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Tag Archive: waba

Commuter Profile: Bruce Wright

 

Note: We’re pleased to offer an intro to Bruce Wright, one of the leading advocates for better bicycling facilities, policies, and education in the greater Washington, D.C. area (and specifically Fairfax County, VA). Bruce’s advocacy work on the board of WABA and as chairman of FABB is very nearly a full-time job at this point, so we appreciate him taking the time to answer some questions for us!

brucewright

Bruce Wright. Photo by Shannon Ayres, www.shannonayres.com

How long have you been a bike commuter?
I started commuting by bike on a regular basis in 1979 and have been doing so almost daily since then (34 years).

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is/was your commute?
There were several reasons why I started to bike to work. I understood the health, economic, and environmental benefits of biking and since I had a short, 3 mile commute, I decided to bike instead of buying a second car and driving. I could commute by bus when necessary, which was very rare, maybe 3 or 4 times a year.

How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?
Since I retired from working full time my bike commuting to work has transformed to using a bike for almost all other local trips. I’m 64 years old and have been able to maintain the same weight as when I was in high school. I take no prescription drugs other than for minor medical procedures and usually only visit the doctor once a year for a physical. I think I’m a happier, more well-adjusted person because I get regular exercise by riding. My wife and I enjoy riding together as well. One caveat; I now use sunscreen whenever I go outside. Bike commuters are exposed to the sun more than others and we need to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of UV rays.

What do you do for a living and in what city/town do you bike commute?
When I worked full time I was a geographer with the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, VA. Since I left the Survey in 1999 I’ve worked part time in several different jobs: as a legislative aide to a local politician, as a bike shop employee (at bikes@vienna), as a bicycle skills teacher, and now as the head of a local bicycle advocacy non-profit (volunteer). I’ve made a conscious decision to work in places where I can easily bike.

Bruce (3rd from left) with other FABB members at Bike to Work Day 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

Lately I’ve been mostly using a Brompton folding bike. It has six gears, fenders and a rack and a front carrier block that holds a large bag. The bike is great for taking on Metrorail and bus and is a fun way to get around. For longer commutes or trips where I need to haul more stuff I use a Bruce Gordon touring bike outfitted with fenders, front (occasionally) and rear rack, and large panniers. I used that bike to travel cross country in 1999. I also own a recumbent tandem that I ride with my wife, a beater bike for parking at Metro, and a short wheelbase recumbent that doesn’t get much use these days.

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?
I’ve helped many motorists who have car problems. When traveling on a bike it’s harder to pass by someone in need.

Bruce at the 2012 Fairfax Bike Summit

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?
Most people have never tried riding a bike to work so the concept is foreign to them. I tell them that it’s easier than they think and that they should try it one day. It takes a little planning but most people can easily ride farther than they think. Bike to Work Day is a great time to encourage co-workers to try biking. I know many people who rode for the first time on Bike to Work Day and have continued to bike commute at least some of the time since then.

How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?
I’m on the Board of Directors of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and chair of their advocacy committee. I’m also one of the founders and now chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), a local volunteer non-profit advocating for better bike conditions and policies in Fairfax County, VA. I’m also a member of the League of American Bicyclists and a League Cycling Instructor.

Anything else that you want to share with us?
The world would be a healthier, happier place if more people took short trips by bike.

 

From Chicago to D.C. for a kick-off of Women & Bicycles and the National Bike Summit

This past March I ventured (for the second year) to Washington, D.C. for the National Bike Summit.

For those of you unable to attend the event “in-person” I hope that the insights of these next few posts about the National Bike Summit may inspire you to go in future years or to at least check out the presentations now available online for your viewing pleasure.

This year “more than 750 attendees from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces participated in the 2013 National Bike Summit!”

Let’s start from the beginning…

Upon my arrival in D.C. (much chillier this year and not a cherry blossom in bloom!), I perked up at sight of the bright red Capital Bikeshare bikes.
capital bikeshare bikes

I, however, passed by the bikeshare bikes; instead I borrowed a bike from Miriam’s friend (who graciously lent me her bike “Cherry” last year and this year – thank you!).
Cherry

Once on bike, I was equipped to join an evening bike ride organized by the group Black Women Bike. Bundled up, we cycled past several D.C. monuments before circling back to a launch party for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA)’s Women & Bicycles campaign – an outreach and education program geared to get more women on bike.

The event was full of bike love:

Plus books and such from Elly Blue and WABA:

My initial day in D.C. would set the pace for a jam-packed week of everything bike advocacy and meeting awesome bikey folks… especially meeting these other fine ladies named “Elizabeth”:

Ladies named Elizabeth

D.C. Area Bicyclists: Now’s the Time to Join WABA!

