BikeCommuters.com

Commuter Profiles

Commuter Profile: David Byrd

Meet fellow Bike Commuter David Byrd, also known as “DB” when he posts comments. Here’s his Commuter Profile:

David Byrd
DB
How long have you been a bike commuter?
Off and on, about 8 years now. I had a two-year stretch, though, where I wasn’t able to bike commute because of my job. I’m averaging 3-4 days per week, and hope to maintain that year-round.

David Byrd
Nice quiet street

What do you do and what city do you bike commute?
I’m a technical writer in Boise, Idaho. We design and write user documentation for client companies that develop hardware and software. Boise is trying hard to be a good biking city.

David Byrd
Main drag
Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?
I started to ride basically because I wanted to save gas and exercise more. I already had two mountain bikes at that time, so I converted the older, cro-moly Trek into a commuter by adding a rear rack, panniers, and slick tires.

Currently my commute is 15-16 miles round-trip, depending on what options I take during my ride. About 3-4 miles of the round-trip is on a multi-user path (MUP), and the rest is on a mix of residential and busier city streets.

David Byrd
Bridge over water creek
What kind of bikes do you have?

  • · My primary commute ride is a Morgul-Bismark Manx road bike. I ride this bike for fitness as well, so it also sees some training and charity rides.
    · My backup commuter is that Trek 820 mountain bike that I converted. I use it if the weather’s gonna be wet, if my back is giving me a hard time, or if I need to haul more stuff than usual to and from work. I will switch to it as my primary bike when winter arrives.
    · I also have a Gary Fisher Hoo-Koo-E-Koo mountain bike that I use almost exclusively off-trail. I’ve probably used it to commute twice in the 10 years that I’ve owned it. I don’t like running knobbies on asphalt.
  • Any experience that you can share with us about ‘learning the hard way’?
    I’ve been really fortunate in that I haven’t had a lot of horrific events. I’ve learned to make sure that I have a backup light when biking, because my front light always burns out 5 minutes into my 30-minute ride. And that front light is critical not just for seeing the road, but for oncoming cars spotting you. The closest call I’ve had with a car was when a motorist turned left in front of me at 7 a.m., after my lamp had gone out. I couldn’t really get upset with him/her in that case.

    David Byrd
    Riding the bridge over MUP

    What do people say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?
    Not much. There is a pretty strong, visible bike community here, so even if people don’t bike, they usually know someone who does. I work within walking distance of the HP campus here, and that site tends to attract a number of bike commuters. My family, friends, and co-workers are supportive. I get the occasional “You’re crazy” when I ride in the rain or when it’s going to be 105 degrees, but other than that, they encourage me.

    Do you have a funny story or a weird experience that you want to share?
    More weird than funny. I hit a squirrel this year. I was lucky in that as fast as I was going, I didn’t lose control when he and my front wheel met, and the squirrel survived as well. In Boise, I see a lot of animals that most city dwellers won’t see — deer, coyotes, foxes, herons, eagles. Another plus to riding instead of driving.

    Anything that you want to share with us?
    I’m a pretty strong advocate of vehicular cycling.
    · Whether you’re out there as a commuter or recreational rider, act like you belong there, and follow the rules for vehicles.
    · Don’t blow through stop lights or stop signs if there’s other traffic present. At the very least, slow down when approaching traffic control.
    · Be predictable: use hand signals for turns to communicate with motorists.
    · Know your state’s traffic regulations for bicycles.
    · Put yourself where the drivers are most likely to see you. I see a lot of wrong-way and/or sidewalk riders in my town, and I think those are really good ways of getting hurt.

    We want to thank David for his time and for sharing pictures of himself and his commute.

    Commuter Profile: Dan Gentry (Dan on Bike)

    Here’s Dan Gentry’s commuter profile, he is also know as Dan On Bike. He’s a fellow blogger and bike commuter from West Lafayette, IN.

    Dan On Bike

    How long have you been a bike commuter?
    I started in the late 90s, but it was about four years ago that I really got into it. It was only in the mid 90s when I returned to cycling after many years out of the saddle. My sister convinced me to give it a try.

    Lafayette at Night

    What do you do and what city do you bike commute?
    I’m the director of one of the many IT departments at a major Midwestern university. West Lafayette, IN is a great bike town, and the surrounding countryside offers many miles of quiet roads with great scenery.

    Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?
    The idea of not taking my car to work seemed outrageous at the time, so I tried it for the eccentricity factor. It turned out to be fun. Now, taking the car feels like the crazy thing to do.

    I live just 3.5 miles from my office, which I cover in about 20 minutes. With parking ($240/year), it takes around 10 minutes by car. For the ride home, I usually take a longer route.

    When the weather is nice, I can ride in 3 or 4 times a week, but I put in a lot less when it is cold or wet.

    What kind of bikes do you have?
    My commuter bike is a 10-year old Trek 820 with sensible street tires and platform pedals. I’ve amassed quite a collection of panniers and messenger bags that I use to carry my ride home clothes and various electronics.

    Last fall, I added a road bike to the mix. I find the Trek Pilot 1.0 to be very comfortable and fun to ride.

    Any experience that you can share with us about ‘learning the hard way’?
    Taking the lane can help everyone act more safely. I complain a lot about people passing me unsafely, and I’ve found that if I move more to the left, those drivers are less likely to pass at a bad time if they have to use more of the oncoming lane to do it.

    What do people say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?
    I used to get responses like “that’s a long way” or “you’re a brave man”, but now I think people are just tired of hearing about it. It would be fun to make the same remarks to auto drivers. “You drove all the way from home?” “Aren’t you afraid of the semi trucks?” “What if it rains?”

    Do you have an “advanced commuter tip”?

    I don’t really feel advanced. I just point the bike East and pedal.

