Bicycle Commuter Profile: Aaron P.

Name: Aaron P.
Location: Belmont, MA, USA
Started bike commuting: 2001
Commute distance (one way): 6 miles

Describe your commute: My commute route was selected almost entirely for efficiency. Near my house the roads are quiet suburban streets and the first few intersections have crossing guards who insist on stopping traffic for me (even though I am, technically, “traffic” myself.) The roads get progressively larger and busier pretty much the whole way to work, culminating in the Longwood Medical Area, a complex area full of ambulances, people visiting for the first time, unsure of where they’re going, and lots of other cyclists.

I’m blessed with a secured bike cage provided by my employers and am often lucky enough to ride with a coworker for the ride home.

Describe your bike and accessories: April through November I ride a 2010 60cm Rivendell Sam Hillborne. I have SKS longboard fenders, a Brooks b17 saddle, Ortlieb backroller panniers, and really enjoy myself. Sadly, in the winter I don’t ride it. Instead, I ride a Trek xo-1 cyclocross bike with studded tires, fenders, but no rack (no mounts). This bike is bomb- and rust-proof, which makes it great fun, but nothing like the Sam.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: To me, the most important thing in driving also holds true for cycling: Always have at least one way out. If you’re tailgating a car, you’re not leaving yourself a way around that car if it stops suddenly. Splitting lanes of moving traffic leaves little room to maneuver when there’s a surprise (and there will be a surprise, one day). Same goes for riding close to parked cars and their doors, recklessly running lights, etc.

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Bicycle Commuter Profile: Kelly

Name: Kelly
Location: Lakewood, CO, US
Started bike commuting: 2008
Commute distance (one way): 9 miles

Describe your commute: My commute is a mix of road via bike lanes and bike path. I am going from the suburbs to a downtown city center. I have a little elevation gain, which is on the way home.

Describe your bike and accessories: My daily commuter is a vintage 1980 Holdsworth. I have it outfitted with a friction 14-speed drivetrain and Silver bar-end shifters. I also have a rear rack (vintage Jim Blackburn) with two bags (Axiom Cartier DLX Panniers). In the winter I just add my lights (Planet Bike Blaze) and change the tires to knobbies (Kenda K161 Knobby 27 1-3/8″) when the snow starts.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Here is my list of things to keep in mind: Be consistent with your bike routine and do not talk yourself out of riding some days (its too cold, I’m sleepy, I have a morning meeting). Be prepared, you should be able to fix a flat, add or remove layers of clothing, and have water, and lights for night riding.

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Bicycle Commuter Profile: Criss Rosenlof

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Criss Rosenlof (Papa Bear)
Location: West Valley City, Utah, USA
Started bike commuting: About 6 years ago, faithfully for about 1 1/2 years (year – round)
Commute distance (one way): 11.9 miles

Describe your commute: I ride the gamut. I have heavy traiffic roads with next to no shoulder, bike lanes and even the option of a dedicated bike/hike trail along the Jordan River in Salt Lake City. I have about 400 feet of elevation gain, but it all happens in a 1 mile space at the end of my ride into work.

Describe your bike and accessories: I ride a Cannondale Quick hybrid bike with trekking handlebars and a rear rack with trunk and panniers. I use 700 x 25c slick road tires during good weather and 700 x 28c commuter tires when it’s mucky out. I also have front and rear fenders to keep the skunk stripe to a minimum and I use a Night Rider 300 lumen helmet mounted light for riding in the early morning.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Just turn the pedals. It isn’t a race. You don’t have to be fast, and you don’t have to wear any special gear. I wear cycling shorts/tights because they are comfortable, but if you’re not comfortable in lycra, wear what you want! Get a good headlight/tail light for the dark times, and get comfortable riding on the shoulder of traffic. Also, if you’re worried about the distances involved, ride part way, and take a bus or train the other part.

[Visit our Bicycle Commuter Profiles page to add your profile to the collection. —ed.]

Bicycle Commuter Profile: Annie

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Annie
Location: Burlington, Vermont
Started bike commuting: 1981
Commute distance (one way): 11 miles

Describe your commute: I am currently a reverse commuter, leaving the city in the morning for a ride southward to my workplace in the country. It is on 3 miles of bike path, but mostly narrow country roads. The last mile is on a dirt road. I do not commute from November to March, mostly because of the darkness and northeast road conditions.

Describe your bike and accessories: For years I used a Trek 830 mountain bike with narrow tires. For the past two years I ride a Miyata 610 with mustache handlebars. I use small rear panniers to hold a change of clothes, lunch, a trusty camera, and other essentials.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Ride when you can: to the grocery store, with your children to the park. Ride a bike that you like. Forget the fancy gear. Use a backpack or whatever bag suits your fancy. Regular bike commuting doesn’t happen in a day, but rather as your comfort grows.

[Visit our Bicycle Commuter Profiles page to add your profile to the collection. —ed.]

