BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: Bike commuter Profiles

Commuter Profile: Leaf Nunes

From San Francisco, CA; meet Leaf Nunes, a software engineer who has to ride a train to cross a body of water. Here’s Leaf’s bike commuter profile:

How long have you been a bike commuter?

A little over two years.

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

I’m a software engineer by day (and sometimes night), and commute from the West end of San Francisco to Emeryville, on the other side of the bay.

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

I started riding because my carpoolers suggested we all ride to work once or twice a week… I ended up loving it so much that I ride every day now on my own because my carpool mates moved away. The commute is about 15 miles of cycling round-trip, with a train segue to cross a body of water… I’d bike the whole way if only bikes were allowed on the bridges.

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

I certainly feel more energetic and even-keeled when I bike to work; I notice I can get crabby and lethargic if I go too many days without riding. I just recently had a generic panel of blood tests done, and my cholesterol has dropped significantly since the last test I had, from pre-cycling days. Some of my old clothes are a bit baggy now, but it’s not anything the drawstrings and belts can’t handle.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I usually ride a slightly modified 2007 Jamis Coda Sport to and from work, with at least one pannier to carry a change of clothes just in case the City of San Francisco has decided to water the pavement on my route that day, or in case it gets colder or hotter (it can be extremely cold on the west side of SF, and extremely hot in Emeryville).

I recently picked up a Surly Big Dummy (for camping, grocery shopping, and kid-shuttling), as well, which I haven’t made time to photograph yet.

For fun, I’m hanging on to an Electra “The Betty” which my sister gave me as a gift for my birthday. It’s a fun bike for short rides, but I’m really only keeping it because my spouse likes it.

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

I once got a line of kids waiting at a bus stop to do a wave as i rode past. Won’t see people doing that from cars!

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

I’ve gotten a lot of praise from people, and more than a little wonderment that it can be done. A few have expressed concern for my safety, but I certainly feel safer on a bicycle with the routes I choose than I did on a motorcycle on the freeway.

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

I’m not particularly active in any group. I find Critical Mass irritating in that it seems to bring about more resentment from drivers and destructiveness from participants. It may have served a purpose at some point, but these days it divides people instead of uniting them.

I’m a reserved fan of the SF Bike Coalition (and might be a member, but I can’t remember) for the advocacy they do, the bike lanes they secure, and the maps they put together.

Big thanks to Leaf for submitting the commuter profile. We also want to thank all of you that have submitted your profiles; if you didn’t see yours, please email us at info@bikecommuters.com — we may need more information/pictures about you.

Commuter Profile: Gaylen Holt

Gaylen Holt is a long commute rider that enjoys riding to work to reduce the stress from work. Here’s his bike commuter profile:

How long have you been a bike commuter?

I have been a commuter for three to four years. In the beginning, I lived closer to work, 5 miles, but I now live farther away and I think that I enjoy the commute more from here than when I lived closer. I guess I have to wake up earlier, so when I stay up late, it makes it difficult to ride in but I still do it.

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

I started commuting because I saw others riding their bike to work and I thought, hmmm, maybe I could ride my bike to work, so I tried it and I was able to make it. I think I ride to work mainly to get exercise, save gas, see the wonderful world we have and to relieve stress. By the time I am finally home, I do not have any stress about work. I have forgotten completely about it. My commute ranges from 35 – 40 miles round trip. I normally ride in 17 miles to work and I will take a longer route on the way home. But, most of the time it seems to be the 35 miles. In the morning it takes me one hour of riding time and about 10 to 15 minutes longer in the evening because there are some hills I have to ride up. I usually leave at 5:30 in the morning, unless I failed to pack the night before for the ride.

