Bike Your Drive!

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
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.

    One in a hundred

    My wife works as a teacher for the City of Anaheim, yesterday she shared this story with me:

    “I was showing my kids a picture of a kid riding a bike and asked them to describe the picture, 100% of my kids described the picture as a kid riding a bike. However, there was 1 kid that noticed and pointed out that not only was the kid riding a bike, but he had no helmet and said it was dangerous”

    I say, give that kid an A+.