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Name: Dave Simmons

Dave goofing around on a bike that was raffled off at the Tour of Elk Grove

How long have you been a bike commuter?
20 years. I’ve commuted by bike since high school. I used to commute to my after school jobs, then at

Dave created a Lego version of himself

college, and finally to my job.

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?
I started biking to work at my last job for the exercise, to pollute less, and save money (and wear and tear on the car). Now that I work closer to home, it’s a no-brainer. I bike to work almost year-round.

How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?
Biking to work has saved me some serious cash over the years. I haven’t quantified it, but if I had to guess, it’s somewhere in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. I’ve always been active, so biking fits my lifestyle quite well. Biking has been great to my family too. My wife and kids bike quite a bit. The kids don’t even realize how much it helps them in sports from a conditioning standpoint. Cyclists are definitely a different breed. I’ve met quite a variety of cyclists over the years and have built a nice network of like-minded individuals.

Dave & family sporting their Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove shirts

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?
I am the manager of Technical Production Services at Riverside Publishing. I bike from Elk Grove Village and commute to Rolling Meadows. I have a great route – through Busse Woods each day.

Dave's commute on a foggy morning through Busse Woods. A good part of his route includes the trail at Busse Woods. He used to commute from Elk Grove to Skokie!

What kind(s) of bike do you have?
I have a 1993 Trek 820 mountain bike and a 2002 Felt SR81 road bike. The majority of my miles are on the Trek. I love the stability of the steel beast!

All smiles on a ride in central IL in 2010

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?
I bike through Busse Woods even during the winter. Of course, I don’t always leave work before dark. I really enjoy biking at night (with a bright LED headlight, of course), but the forest preserves are closed at dusk. So, there have been lots of times when I’m racing along the trail while being hollered at by the police to leave. That makes for a more exciting ride home.

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?
They are very interested in how I make it all work. So many people think that commuting by bike is difficult, but that’s just not true. I tell them that, in order to commute by bike, they have to stop thinking like a motorist. The route that is best for cars is not always best for bikes.

How about bicycling advocacy?
Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups? I started the Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove. We’re a local advocacy group that is working to “promote, support, and improve cycling in Elk Grove”. We’ve been around for just about a year and have made some real progress in the community. I am excited about the future of FCEG. Aside from that, I am a member of Active Transportation Alliance, League of Illinois Bicyclists, and League of American Bicyclists.

The cycling advocacy group he created, the Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove

Anything else that you want to share with us?
I was certified as a League Cycling Instructor (LCI) since 2009. I’ve had the opportunity to teach cyclists of all ages the benefits of Smart Cycling. I see education as the most important piece of advocacy. The most enjoyable aspect of being an LCI is teaching first time riders, most of who are adults.

A photo of the Traffic Skills 101 class Dave taught on 9/16/12

To see the smile of someone who just learned to ride a bike is truly priceless!

Dave with his nephew after he taught him how to ride a two-wheeler

Thank you, Dave, for sharing your commuting story and photos with us. If you’d like your glory of minor Internet stardom, just drop us a line at elizabeth [at] bikecommuters [dot] com and we’ll send you the details about sending in your own profile!