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

I think that riding a bike helps one to feel grateful for what they have. What a blessing it is to be able to go outside ride a bike feel the wind in your hair, or no hair, see all the animals, plants and things around. When I was starting out, I was passed by a man with one leg, and it made me think of how blessed I was to have two legs. It has helped my health and make be a better father because I am more patient with my children, even when they are really being children. I need to convince my wife that we can go on a bike date and ride our bikes everywhere, but she still is not convinced. Hopefully, I will prevail

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

I am a financial analyst / CPA for an aerospace company in North Ogden, Parker Hannifin. We manufacture motion control parts for commercial airlines, I commute from Layton, UT to Ogden UT.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I have a Giant OCR that I use for my main commuter bike. When I first bought it, it was set up as a road racing bike and had the really fancy , low spoke wheels. and light tires. They have since been replaced and I now have Mavic Open Pro Sport with Ultegra hubs and Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tires. I couldn’t be happier. they are a bit heavier, but I do not have to worry about flats or re-truing my wheels every other week. I also have a Specialized Stumpjumper hard tail mountain bike that I use on the trail and ride with my family, and when the weather is bad. I am thinking of converting this into a Xtracycle. I will watch the photo journal of the conversion and see how it goes.

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

Not really, I read the stories about people interactions with people in cars. Most people here give you the room and respect. I do occasionally get honked at, or told to get off the road, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I have collected a few tools on the road. I have seen a deer, racoon, golden eagle (not on commute but at Fish Lake on a ride) and lots of tire wire beads. A few times people have asked me for directions. But my commute is pretty uneventful.


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

Most think I am crazy or really cheap. When I tell them how far I commute from it makes their eyes really big. But I tell them that it is not too far. It is amazing that if you have an efficient bike how easy it is to go. I have gotten a few people here to bike to work, but it seems that they take it up for a while, then the novelty wears off and then they stop. Most people just look at me like I am weird.

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

I should be, but I don’t do too much other than promote it where I can with others. When they ask about it I help them find the right tools they need to make the journey. It seems that I don’t have too much time in the evening after taking care of my family.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Just be safe, be seen, and keep on pedaling. The only bad bike is the one that is not ridden.

Thank you Gaylen for your profile, stickers will be on their way.

Note:Some of you submitted profiles but did not submit a mailing address for me to send the stickers to, if you have not received the stickers, please email me your mailing address to cycle_moe@yahoo.com and I will send them to you.

Commuter Profile: Tommy Cheatham

Our next Bike Commuter Profile is from a rider that calls himself the ‘Lazy Bike Commuter‘, read on:

How long have you been a bike commuter?

Aside from 1.5 mile rides to college, I have been biking to work on and off since Feb 2006. I really didn’t start regularly biking to work until April of this year tho, due to a change in city and job.

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

I really enjoy biking, and like to do it every chance I get. I also have a tendency to be overweight, and riding a bike more is a whole lot more palatable than eating less (palatable–get it?). My current commute is just a little bit over 8 miles each way if I go the more direct route, I have been known to increase it to 18 each way if I had other errands to run though.

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

I recently had an appendectomy after starting my new job–my old health insurance lasted 60 days, my new insurance took 90 to kick in, and I was in the hospital on day 67. The going price for that procedure in this area is around $42,000. I managed to get it down to more like $17k, but I can still definitely use the money I’m not spending on gas.

Other benefits–definite weight loss benefits. There is a very good feeling that comes with discovering you have to wear a belt with pants that used to be uncomfortably tight. If course, the increased size of the quads means that if I buy a smaller waist the pants will fit even worse, but I would say that a belt is indeed a small price to pay. I dropped 50 pounds one year.


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

I work in data operations–very sedentary. Getting out and biking is pretty necessary for me to maintain sanity. The job is in Beavercreek, Ohio, and I commute from Dayton. The rail trail system here constantly amazes me.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

By far my most-ridden bike is a Surly Long Haul Trucker, from the first shipment of “complete” bikes they did last April. It’s a comfortable ride, and it’s plenty fast enough to get me to work on time. The cargo rack is also a high point, and the super low gearing is a life saver when I am towing my Burley cargo trailer with 100lbs of groceries up a steep hill. I also have aspirations of fully loaded touring before too long.

