Drew Bryden is a 38 year old auto parts sales person that rides in Falmouth, MA. Here’s his commuter profile:
How long have you been a bike commuter?
I began riding my bicycles to work six or seven years ago. I have been a fair weather bicycle commuter since. By “fair weather,” I am admitting that I do not ride when severe storms are in the forecast, and I am not an all winter rider. Although I am geared up for winter riding, I have yet to attempt the ride when the thermometer dips well below freezing.
What do you do and what city do you bike commute?
I commute in Falmouth, Massachusetts, where I sell auto parts. Is there some conflict in riding my bicycle to an auto parts store each day in my Cars-R-Coffins socks?
Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?
At the time, riding my bicycle to work seemed a natural extension of my fitness routine. Not to mention that road traffic can be a real headache. I was living on Cape Cod and working on the mainland when I started cycling to work. The bridges on and off Cape are known for their summer-time traffic snarls, and I was getting sick of sitting in my vehicle for 40 minutes of what should have been a 15 minute commute. The same bicycle commute never took me more than 25 minutes. Plus, I quickly found that the scenic route to work was a relaxing way to start the day. My attitude is much better when I pedal to work.
Today, my bicycle commute is 7 miles each way. I live 5 miles from my workplace, but I take a 2 mile detour to avoid main roads where I have been harassed by a few moronic motorists.
What kind of bikes do you have?
I have two primary commuter bikes: a Trek 7500fx, and a Bianchi Volpe. Although I have had both bikes equipped with fenders over the years, I now keep fenders on my Trek for foul weather days and the Bianchi has become my fair weather ride.
In addition to these two, I have a Raleigh M50 hardtail mountain bike equipped with road slicks and a rear rack (my winter “beater”), a Specialized Stumpjumper (my dedicated off-road bike), and several antiques: a 60’s vintage Raleigh Sport 3 speed, a 60’s vintage Triumph 3 speed, and a late 60’s or early 70’s Nishiki 5 speed.
Any experience that you can share with us about ‘learning the hard way’?
Any bike-commuter guide worth its weight will tell you to allow for some extra time (15 or 20 minutes) in addition to your normal ride time when commuting by bicycle. This extra time allows for unplanned events (tire flats, etc.) and clean up/ dress time when you get to work. It took me a while to realize that it was much easier (and more relaxing) to work this 20 minute cushion into my commute than it was to race the clock and arrive to work sweaty, with little time to spare.
What do people say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?
Many people say “I wish I could do something like that!” to which I reply, “You can!” I also get the same repeated questions: “How far do you ride?” and “You ride every day!?!?”
Do you have an “advanced commuter tip”?
I work in the automotive industry– not an industry conducive to having the cleanest bathrooms (cars, trucks and their parts are dirty). Heavy foot traffic can make the floors very messy in a couple of days’ time (especially in winter). I discovered a helpful trick early on that helps me keep my feet clean while cleaning up and changing my clothes. I keep a flattened cardboard box stashed to lay out on the floor as my own personal floor covering when getting ready. It keeps my socks and feet clean, and the box can easily be replaced on a regular basis. For me, starting the day off feeling clean is key to maintaining the positive experience of commuting by bicycle.
Anything that you want to share with us
On a heavy traffic day, it takes me 15 minutes to drive to work. Cycling the same route takes me 21 minutes. With gas prices and traffic congestion what they have become, cycling to work is a no-brainer as far as I am concerned. Most obstacles to bicycle commuting can be easily overcome (and most are merely misperceptions rather than obstacles). I encourage anyone to give it a try… Beware: using your bicycle for transportation is addictive!
Drew is also a fellow blogger, his blog is the Sunday Morning Blog, check it out!