BikeCommuters.com

Commuter Profiles

Commuter Profile – Ben August

Holla at your boy, Ben August – a.k.a. “Big Ben August” from the South Bay in California, our commuter star of the week!   Ben is an avid Bike Commuters reader, and we finally roped him into submitting his fun-fun commuter profile after much internet begging and pleading

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Ben August and his orange Motobecane... JK, that is a Donkey.

Name: Ben August

How long have you been a bike commuter?

Since 11 September 2000, the Monday after I bought my first bike.

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

One day, I realized that I was 23, 5’9”, weighed about 190lb, and not in the best of shape. I also had a beat-up 1989 Civic Hatchback with nearly 150,000 miles on it that I didn’t want to replace nor did I have the money to replace at the time. My friends were mountain bikers, so I went out and bought a Trek 4500. I was so excited to have it that I did a dry-run multi-modal commute to my office that night. Sure, it was only about 6 miles of riding and 10 miles on light rail total, but it was the start of a beautiful friendship. That was 12 years ago.

Over the years, the reasons have shifted from the above to “ I have this new truck, but I don’t want to pay for the gas” to “this is good for me” to “this is how I prefer to do it” to “my wife has the only car”… or some combination of all of them!

Currently, I ride almost 12 miles each way, and it is occasionally lengthened for errands. My time record is 40 minutes, but the average is closer to 50-55. This is only slightly slower than taking the shuttle bus-train-light rail or even driving over the same distance– I have some experimental data to prove it.

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12 Miles one way ain't Easy Street, Ben!

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

Economically, it is a no-brainer. Stanford (my employer) charges $300 a year for the cheap parking spaces and $600 for the expensive ones. Right out of your paycheck! They pay me (or anyone else who signs the form promising never to drive to work) $300 extra a year not to drive. So a year after I started here, I sold my truck. We just didn’t need it anymore.

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Ben and his two chicken nuggets.

The mental health dividends are priceless. I have two kids at home, and my daily quiet time is on the bike between work and home. Some of my best work ideas come to me on the bike, too. When I have a programming project, it’s better to save it for the end of the day so I can grind it out in my mind on the way home. I come home with a better understanding of an issue from work and all ready to help with dinner and putting the kids to bed.

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

I work in IT, as the server/infrastructure admin for one of the academic departments (http://ual.stanford.edu) at Stanford University. Between my house and the office, I cross at a minimum Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto, and sometimes I go through Los Altos and Cupertino also. It’s far more suburban than most of the contributors on this site, and it sure isn’t Hawaii (I wish!), but this is where we live. 🙂

Ben August and Spam MusubiSingle speed and musubi… is that a side of mac salad AND katsu!?

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

My stable has stabilized over the years. I’ve had mountain bikes, a touring bike (when I thought I’d actually go touring), a folding bike (it was a blue Xootr Swift), and even built up a wacky 26” MTB-with-drops from scratch. Never more than three at a time, though. At some point along the way, I became my own wrench and got married and had children, so all of my current bikes came from BikesDirect to save a buck and I’ve assembled and maintained them myself.

My three current rigs, in chronological order of procurement are:

  • 2009 Motobecane Fantom CX in gray, with a rack, fenders, bar-end shifters, and a few other things. This is the bike that I kept nice for a while to ride with my roadie friends and finally just gave up, kitted it out for commuting, and started riding it most of the time last fall. It still gets out for the occasional metric century or lunch group ride, though. It’s even fallen off of the back of a friend’s car at 85 mph.
  • 2010 Windsor Shetland mini-velo, with a rack and front mudguard. It was a prototype that came from BikesDirect at a discount and became my Christmas present. The frame is a little tweaked from crashing it once (wet railroad tracks, cheap frame, and narrow 451 slicks are a terrible combination), but it rides well. I save this bike for when I need to take the car somewhere and ride from there, or meet my wife somewhere without bothering with the hitch rack.
  • 2012 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno in ridiculous orange, also with a rack and fenders. This one is probably the closest to stock of all three. I asked my wife to get me this one for my 35th birthday, and it is SO MUCH FUN. Once I got the fit dialed in, I fell madly in love with this bike. 39×16 singlespeed is a great gear for bumping around town and the South Bay is flat enough for it.
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Ben, Motobecanes, and Mini-Velo! AND a Baby-cart!

