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Commuter Profiles: Freddie & Vi!

Howdy from the west coast again, cyclegators!  For this week’s commuter profile series, we present to you MORE architects and Los Angeles Bike Commuters: Freddie & Vi!  Freddie and Vi are both friends of mine who responded to much internet poking and cajoling to show off their ultimate cuteness as a cycling couple.  Vi is a friend of the recently-profiled super hot strong bike chick, Sarah Eberhardt, and Freddie joined Task Force Chicago (a.k.a. me and Elizabeth) last summer for some midwestern two-wheeled excursions.  Get ready for some bikealicious fotogs and bikey adventures, peeps.  Without further ado: a combo-profile from two of my favorite kids from Ohio who ride bikes in L.A.!

Freddie and Vi

Vi and Freddie, making those god-awful groomsmen ties look GOOD.

Name:

(Freddie) Michael Frederick

(Vi) Ha-Vi Tran

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How long have you been a bike commuter?

(Freddie) since grad school at UCLA started in Fall of 2009.

(Vi) Since 2010!  Two, almost 3 whole years better!  You could say living in the LA “bicycle district” that I call Silverlake has had quite the influence…

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Bike Friends, hanging out in the neighborhood!

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Who needs freeways in Hell-A anyway!?


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

(Freddie)  Because being on my bike is 10 million times better than sitting in LA traffic and it takes just as long! My commute is 16 miles.  I mostly commute by bike on Fridays.

(Vi) Why ride when you can walk?!   My current commute is a 10 minute walk but hasn’t always been.   Before I developed “assertive” road riding skills, I took the bus and subway to work.  I love bikes as much as public transportation and use them for fun weekend rides and utility cycling.

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

(Freddie)  Bike riding saves money and kills two birds with one stone. I get exercise for the day and get to work all in the same time I usually spend in my car… oh, and it’s awesome fun so that’s a double bonus. My girlfriend (Vi) and I both love our bikes so its pretty awesome when we get to share our riding time too.

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(Vi) So so grumpy in my car, so so happy on my bicycle!  I have no problems searching for a parking spot and get to fly by traffic.  It’s exercise that doesn’t FEEL like exercise, and I show up more positive to wherever it is that I’m going.  I save money on gas, and it’s the cheapest date EVER.  Luckily my boyfriend (Freddie) likes nighttime adventures on our bikes; it’s an awesome way to explore the city together.

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

(Freddie) I’m an architect in Los Angeles.

(Vi) Architect / interior designer in LA-LA land!


What kind(s) of bike do you have?

(Freddie) Surly Pacer

(Vi) Just my trusty hodgepodge of a road bike, Mr. Soma Smoothie.

Surly Pacer

Freddie's blue Surly Pacer is his pride and joy: no more ghetto Costco MTB shipped out from Mom & Dad's garage that was his college campus commuter!

Soma Smoothie

Ha-Vi's Soma Smoothie. I like that front rack and the white saddle!


Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?
(Freddie) No funny stories to share yet. Just a massive hatred for extended length buses and how big and slow they are and always in the way!

(Vi) Don’t you just love it when you’re climbing uphill all hot and sweaty on your bike and a runner passes you by?  Yeah.

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

(Freddie) People in Los Angeles think your nuts if you don’t get in your car to go across the street.

(Vi) You biked how many miles?!  You biked where?!  You’re going to get hit by a car!  My favorite is my dad’s reaction, “Why do you choose to ride in the street?  Couldn’t you pick a safer hobby?”

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

(Freddie) I try to encourage my friends to ride with me on the weekends and after work as much as possible. I participate and support CicLAvia when I can.

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(Vi) Isn’t the best advocacy showing up at a friend’s door so excited, sweaty, beet-red in the face, with helmet hair?   Come on, you know you want a hug and to ride with me…  I have friends come up to me all excited telling me about their weekend rides which is absolutely fantastic.  That to me is advocacy at its best.  In all fairness, CicLAvia (based on Colombia’s original Ciclovia) is my favorite holiday to gather everyone and anyone to participate in the ride for the first, second, and whatever time.

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Anything else that you want to share with us?
(Freddie) Carmageddon and CicLAvia should team up to make a annual shut the freeways down and ride your bike holiday in Los Angeles!

(Vi) I love the fact that regardless of socio-economic background, bikes give people some commonality to talk to each other.  That is such a beautiful thing.


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Well Freddie and Vi, thanks for hooking it up with your bikely adventures throughout the west coast and cute couple cycle craziness! You might have a stalker with that yellow man in red overalls… watch your backs, yo! Any of you other readers want to show us your ride and tell us all about it?  Then send an email and we’ll send you our Commuter Profile questionnaire!  Email mir[at]bikecommuters[dot]com for details.


