Commuter Profile: Bike Skirt’s Anna Carrigan

We’re proud to present the first of two commuter profiles from the ladies of Bike Skirt, a new blog about the trials and tribulations of commuting in Birmingham, Alabama. Our first profile is of Anna Carrigan, who demonstrates that bicycle commuting can be a very stylish way to travel:

anna

How long have you been a bike commuter?

I’ve been commuting off and on to school and various jobs for about 5 years.

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?

I’ve been biking to my current job for two months, but haven’t made the journey very many times. The distance is about 3.5 miles but it takes around 40 minutes owing to a massive hill/mountain, Red Mountain to be exact, in my way and various other hills that require summiting. I have to get off of my bike and walk over Red Mountain, but I hope to conquer it by bike this year! I decided to start commuting because it seemed like it would be interesting to try and a good way to get some exercise.

How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?

I believe the greatest thing about Bike Commuting is that I am involved in the journey from home to work in every way. I’m not just zoned out in my car speeding along the expressway to get to work on time, but I’m intentionally leaving my home much earlier that I need to, jumping on my bike, and experiencing the weather, sounds, smells, sights and the burn of my muscles as I travel to my destination. That burn is also very important to me; my health and well-being are being improved every time I ride.

I also bike to school, and the greatest thing about that I that I don’t have to pay or fight for a parking spot.

The environmental aspects are great too: lessening my carbon footprint, less dependent on oil, sticking it to big business and the man…all that mumbo jumbo.

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?

I work at a city library part-time and am going to school for a Masters in Public Health, focusing on Health Behavior. I commute in Birmingham, Alabama.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I have a LeMond Tourmalet and a fixed Peugeot Iseran.

lemond

peugeot

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?

Can’t really think of anything…pretty boring commutes for me.

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?

My coworkers think I’m nuts for going over the mountain, and are constantly asking if I biked that day (usually it’s a no). My friends think it’s great…but also a little crazy.

route

How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?

My friend Elisa and I are writing a blog together called BikeSkirt (bikeskirt.blogspot.com) that chronicles our various biking adventures. It’s surprising to see how many people are rooting for us and it’s so encouraging to hear of others who are also trying commute by bike. I hope we are also encouraging others to get out on their bikes more, especially women who might be reluctant because they think they can’t feel beautiful while riding. I think it’s so much more attractive to be all hot and sweaty rather than being a lazy s.o.b. sitting on my fat ass!

Elisa and I are also working with our friend Alan to start a bike co-op in Birmingham (bicicoop.org) that will be a place for affordable bike maintenance, advocacy, and community development.

Pretty much just being on a bike period in Birmingham is like advocacy because it is so rare here!

route2

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Birmingham is a great city even with the negative things about it; it has a lot of interesting places and great people that the wider world doesn’t tend to recognize. Also, because there is so much lacking in terms of infrastructure, residents all have a chance to really make a difference. You should come visit some time!

anna2

We’d like to thank Anna for sharing her profile with us…stayed tuned for part two of our Bike Skirt profiles, when we’ll introduce Elisa Munoz, the other mastermind behind this excellent new blog. In the meantime, show these gals some support by visiting their blog — a lot of good ideas and images to be had over there.

See, it IS possible to ride a bike and look gorgeous doing it — something a few of us probably knew all along, but it is great to see the word is spreading!


20 Comments

  1. Dottie February 2, 2009 10:27 pm 

    Yay, Bike Skirt!!!

  2. Tinker February 3, 2009 1:23 am 

    Went to ‘Bike Skirt’, and they have a great photo of Elisa herownself, in a very colorful skirt. She is gorgeous, too.

  3. Kiril The Cycling Dude February 3, 2009 3:01 am 

    Great story!

    Great pictures!

    Wonder what her friends would think of me, a guy who has never owned a car, and commute by bike and bus everywhere I go? ;-D

  4. Dman February 3, 2009 5:12 am 

    I tried to visit the blog, but it’s blocked here at work!

  5. Matt / PBBT February 3, 2009 5:32 am 

    I think I just found a new fetish!

    —Matt

  6. BlackBear February 3, 2009 5:47 am 

    I can totally understand hating to admit that a hill has defeated you! You’ll get there, just keep your head down, gear down, and try not to think about how much mountain is left! :)

  7. Ghost Rider February 3, 2009 5:58 am 

    “I think I just found a new fetish!”

    Matt, does that mean you’re going to start rocking a skirt on your commutes? If so, I don’t think you’ll look quite as stylish as Anna and Elisa…

  8. Iron Man February 3, 2009 7:48 am 

    Commute as journey! Loved it!

  9. Elisa February 3, 2009 7:52 am 

    anna is my hero.

  10. Trisha February 3, 2009 8:13 am 

    Fabulous feature! You look great, Anna.

  11. Matt / PBBT February 3, 2009 8:27 am 

    GR: Let me see if my kilt still fits. If so, I’ll put in some miles and send Bike Commuters a picture.

    Then again, maybe I should wait until summer? I imagine a nice breeze would be better in July than February. (It is supposed to be in the 30s tonight here in South Florida.)

    —Matt

  12. Guy February 3, 2009 9:06 am 

    Hills, hills, hills. When I started riding last March, my commute was down hill from home which meant up hill going home. Used to have to jump off the bike mid way and walk to the crest. Then little by little I was able go from my second gear cog to my sixth gear cog. So don’t worry, you will get there. BTW, my commute is also 25 to 30 minutes to work and about 45 minutes home. This is the only time I have to do a workout.

  13. Lock Master (Jeff) February 3, 2009 10:11 am 

    @Guy My commute time is exactly the same as yours. I use my morning commute as my workout and my evening commute to justify the carbs from my Guiness Stout habit. I’ll have to consider the kilt thing come Spring. I’m getting too used to people thinking I’m nuts for riding in the winter in Jersey.

  14. Ghost Rider February 3, 2009 10:34 am 

    That’s weird…my commute home is all uphill ( a very gentle but steady 2% or so), yet it takes me less time to get home than to get to work, even though it is the same distance.

    Could it be all the extra stoplights and stop signs I blow on my way home? I have a LOT less traffic to deal with in the dead of night on my return trip…

  15. Guy February 3, 2009 2:07 pm 

    With the down hill to work, I don’t really need to push it. I only do it so that I can time it with the lights and traffic. I like to push it going home to see how my endurace has improved. I could almost stick to one gear and may one day go with a single speed.

  16. Ghost Rider February 3, 2009 3:20 pm 

    Marrock — good point…and we’re just scratching the surface with stylish cyclists: we’ve got a few more dashing commuters to share with you after we post Elisa’s profile in a day or two.

    Take THAT, Copenhagen!!!

  17. spiderleggreen February 3, 2009 6:35 pm 

    I agree with Marrock. Those Eurocyclists would love to see what your up to.

    To Anna: I would say that you are headed in the right direction… just keep pedaling.

    I’m glad I came across this site. I’ll be back.

  18. Eric February 10, 2009 6:40 pm 

    I have that same Peugeot and I love it. Much love to this street gang of girl cyclists. Hope you carry some sort of protection when you are out and about. I’m a dude and I carry a knife and a couple of screwdrivers to ward off potential perps.

  19. What’s BiCiCoop? | The Terminal - Birmingham AL's hub February 19, 2009 10:54 am 

    […] Elisa Munoz courtesy of Bike Commuters from February 4 and the blog worked on by Elisa and Anna Carrigan, called Bike Skirt. Related Posts:So what’s it like to commute by bike?Bike from Anniston to […]

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