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

Valentine’s Day 2011: I was going to surprise my wife by showing up at her office (her office was 16 miles the other direction from our house and she went to work later after taking our son to the sitter) and taking her to lunch. I hopped on the mini-velo at the usual time and went off toward her office instead of mine. I get to the seedy industrial neighborhood north of downtown San Jose and it starts raining. The mini slipped on some wet railroad tracks on 10th Street and I ate it right in front of a city truck. The crash opened my knee up a little, but I was okay… and still determined. I stopped in downtown for some flowers and had a bike messenger ask if I wanted to help him deliver flowers next year. I get to my wife’s office about an hour earlier than planned, soggy and still bleeding from the knee, but holding a dozen roses. Did I mention that my wife is a nurse in an office full of nurses? 🙂 She patched me up, I changed, her boss gave her the day off, and we had a great lunch together.

I also recently made a pannier out of a cat litter bucket to replace a badly damaged nylon-and-PVC pannier that I had unsuccessfully repaired. It was as simple as removing the mounting hardware from the pannier and putting it on the bucket. Since I got the bucket from a neighbor, it cost me absolutely nothing. It is absolutely hideous and I have made no efforts to hide its former purpose (other than a little Scotchlite). It doesn’t even have a lid, as my supplier didn’t keep them. I have taken SO much flak for doing this. From roadies who scoff at it to other commuters who think I need more “serious” gear. The moral of the story: If it works, do it and do it with conviction.

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

I park in the office, so I don’t usually have to tell them anything. 🙂 After 6.5 years in the same department and 12 years on the bike, one’s reputation gets around. But when one of the uninitiated catches me in the elevator with my bike, the questioning goes something like this:

  1. ​How far do you ride? (just about 12 miles)
  2. ​How often do you ride? (all the time)
  3. ​What do you do when it rains? (they make these things called “jackets”…)

Because of this, I have unwittingly served as inspiration for a few instructors and staffers over time and the cubicles and offices are pretty well-populated with bikes.

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The Ridiculous Orange Motobecane is an inspiration, when real panniers (not kitty litter buckets) make for a slick lookin' steed!

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

We have a great group in the area in the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (http://svbcbikes.org), but I am sadly not a member. I’d never be able to make the meetings. I am at the very least on their mailing list and I do attend their annual bike swap meet.

There is another non-profit group in San Jose called Good Karma Bikes (http://goodkarmabikes.org) that maintains and distributes bikes for the homeless and underprivileged people, and also teaches maintenance classes to anyone interested. I went by there with a box or three of parts to donate and got a tour of the place a few weeks ago. They are an awesome bunch and I’d love to volunteer for them when the kids are a little older.

Other than that, I have needled a couple of local cities into getting some things fixed (overgrown street trees and stoplight timings). Caltrans, please fix the light nearest my house, the timing is still too short. 🙂

Anything else that you want to share with us?
I am pretty sure that was plenty. I have no blog, but I am a regular on bikeforums.net.

Thanks for sharing, Ben!  I love getting to know our readers more through the Commuter Profile series!  We hope you enjoyed our show today, Cycle Ladies and Gents… If you, too, would like to show us your mug, send me an email at mir[at]bikecommuters[dot]com and we’ll hook you up with the profile questionnaire!

Commuter Profile: Sarah Eberhardt

Oooh Cycle Ladies and Gents – please give a round of applause for our latest Commuter Profile starlette – hot, strong, and ready to bike down the red carpet… SARAH EBERHARDT hailing from Los Angeles, California!