    Anything that you want to share with us
    To anyone thinking about commuting by bicycle, I would recommend starting small. Don’t vow to sell your car and only use the bike for all transportation. Instead, shoot for a few times a month in the spring (or whenever the weather is best in your area). Try out the route on a quiet Sunday morning before riding for real on Monday. Just ride on the easy days. You will find that issues involving wardrobe, schedule, and equipment will become clear as you gain experience.

    Many thanks to Dan for sharing his story and also his pictures. Check out his blog at http://danonbike.us/

    Commuter Profile: Henry Hsieh

    Meet Henry, he uses one of my favorite bikes to ride to work. Henry is also involved with the LACBC and he is a frequent indirect contributor to this site. Here’s his commuter profile:

    Henry

    How long have you been a bike commuter?
    On and off since high school. I got more serious about it since I
    started working. It’s 15 years from during high school.

    What do you do and what city do you bike commute.
    Ever since I started bicycle commuting, I have been a student,
    computer programmer, student again, and now marketer. I have bike
    commuted in: (most in CA unless noted) Torrance, Westwood, Pasadena,
    Tucson AZ, La Habra, Long Beach, and now across the great city of Los
    Angeles.

    Henry

    Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?
    During high school and college, I lived within walking distance from
    school, but it was much faster by bike and parking was always an issue
    (especially at UCLA). When I worked as a computer programmer, my
    commute was 2.5 miles one way. I don’t know why I continued to
    bicycle commute, but maybe because I just like riding. I saved a lot
    of money on not having to buy parking permit every month and on fuel
    cost that way. My commute now is way too long: 26 miles one way. I
    just started this commute, but I am doing: bike 1/2 mi, take
    920/720/20 bus, to Red Line, to Blue Line, then bike another 1 mi to
    work from a Blue Line station. In summary, my bike portion is about 3
    miles round trip, but there are a 2 steep hills to climb on the way
    home.

    What kind of bikes do you have?
    I have a road bike (in Tucson), 2 folding bikes, and a mountain bike.
    I would like to get a triathlon bike sometime in the near future.

    Henry

    Do you get teased about riding a ‘little bike’?
    Not really. I get more of curious looks and questions, such as “is it
    harder/slower to ride that?” or “what kinda bike is that?”

    What are the advantages of riding a folding bike?
    Advantages:
    1) When taking public transport: According to Metro (LA county’s
    transportation agency), you can take folding bike on any of the Metro
    train or bus ANYTIME, as long as there is room. With the non-folding
    bikes, there are time restrictions on the train and you are
    out-of-luck if the bike racks on the buses are full.
    2) When car commuting: you can easily fold the bike into the trunk of
    your car and not have to worry about bike racks or leaving your car
    with the bike on the outside. This allows for easier car/bike
    commute, which I did for a while when I lived in La Habra where public
    transport isn’t as accessible as Los Angeles.
    3) Bumming a ride: if for any reason you need to bum a ride from a
    friend, it’s very easy to do with a folding bike. All you need is
    some room in the trunk. I have definitely benefited from this when I
    was out late or it started pouring rain.
    4) Storage: if you don’t have a lot of space, folding bike typically
    takes up less space.
    5) Air travel: Supposedly, you can pack a folding bike into some
    slightly oversize suite cases check-in as luggage without additional
    airline fees. I have done this only once.

    Any experience that you can share with us about ‘learning the hard way’?
    Lock your bike well with a good U-Lock. Like the video featured on
    the BikeCommuter’s blog, thief can steal in the broad-daylight. Your
    only protection is to have a good luck so that the thief will move on
    to easier target. I have lost 2 bikes before with cable locks… You
    would think I learned, but apparently not.

    What do people say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?
    Most people are amazed and wonder how I do it. Some people think I am
    “too healthy”, I don’t think I am even close to a term like that, but
    given that most American are overweight, I guess I could qualify in
    that respect.

    Do you have an “advanced commuter tip”?
    This is not really “advanced”, but I advocate for always wearing a
    helmet while cycling. I have been saved by my helmet once from my own
    stupidity and another time from a careless (possibly drunk) driver, so
    you never know. Even if you think you are the best and safest rider
    in the world, you can’t predict what other people are going to do.

    Henry

    Anything that you want to share with us
    Besides commuting, I really enjoy bike touring. I have done a
    California AIDS ride, and also a 6 day self-supported bike ride.
    Those are the best days. However, my lower back had been injured and
    are out of shape so any long distance riding isn’t too good for me…
    until I recondition my back. In the last few years, I also enjoy
    doing triathlon for fun, but I am a bit out of shape for that too now.
    Before that, I also used to mountain bike, but my mountain bike now
    just collects dust.

    Check out his personal blog at: http://henrynote.wordpress.com

    Thank you Henry for your time.

    Commuter Profile: Drew Bryden

    Drew Bryden

    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!

    Women Bike Commuters: Shanyn Money

    RL asked “Where are the Bike Commuting at“? I got an email from Shanyn Money, here’s her profile in a nutshell:

    Shanyn Money

    I’m a 47 year old female bicycle commuter in Flagstaff, AZ. I work in Higher Ed in the IT field. Trying to “green up”, save money and get some exercise, along with setting an example for my two teenagers. I commute 11-15 miles round trip 4-5 days per week, and often do the “bike & ride” on the city bus. I started commuting by bike during Bike To Work Week 2 years ago. My latest adventure: taking the Amtrak from Flagstaff to Riverside with my foldable bike on board, and then biking from the train station (see attached)! It can be done, and I am encouraged about the possibilities. I ride a Breezer Uptown 8 U frame commuter bike- love it because of the upright riding position, internally geared hub, and I can ride it in a skirt!

    Thank you Shanyn for your email, keep on riding!