Bicycle Commuter Profile: Winky in Vancouver

Name: Winky in Vancouver
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Started bike commuting: Over 15 years ago. 5 years in Vancouver
Commute distance (one way): 25km

Describe your commute: I roll down to Marine Drive in West Vancouver near Lighthouse park. I then head East along Marine Drive to Dundarave and Ambleside. Traffic is light this time of the morning and the rolling hills keep it interesting (and warm in the winter). Pretty views of the ocean and often a great sunrise framing the bridge, park and city. I cut around the back of the Park Royal Mall onto a short shared-use path and then up onto Lions Gate Bridge. Heading over the bridge I am able to appreciate some of the most glorious sunrises over the harbor and city with Mount Baker often spectacular in the background.

Once over the bridge I cut right into Stanley Park. I’ve never understood my fellow cyclists who choose the bumpy, noisy concrete causeway footpath that has been re-purposed as a multiple-use path. The cycle around Stanley Park with the ocean on my right is just beautiful in the early morning light. I usually have it completely to myself (save for the odd Racoon family).

Out of the park and under the main road into Coal Harbour via short section of bike path. I then follow the waterfront streets around Coal Harbour into the downtown area. A quick couple of blocks via the new segregated bike lanes to my office and I’m there!

Describe your bike and accessories: Cannondale T2000 tourer. Tons of reflective tape, a few rear flashers and a recharcheable LED front light. Full fenders for the Vancouver winter’s liquid sunshine. Gear is carried in a small backpack. I pay for laundry services downtown to avoid having to haul business shirts to-and-fro (and because we hate ironing at our place).

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Don’t worry about what bike you use. Don’t wear too much; you will overheat. Have two pairs of shoes for wet weather; they don’t dry fast enough. Recognize that it is only water; it washes right off. Don’t worry about staying dry; stay warm instead. Make choices that make bike commuting a logical choice. These include, live in the right place relative to your job, don’t own a car, make the alternative to getting on your bike in the morning less convenient.

[Visit our Bicycle Commuter Profiles page to add your profile to the collection. —ed.]

Bicycle Commuter Profile: Dylan MacDonald

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Dylan MacDonald
Location: San Francisco, CA USA
Started bike commuting: At least 30 years. Growing up in Manhattan, I used to ride my bike to middle school.
Commute distance (one way): 6 miles

Describe your commute: I have the most beautiful urban commute imaginable. I enter the Presidio and ride up, past the Presidio golf course to the very top of the ridge. From there it’s a fast quarter mile downhill to Crissy Field, right next to the bay. The Golden Gate Bridge is to my left and the renovated buildings of this former army base are to my right.

I ride out of the Presidio, along the Marina Green and then into Fort Mason, another former military outpost, that is also next to the Bay. From there I am back on city streets, riding through the Fisherman’s Wharf area all the way down to the Embarcadero, the boulevard that runs along San Francisco’s eastern edge.

After about a half a mile I pass the beautifully renovated Ferry Building and, if it’s Tuesday, stop at the farmer’s market to get my daughter some grapes. From there it’s another 1/3 mile or so to her daycare, in an office building in downtown San Francisco. I reverse the route for the ride home.

Describe your bike and accessories: Six months ago I invested in a Bullitt cargo bike, made by Larry vs. Harry of Denmark. I knew I wanted to ride around with my daughter and I was really uncomfortable with idea of using a trailer in the city. It was the best $3000 I ever spent.

For her seat I cannibalized a bike trailer I had for its sling seat with a five point harness. I then worked with a local metal worker to fashion some struts that would attach the seat to the attachment points on the Bullitt. Final touch was a large plastic storage bin that happened to fit perfectly in the cargo area of the Bullitt.

My daughter wears a helmet, sunglasses (a cop who stopped me recommended I have some for her) and a windproof blanket for those foggy mornings. I always keep a grocery bag folded up in the Bullitt in case I need to pick up anything at Trader Joe’s on the way home.

I have a Planet Bike Blinky Super Flash for the rear and Planet Bike Blaze for the front. I just bought an additional 1 watt Super Flash to clip onto my backpack for even more visibility in the winter darkness.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: Ride hard (but safe). Riding hard means you get there quicker and you’ll get a workout at the same time.

[Visit our Bicycle Commuter Profiles page to add your profile to the collection. —ed.]

Bicycle Commuter Profile: Jake Dean

Bicycle Commuter Profile

Name: Jake Dean
Location: Misawa, Japan
Started bike commuting: 2010
Commute distance (one way): 4 mi.

Describe your commute: I live and work on base, so its a fairly quick ride (15-20 min) ride on either the road or the multi-use path that parallels it. Being a military base, the path is almost always being used by people running for morning PT, so I generally stick to the roads.

Describe your bike and accessories: My commuter is a 2009 Marin Hamilton 29er, WTB saddle, Planet Bike headlamp and tail light. I recently added the rear rack and fashioned panniers out of a couple of attache bags so I didn’t have to carry everything in a backpack. This bike is the complete opposite of the shiny Soma Stanyan/Velo Orange bike I’ve just built, but it’s 90% utility and 10% looks.

What bit of advice would you like to share with new bike commuters?: If you can, change up your route to avoid getting bored with your commute. Unfortunately, I don’t have this option and I wish that I did, Other than that, park your bike where you can see it throughout the workday – it serves as a reminder that there are more fun things to look forward to.

[Visit our Bicycle Commuter Profiles page to add your profile to the collection. —ed.]

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