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Sarah Eberhardt commutes in downtown L.A.

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Sarah bikes to LIVE, here she is in San Diego, CA.

Name: Sarah Eberhardt

How long have you been a bike commuter?

Since 2005- the inception of my cycling life as we know it! 1/4 of my life I have been commuting via bike! Yeah! =)

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

Let’s rephrase the Q – I bike to live and know that 2 miles is my ideal commute. I drew a 2 miles radius around my workplace, and chose where to live that was precisely 2 miles away from work. Any more than that, I’d get lazy some days (come on – who doesn’t find an excuse to drive their car if they have one?); any less, it wouldn’t be enough cardio to jump start my day.

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Sarah with the baby blue Fuji Bordeaux, prior to thieving thievery... in Taos, NM.

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

How does bike commuting NOT help my lifestyle? I could go on for days, but bike commuting was the primary purpose of my move to Los Angeles – where all conditions align for the epitome of bike commuting environments – sunshine 364 days a year, no rain, no flash storms, acute temperature deviations from 70 degrees, mildly conscious drivers – all giving me a daily commute unlike the norm in Los Angeles.

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Definitely all smiles in Downtown LA, I love it!

I have a smile on my face every day I am going to work. My commute time is not based on traffic pattern surprises or sudden road closures – it is 12 minutes each way, plus or minus one minute for red lights. I save gas money. I save parking fees. I save parking hunt headache in downtown LA.

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Hmmm, this one doesn't look like commuting in Copenhagen... must be mountain biking the Rio Grande in Taos, NM!

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

Architect by degree and banquet server by recession, I bike commute daily within downtown Los Angeles. I have owned a bike and commuted while living months at a time in Cleveland, OH; Cincinnati, OH; Copenhagen, Denmark; Berkeley, CA; and Taos, NM.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I’m on my 3rd road bike since 2005 and her name is Igriega (because it sounds like “egret” and it is my favorite Spanish word – she makes me fly past the egrets that wade in the LA River along many of my weekend warrior rides). She is a solid carbon fiber Trek Madone and the bike of my dreams. She soars me through the heavy clouds (cough cough *smog*) of LA.

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Thugs for Life, Bikes for Life - laying down with her black Bianchi in Cincinnati, OH.

Prior to her, my virgin roadie was an aluminum baby blue Fuji Bordeaux- stolen on Berkeley’s campus (NEVER USE CABLE LOCKS!!). My interim roadie was a steel black and teal Bianchi Imola – the thug bike – I suspect it was a stolen bike (even though I checked it with stolenbicycleregistry.com) and again, was stolen off the trunk rack of my car in Koreatown LA. That bike had bad bike karma – it was destined to be passed from thief to rider to thief to rider.

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Using the Iron Horse MTB for a leisure MTB ride on Catalina Island off coast of Cali

I also own a less momentous Iron Horse mountain bike for non-road friendly treks.

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"What the hell?!" - Mir.I.Am's reaction.

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

While living in New Mexico, I once carried home a 3 foot diameter tumbleweed on my back that I found to use as décor. It is a lot harder to bike one-handed with a large prickly odd-shaped object strewn over your shoulder!

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Response from Sarah, "Tumbleweed in Taos, NM!" Obviously.

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

“Oh my, is that safe?” “Do you even bike at night?”

If you’re surrounded in steel, it’s not necessarily safer than riding on top of steel. So yes, it is as safe as driving in a car, and yes I use bike lights.

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

No.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

YES, I’m renowned for a series of jumping photos in epic places — some of these places I was lucky enough to have had my bike along for the journey.

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Jump photo time on the LA River trail.

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Coronado Island in San Diego, leisure ride with Sarah's man Valentin for weekend warrior adventures.

Sarah, thanks for sharing your fun-fun photogs and awesome sauce profile with us.  You’ve reaffirmed my personal belief that women on bikes are just plain hot!  Want to show us your ride and tell us all about it, lovely Bike Commuters?  Then send an email and we’ll hook you up with a Commuter Profile questionnaire!  Email mir[at]bikecommuters[dot]com for details.