I also have a Santa Cruz Heckler for when I have a chance to play in the dirt, and a Giant TCR1 for when I want to go fast and care less about comfort.

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

I have had two flats while commuting to work. One was during bike to work week, and was discovered while leaving the park where the film crew was. I got to be on the news changing my tire, giving a quick voiceover for my boss that I have proof as to why I was late that day.

The other flat happened 3.5 miles from work just last week. Unfortunately, the spare tube was on the bike at the time. Lesson: Never ride without a spare, or you will be 50 minutes late for work.

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

They seem pretty impressed with the whole idea, though I can’t get many of them to consider that the idea could work for anyone but me. They also like to tell me that my saddle looks really uncomfortable (Brooks B17).


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

In my last hometown I tried to be active in our effort to try to get Bowling Green, KY certification as a Bicycle Friendly Community, but since moving I have been little help on that front.

I would also help out with trail maintenance at Sal Hollow, our local mountain bike stomping grounds.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

If I have anything worth saying, it can be found at http://lazybikecommuter.blogspot.com

Big Thanks to Tommy for sharing his profile, I will mail your stickers shortly. By the way, you can still submit an article, review or your complete bike commuter profile to info@bikecommuters.com, I still have a few stickers left. If you have submitted your profile, be patient, I will post it in the coming week.

Commuter Profile: Daniel Lunsford

Our next Bike Commuter is from Virginia, Daniel Lunsford works in the military and rides a disguised Wally world machine. Here’s his Bike Commuter Profile:

How long have you been a bike commuter?

9 Months

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

Last September, I was faced with doing some car maintenance. Being a frugal (read: cheap) driver, I instead donated my car to the Veteran’s Administration and aired up the bike tires. Without a car, I essentially got rid of every excuse I could come up with. Soon it was December-February and the temperatures dropped drastically. I already had some nice warm riding gloves, but I still found myself too cold for comfort. Purchasing a pair of Pearl Izumi leggings/tights with the chamois may have been the best cycling purchase I’ve ever made. I was able to use them well into April to keep my entire body warm (I think that the knees are the most sensitive to the cold weather). My commute was 6 miles each way at one point, but I’ve recently transferred jobs to one that is only 4 miles away. I’m also fortunate in that I have a gym across the road from my building where I can shower for free (although admittedly I don’t usually do this since I rarely sweat due to the short commute).

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

Well, there are the obvious health benefits involved with getting your heart up and racing twice a day. I have noticed a significant increase in energy throughout the day (my boss is pleasantly surprised to notice that I sleep much less during meetings lately!). I’ve also gotten to know many other commuters/riders in my area.

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

I’m in the military, and commute in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

My commuter is a Wal-Mart Schwinn that I’ve put over 6,000 miles on. I eventually got self-conscious about the cheap looking decals on it, so stripped its identity off and repainted it with a LiveSTRONG theme.

I also ride a Trek 2100 ZR on the weekends (including a 106-mile ride this weekend!). I occasionally commute with my road bike, although now that I’ve switched jobs there is no secure place to lock it up, so it typically gets left at home.

Lastly, I’m in the market for a folding bike (so I can secure the bike inside). I’ve been thinking about getting a Dahon Mariner (or similar). Do any readers have any advice on this?

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

Picture this: Mid-February, in the middle of a blizzard, I roll up to the guard shack at my base. The bike is covered in snow and I’m dressed to the hilt in my insulating clothes. The guard opens the window a few inches, sticks a gloved hand out to inspect my ID, then withdraws it back into the heated shack. I hear a voice come through the thin crack “You’re free to pass, but I’ve gotta tell you, I think you’re nuts!”

