health. A fitter and emotionally more content
population would clearly cost the economy less as well as reducing individual human
The message here? Ride your bike and participate in active transportation on a daily basis to be a happier and healthier person!
Mind the Gap is a multi-platform documentary series produced and directed by Laura J. Lukitsch, founder of Global Performance Media. The project looks at sustainable urban transportation and the challenges we face as we move away from car-centricity toward more livable cities. The webisode portion of the project includes 5 short films on urban biking and car-free living.
Mind the Gap →
Mind the Gap Webisodes on Vimeo →
[via Utility Cycling]