Commuter Profile: Holland MacFallister

Here’s our latest profile, coming to you from the mean streets of Los Angeles, California. As always, if you’d like to be profiled on our site, please drop us a line at ghostrider[at]bikecommuters[dot]com or info[at]bikecommuters[dot]com.

Name: Holland MacFallister

How long have you been a bike commuter?

Well, I guess in my case that would be a scooter commuter. I got my first footbike about 4 ½ years ago and I’ve been rolling ever since.
Holland Macallister

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?
Up until recent budget cuts, I taught an adult ed evening class for our public school system here in Los Angeles and was a part time actor. Since the cuts, it’s acting all the way.
Holland Macallister

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?
My scooter is my exercise, my entertainment, and my car. It’s the only source of transportation I own and is almost always some part of my trip either alone or in consort with bus or subway – yes, L.A. does have a little subway system!
Holland Macallister
The last school I was teaching at was a hilly 3.5 miles away. I always rode to school, but if I was tired after a night of teaching, I would take it on the subway which left me with a relaxing downhill mile ride home from my subway stop.

My auditions are mostly in Hollywood, Santa Monica, or the San Fernando Valley. In Hollywood, footbike only; to Santa Monica, bus followed by footbike; to the Valley, scoot to the subway/ride the subway/scoot to final destination.

The last project I appeared in shot at three different locations in nearby Pasadena. The first day a friend drove me there in the morning, but it was a pain in the neck getting home. The next two days I took back my independence and did the scooter/train combo.


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

It’s been great for my health – the first time in my life I’ve found an exercise I don’t even think of as exercise and that has agreed with my body over a long period of time.

In terms of lifestyle, riding a scooter has given me freedom. I quit driving in ‘92 and I’m fond of saying the world is now a safer place for everyone. I spent most of the 90s in New York where driving is neither expected nor required, but when I returned to Los Angeles in 2001 I found myself at the mercy of public transportation. Long waits. Unreliable schedules. Lack of service at night. Sardine packed buses on Sundays. I enjoyed riding a bike for a while, but wasn’t confident on the streets, felt a little out of place on the sidewalks (although it is legal in most of Los Angeles city), and had recurring knee pain. When I read about scooters online, I was intrigued and decided to try one out for some short routes I traveled regularly. Before I knew it, it became my main source of transportation and the distances I was comfortable going continued to increase (and still does).
Holland Macfallister


What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I have three scooters. My current ride is a beautiful purple Footbike Track (front tire 700C/rear tire 18″). My previous scooter was a Kickbike Freeride (20″ front/12.5″ rear) and my first scooter was a Mibo folder (12.5″/12.5″). I’ve loved them all but seem to be a serial monogamist when it comes to scooters and these days am exclusively on The Purple Beast.
Holland Macfallister

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

Riding a scooter is like pushing a baby stroller or having a dog – strangers talk to you. Examples: “I love your…your…your…thing! I don’t know what to call it!” “Look, Mommy! A scooterbike!” “Do you change legs?” “Where did you get it?” “How much do they cost?” “Where’s the motor?” I AM the motor!

Spending so much time out and about not in a car really strengthens my connection to my community. I recently had a night that pretty much sums up all that I love about scooting around town. I rode a few miles to have dinner with a couple of friends. On my way home, a movie is getting out, so I’m walking the bike and a guy coming out of the theatre says, “That’s a new scooter, isn’t it? That’s not the one you were riding before.” He stops to admire the scooter, figuring out how he’d add a suspension fork to make it more like his mountain bike (it could be done), lifts it, and expresses surprise at how light it is (it’s aluminum). About a mile later I’m waiting at a light and a bicyclist comes up behind me and says, “You’re serious about that thing, aren’t you?” I have no idea what he’s talking about. He says he saw me ahead of him and thought, “Well, I’m going to pass this guy in a moment,” but he was behind me for a couple of blocks and didn’t catch up till the light. Maybe I’m faster than I think! We chat for a bit and continue up the block together and pass another guy on a bike who calls for me to stop. It turns out we were in the same episode of a show and he recognized me even though we didn’t have any scenes together and had never met. Now if we had both been in cars instead of on a bike and a scooter, we would never have made the connection.