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

95% of the time I hear: “I’ve thought about doing that for a long time, but I live too far away, the roads are too busy, the cars go too fast, etc. (insert excuse).” I respond by pulling up Google Maps and dropping a destination pin on our office building. Then I get them to tell me where they live. The mapping feature allows you to drag the route to find the one that spends the most time on quiet roads, and they typically admit that their fears are unfounded given their new route options. If the excuse is “My bike is too old/tires are flat/needs to get tuned up”, I offer to repair it for free. If this is their true excuse, a $3 tube is a small price to pay to get someone out of their car and on their two-wheeler! (Just get them to pay you back after they start saving $60/month in gas!)

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

No advocacy in terms of an organized activism, but I do encourage everyone I meet to try and do it at least 3 times. The first time will obviously be stressful. You might get your routes mixed up. You might get to work late or sweaty. The second time you’ll probably try a new approach to make the trip easier. By the third trip, you’ll be somewhat comfortable and actually be able to enjoy the ride. People will always complain about safety and hassle, but the more people you get on the bandwagon, the easier to convince others. When I started 9 months ago, I was the only commuter I knew. Now, I have three other regular riders who help get beginners onto the road. Once people realize that it’s not just one nut on a bike, they’ll be more likely to consider it as a viable method of transport to work.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Always try to break down the barriers of “impossibility” with regards to commuting. The benefits are incalculable, yet people miss out because of something as simple as not having anyone to talk to and bounce ideas off of. Especially as gas prices increase, bike commuters have the perfect opportunity to breach the subject of dusting off the ol’ ten-speed!

We thank Daniel for his time and his profile, stickers will be on their way soon!

Commuter Profile: Melissa Mitchell

We got a slew of Commuter Profiles in exchange for stickers, however, some profiles were incomplete (lack of pictures, one line answers, blank answers) and some of them were very good. Here’s the first one from Melissa Mitchell from New Orleans, Louisiana:

How long have you been a bike commuter?

I confess to being a fair-weather commuter. I have been riding to and from work on and off regularly for about 7 years, not counting the 15 months that I lived at my workplace following Hurricane Katrina. I don’t do a lot of riding in the winter. My weekday average is 3 days per week so far. Sometimes, I need my car for something work-related and sometimes I have errands to run that would not be practical to do with a bike (not yet anyway!).

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

I started riding to work (17.67 miles round trip) because it made me feel good. I like being able to get my workout over with early in the day (and in the evening) and I like doing stuff that no one else I know does.

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

Well, I don’t have to buy as much gasoline. I makes me feel better about myself health-wise and it’s good for my brain.

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?
I am in Safety & Emergency Preparedness at one of the only 3 hospitals to remain open during Hurricane Katrina. I live in New Orleans, Louisiana.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?
I have a 2007 Trek 7300. Candy apple red. Before Katrina I had a 1989 Trek 750. It was a great bike and stayed with me for thousands of miles. Unfortunately, it couldn’t swim.

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

Not really. Traffic is decent here now. Of course I leave my house at 5:30 am to get to work. Afternoons are a bit more traffic-y, but it’s mostly bike path and marked bike routes where I ride.

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

Most people just assume that I live within a mile or two of the hospital. When they find out where I ride from every day, they are amazed.

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

I have, in the past, participated in our local Bicycle group. They are working to improve biking around New Orleans and have made great progress. There are bike lanes and bike paths popping up all over the place here, several that I use to commute on.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

I am fortunate, in that I work for a very large hospital/clinic complex. We have our own fitness center, i.e., shower facilities, covered parking areas for bikes, motorcycles, and scooters, and a very health conscious administration. I counted 20 bikes on the bike racks here this week. As a bike commuter I’ve been one responsible for making sure there are enough bike racks around and that they are placed in convenient locations for the employees and guests. I tour the grounds occasionally to see if bikes are showing up chained to trees, handrails, sign posts, etc. Then I will purchase a bike rack to go near those locations. Most people just park their bikes in the parking garage where it’s covered though.

We thank Melissa for her time and profile, your stickers are on their way!