Commuter Profile: Tim Diller

From Austin TX, meet fellow commuter Tim Diller:

How long have you been a bike commuter?
I’ve been biking for transportation ever since high school, so let’s call it 19 years minus 5 years when I lived near Greenville, SC where to commute to work would have been quite close to suicide. My commutes have been in Austin, TX and between Arlington and Cambridge, MA.

What do you do and what city do you bike commute?

Now I’m in my second round of graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin, studying for a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. My research is focused on cleaning up the particulate emissions for heavy duty diesel engines.

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?
I started riding (again) because I wanted to and I couldn’t afford to keep, maintain, and feed a second car. I ride 9km each way. About half the ride is along Shoal Creek Blvd, a shaded, bike-friendly, and bike-commuter dense road. The second half is mixed commercial/residential.

What kind of bikes do you have?
My main ride is a new (coming up on 1000km) Dynamic Crosstown 7 (notable for its shaft drive), which I have come to really love after some initial hiccups. I bought it to replace a worn out Trek 820 that used to be a mountain bike but that I heavily modified for commuting. In the end, it needed an entire new drivetrain, which would have cost more than the bike was intrinsically worth. I also have a Cannondale Criterium roadie that I pull out for occasional longer rides. (I rode the Pan-Mass Challenge 3 years.) I used to throw it in my trunk and ride on the lunch hour during my South Carolina dry-spell. Last of all, I sometimes ride my wife’s Raleigh C30 hybrid.

Any experience that you can share with us about ‘learning the hard way’?
During my 2-1/2 years of commuting through Boston traffic, I learned to give parked cars a wide berth to avoid getting doored or backed into by angle-parked cars. Fortunately, I’ve never hit a car. My closest experience was having a lady open her car door in front of my and stopping with less than an inch to spare. I’m not sure who was more scared, me or her. I kind of wish I had hit the door…

What do people say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?
Usually they say something along the lines of “Oh, I should do that, too.” or “You’ve really trimmed up since you came back to school.” 😉

Do you have a funny story or a weird experience that you want to share?
Not so much, but I want to send a picture of a pretty cool bike train I made one day when I had to get my two older kids to their school while my wife was out of town. My bike pulled a tag-along trailer with my 7-yr-old son, who pulled my 4-yr-old daughter in an enclosed trailer which had a carseat and backpacks in the trunk. We turned a few heads and got some big smiles at the school, which is a pretty progressive crunchy-type one-day-a-week homeschool coop.

Anything that you want to share with us?

Can I give you guys a review of my Crosstown 7? It’s a little unusual with its shaft drive and is available only online, so user reviews not on the Dynamic site would be valuable, I think. I wrote a 100km review already, and I want to do a 1000km follow up.

We want to thank Tim for his time and pictures. And yes, please send us over your 1000KM review of the Crosstown.