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Commuter Profile: Mike Myers

Longtime reader and commenter Mike Myers of Homosassa, Florida finally submitted himself to the glaring light of Internet stardom here at Bikecommuters.com. Check out his profile and his amazing arsenal of long-distance commuter bikes. Look carefully at the bike photos and remember this: when the economy collapses and headset spacers become the “coin of the realm”, Mr. Myers is going to be a rich man, indeed…

Mike Myers -- stylish!

How long have you been a bike commuter?

Off and on for 15 years or so. I like to lift weights also, so I’m only bike commuting two days a week. In a perfect world I would lift weights 3x/week and bike commute 5x/week, but time doesn’t exist for that. I tend to have car-free weekends, though.

Why do you bike commute?

Fitness, mostly. I don’t want to wreck my knees by running, and I can’t see taking any sort of cardio classes. Treadmills and elliptical trainers make me feel like a hamster. Riding my bike to work is an easy way to get a couple of hours or more of cardio in twice a week.

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

I’m a dental technician. I live in Homosassa, Florida, and work in Hernando, Florida.

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One of the only hills in the area…it’s a doozy (just kidding)!

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

Initially I did it for fitness. There was a 6 month period from November 2006 to April 2007 when I was totally car free. My commute varies in length. I can make it 44 miles round trip or as short as 34, depending on route.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I have three road bikes. My main commuter is a 2005 Gunnar Sport. It’s a fantastic bike. Light, fast, comfortable. Handmade in Wisconsin by American craftsmen. The color is “Sherwood Forest Candy Metallic Green?, and it’s a Waterford-level paint job. I like it a lot. The metallic really pops in the sunshine. Having a nice paint job is a blessing and a curse. I have it mounted with fenders, but I really try not to ride it if rain is a distinct possibility. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a fendered bike!

Gunnar

I have a Surly Pacer. No fenders, no rack. Just a Carradice Barley saddlebag. It’s my go-fast, good weather bike. It’s the only bike I own with a 53T chainring, so it makes the downhill sections a lot more fun. Surly makes a nice solid frame. I mounted fenders on it when I was running 700x25s, but when I swapped to 700x28s I couldn’t get my Freddy Fenders to quit rubbing. I stripped the fenders but one day I may try SKS. Or I may sell the Surly.

Surly Pacer

My Bridgestone XO-2 is quickly becoming my favorite bike. I’m short and have always had toe clip overlap problems with my 700c wheeled bikes. The Bridgestone has 559 wheels, and I don’t overlap even with fenders. It’s very comfortable and was designed by Grant Petersen, so that makes it fun. It sees duty as a commuter and errand bike. Why no other company has seen fit to market road bikes with 559 wheels is beyond me. There are full-blown touring bikes with 559s but nothing with road bike geometry and fairly light weight.

sweet sweet Bridgestone

You’ll notice that my bikes have high bar cockpits. I have carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder impingements. The wide Nitto Noodle bars and high bar cockpit help with hand problems a lot. I have sacrificed some style points for comfort, and that’s fine with me.

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

The most interesting thing that happened to me was being hit by a truck. I shared that story with Bikecommuters.com. That’s the first time I was knocked unconscious, and I was lucky to escape with minor injuries. I still have a hard time riding on the section of road where the accident occured. Oh, and I was confronted by an enraged 5′ 4″, 120 pound redneck in a sleeveless Rebel flag shirt who wanted to fight because I yelled at him when he almost hit me. Fun times. 🙂

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

People always act as though I’m riding some huge distance. They don’t realize that 20 miles isn’t really that far. Riding an efficient bike helps a lot. Most people could work up to riding 20 miles each way in no time. It’s not that difficult. Granted, I was never really a couch potato, and always maintained some level of fitness. I’m not doing centuries, but I’m OK.

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

This is Citrus County. There is no “cycling community?. There are guys with DUIs, senior citizens on hybrids and ‘bents on the Withlacoochee Trail, and rich guys on megabuck carbon toys. I bet there are only a handful of bicycle commuters in the entire county. We’re pretty rural. 🙂 Things are getting better, though. The state recently repaved SR44 and painted a nice bike lane for most of the distance. There are plans for a long MUP to connect the Withlacoochee Trail to SR44 in Crystal River, too. Then when the Suncoast Parkway 2 is done there will be a trail which will allow cyclists to ride from Citrus County all the way to Tampa. That doesn’t mean much in the transportation sense unless the roads the trail intersects are bike-friendly, but it will be good for the recreational cyclists.

rural Florida...quiet

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Keep doing what you guys are doing. I visit Bikecommuters.com every day, and there’s always something new and interesting. You guys do good work. I wouldn’t be offended if you sent me something to review from time to time though. 🙂

Editor’s Note: Thanks for the kind words, Mike…and who knows? Maybe someday soon your wish will come true. Thanks, also, for sharing your wonderful bikes and experiences with us!