WABA – the Washington Area Bicyclist Association – is the foremost bicycling-related organization in the Washington D.C. area – and as such, has a reach beyond just the D.C. area as well. Though they technically represent D.C. proper as well as Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, they have a reach well beyond that thanks to the presence of a few congresspeople who spend a bunch of time in the area. What members of Congress see in DC leaves an impression – good or bad – that they take back to their own districts or states. Lately it’s been a lot of good, thanks to things like new bike lanes filled with bicyclists, a really robust Bike to Work Day every year, and the nation’s biggest bikeshare program, CaBi (short for Capitol Bikeshare). While WABA doesn’t get all the credit for these, they have been tireless in advocating for them, and without them it’s doubtful we’d have anywhere near as much good news about biking in DC.

WABA’s mission is: creating a healthy, more livable region by promoting bicycling for fun, fitness, and affordable transportation; advocating for better bicycling conditions and transportation choices for a healthier environment; and educating children and adults about safe bicycling.

Not much to argue with there!

THIS WEEK ONLY, WABA is offering discounted membership – both individual and family rates are $10 less than usual! If you live in the area (or heck, even if you don’t) I HIGHLY encourage becoming a member of WABA. Not only will you be supporting an organization that’s been doing great things for bicyclists, you’ll also (if you live in the area) get nice stuff like shop discounts. My local shop offers me a 10% discount on parts – and I think that’s almost paid for my membership in the last year!

So what are you waiting for? Go get (or renew) a membership already!

Commuter Profile: Bikecommuters.com’s newest member, Matt Dykstra

Please join us in welcoming Matt Dykstra to the Bikecommuters.com team! What better way to introduce Matt than to publish one of our long-running-series “commuter profiles”. Read on to learn a little more about Matt, and stay tuned for his unique perspective on commuting…he’ll be publishing articles shortly right here.

Name: Matt Dykstra

Matt_headshot

How long have you been a bike commuter?

I’ve been bike commuting at least part-time since 2007, and switched over to most-of-the-time in 2008 when my wife and I decided to become a one-car family. I’ve always biked when I could though – I biked to middle school and high school a lot, and didn’t own a car during college.

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

I started riding to work because I wasn’t getting any biking in at all. I felt like I needed more exercise and I thought I could do it. Also, I was embarrassed because two of my (much older) coworkers biked in all the time and I didn’t!

My first commute was 17 miles into Washington D.C. – I generally did a bike/metro combo on the way in and biked all the way home. My current commute is 6 miles, mostly on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. It’s a pretty pleasant commute most of the time.

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

I’m a manager for a government contracting company. I sit (either in front of a computer or in meetings) all day, which I don’t really enjoy – biking at least 3-4 days a week is essential for my health and sanity! I currently work in Sterling, VA – about 30 miles away from Washington, D.C.

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What kind(s) of bike do you have?

This is actually a tough question! I do a lot of bike building/repairing so my bike fleet changes pretty constantly (It’s at 8 bikes right now). My primary bikes are a 700c geared commuter and a 29er single speed mountain bike. I also have a 26er mtb single speed and a road single speed under construction, plus a few others I’m planning to fix up eventually. Yes, I’m into big wheels and one gear…

Redline_29er_SS

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

Last winter my area got 10 inches of snow in about 3 hours, starting around 3 or 4pm. When I compared notes with coworkers later, it turned out that my hour-long (normally 30 minute) ride home was by FAR the quickest commute anyone had that day – one of my coworkers who only lived a couple miles from me took 6 hours to get home in his truck, and a few had to stay in hotels overnight!

I’ve almost been hit by suicidal deer and squirrels several times, but so far have avoided hitting or killing anything mammalian.

Snowy Commute

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

1) Wow! I didn’t think you could ride here.
2) What do you do about showers?
3) You didn’t ride in TODAY, did you??!
4) Do you wear a helmet?

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

I’m a member of WABA, MORE, and my town’s Pedestrian and Bicyclist Advisory Committee (PBAC). Advocacy – especially at the local level – is really important to me, and I’m working on making my time and money back that statement up.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

I have my own blog that I try to write in fairly regularly – Daddy Rides Bikes. My wife Adrienne and I have two beautiful and energetic girls, J (3) and R (8 mos) – Adrienne is a stay-at-home mom and they keep her very busy! We also have a 7-year-old dog, Otis – who regularly gets abused by the human children, but adores them anyway. Adrienne and I both grew up in Massachusetts, so we’re legitimate Boston sports fans. We live in Herndon, VA and have a small house with a big yard and a big garage.

The Dykstra clan:
Fam at Christmas