My footbike has given me a chance to interact with so many great people. I get approached while riding, while waiting at stop lights, and even in grocery stores by folks who saw me on their way in. And, this is a first, tomorrow I’m going for a ride at the beach with out-of-towners I met – thanks to the Purple Beast – in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s! I don’t want to make it sound like something happens every time I leave the house. Most of the time, I just go to an audition or pick up some kale and a can of beans and come home and that’s that.

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

Well in Los Angeles people are just amazed that anyone gets around without a car period. People are particularly impressed when you ride when the temperature is above or below 72 degrees. I had a dentist appointment on a particularly hot day and he asked what I did about getting around in this brutal weather. I replied, “I get hot.”

Some are curious how I manage my grocery shopping. Well, I go to the store more frequently, I have a basket, and I bow before the man or woman who invented the bungee cord. With my basket piled high, I sometimes think I must look like a character straight out of Dr. Seuss!


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

Not currently, but hope to get back to it. I was a member of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition for a while and have ridden twice on their annual River Ride fund raiser – once on a bike and another year a shorter route on a scooter.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

People often ask why a scooter instead of a bike. First, let me state I love bicycles. I think they’re sleek, elegant, and extremely efficient and for going longer distances on human power, they can’t be beat. Actually, my enthusiasm for the footbike has fostered a deeper appreciation of all human powered modalities from bicycles to skateboards to rollerblades.

The appeal of a scooter for me is multi-faceted. It’s easier on my knees (when I have pain, recovery is pretty quick). As a full-body exercise, it’s helped my back a lot – every
time you kick, your body pushes forward and gives your lower back a nice little stretch. It’s the right speed for me. Slower than a bicycle, faster than walking. (I should mention there are competitive enthusiasts who kick these things at speeds for which I’d need bionic implants to achieve.) While more and more I ride on side streets and our increasing network of bike lines, I still do the majority of my riding on sidewalks and a scooter blends beautifully there. I can step on and off seamlessly to accommodate pedestrian traffic or just out of courtesy when I think I might make a frailer person uncomfortable. Alright, I have inadvertently surprised a few people on the sidewalk when I neglected to ring my bell or they didn’t hear it and I have had a couple of people who thought I didn’t belong there (I’m legal and by definition am considered “pedestrian”), but I do do my best to “share the walk.”
Holland Macfallister
I guess the bottom line for me with the footbike is the fun factor. It not only gets me where I need to go, it makes me happy. There’s something primitive and gleeful about lifting your leg high in the air and striking it down on the pavement. And gliding through space in an upright position is a bit heavenly – kind of like an angel in a low budget cartoon. Ultimately I think some people were born to pedal and some were born to kick and here’s to all of us!

Thanks, Holland, for sharing your story with us…inspiring words about building community, one scooter kick at a time!

Introducing Hermes P.

Please help us welcome the newest Associate Writer for BikeCommuters.com, Hermes Pagulayan. We first featured Hermes in a Commuter Profile about a year ago and he’s even contributed a guest article.
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As BikeCommuters.com continues to grow, we found the need for another staffer to help us with spreading the good news of bike commuting. I actually know Hermes through church and he’s is probably THE ONLY person I know who lives in Orange County, Ca. who doesn’t own a car. That’s a pretty big deal since SoCal is such a car-centric part of the country. When I learned that he used a bicycle to get to and from his clients, dates, and church, I was thoroughly impressed. We look forward to seeing what Hermes has to offer the BikeCommuters.com readership.

