BikeCommuters.com

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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.

Relocated To Yuma, AZ

On great thing about the military besides the pay (insert sarcasm) is being able to travel to different parts of the world. Recently, my family and I relocated from beautiful New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, to the bone dry desert of Yuma, Arizona.

AZ

I heard that a couple of my coworkers are bike commuters. I thought that it was pretty interesting because the afternoon highs have been reaching 115 degrees. A tad bit warmer than I’m used to.

I figure there really isn’t an easy way to getting used to commuting in the heat. So this morning, I got up an hour earlier to ride into work. I took the KMX that I picked up from RL this past weekend. That thing is such a blast to ride. Besides having a pretty cool ride, the commute itself sucked! Sure work is only 4 miles away. But it was somewhere around 90 degrees at 7:00 am and it felt like I was going up hill about 80% of the time. My legs were burning about half way there.

Once I got to work, people instantly crowded around the KMX wanting to check it out. One of the comments I heard was “that’s some wild a$$ sh!t?. It’s funny because he kept on saying it for about five minutes.

Coyote

Besides the 115 degree heat that radiated from the sun and the road, the commute home wasn’t too bad. It was mostly down hill but had to travel into the wind. One very interesting thing I saw on the way home was a coyote. No not one of those guys who smuggles illegal aliens through the border, the less notorious one (the animal). That was an interesting encounter. He was about 10 feet away from me getting ready to cross the road when I rode past him. I didn’t know who was more scared, me or the coyote.

Commuting in the desert is definitely a tough commitment. Hats off to those of you who live in harsh conditions and still insist on being bike commuters.

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Too many car ads

I got my August edition of a Bicycling magazine. As soon as I open the mag, a 2 page ad about an SUV greets me. As I go through articles and such, I’m being bombarded with more car ads. So I counted them, 13 car ads total. Some of them with 2 page spreads. I find it very ironic that this is a magazine that heavily pushes the concept of having a Bike Town, yet they sell out to the automotive industry.