Bike Lust Eyecandy… yum!

Okay kiddies,

Since we’ve been BEGGING for your commuter profiles and only get a slim response back after you have been emailed the template of questions, all we really want to see is some pictures of HOT Commuter Bikes!  So, lacking an enormous response from our readers… maybe a little “You show me yours, then I’ll show you mine” is in order.  For the record, here are the commuter profiles of all of our Bike Commuters staff writers, and our very own Bike Lust Eyecandy to tide you over until the day comes for our next Commuter Profile from readers like YOU!  If you are interested in submitting and proclaiming ultimate love for your commuter city, your lovely two-wheeled steed, and your awesome bikey sauceness – please email mir{at}bikecommuters{dawt}com.  It’s so easy, even Danny can do it.  We send you the q’s, you send us the response and hi-res photos of your bike, custom add-ons and ghetto-hacks, your scenic/treacherous commute, and your beautiful face.  We edit, publish, and make you an internet icon!

Let’s see if you loyal readers can guess which bike belongs to which rider-writer! Elizabeth, Mir.I.Am, RL, Ghost Rider, or Matt?  Click the photos to find the answers.

Commuter A:

Redline MTB

Rugged Redline MTB - who rides this BEAST in the streets?!

Commuter B:

Eggplant and Bumblebee bikes

Which writer rides the Bumblebee (right) with their friend, Eggplant (left)?

Commuter C:

Toro and Po Campo

An all-season rider, this staff writer's commuter bike was recently stolen! sad face for Toro.

Commuter D:

Redline 925

No official profile on this Bike Commuters staff writer... maybe it's time to get into it!

Commuter E:

Fixed Gear Machine

Whose get'er done is this? - a fixed gear machine!

Bring on the Commuter Profiles!

So what do you say, velomonsters, can you tell a lot about a rider from their bike?

Commuter Profile: Matt C. from Bikehacks.com!!!

Here’s a special treat for you…a commuter profile of the mastermind behind the really cool website BikeHacks.com. Matt has been serving up funky, cheap and downright crazy DIY solutions for cyclists for several years, and BikeHacks is a longtime friend of ours. Let’s see what Matt can tell us about his commute…read on!

Name: Matt, only my Mom calls me Matthew.

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How long have you been a bike commuter?

I guess you could say I became a “hardcore” commuter in 2004 shortly after moving to New York City. I grew up on the west coast and did ride my bike to work occasionally when living in Oregon and California, but you could say I was a “fair weather” commuter. I used to participate in lots of recreational road rides in the spring and summer and to stay in shape I would commute to work occasionally in order to get in mileage.

How long is your commute?

My commute right now is about 5 miles one way. It’s a decent distance, enough to get a workout at 10 miles per day but not enough to really be considered an extreme workout. A friend of mine once lived 20 miles from work and would commute 2 or 3 days a week – I would call that extreme commuting, or something.

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

I travel a lot and really notice how much commuting by bike is part of my life when it is missing from my daily routine. Riding my bike helps me to relax and it is nice to have a workout built in to my day. Many people I work with schedule time in the day to go the gym and often don’t make it, but my gym is my bike and I don’t need to worry about scheduling a time to work out.

I also listen to podcasts in one ear while I ride (shout out to One Good Earbud – http://www.bikehacks.com/bikehacks/2011/11/one-good-earbud-post-2-magic-carpet-ride.html) and am able to stay up on news I like to follow. I am constantly amazed at the social aspect of commuting as well. For example, the other day I stopped to get a bagel and a guy saw me in my helmet/gear and started to talk to me. He said he used to commute by bike all the time but got a job that was too far away to allow him to ride. He said he really missed it.

A few days later a guy saw me parking my bike at night and I have tons of lights and he stopped and started to talk to me about how cool he thought the lights were. Random conversations associated with commuting are cool.

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

I just moved to Boston after living in New York City for 8 years. Moving to New York was liberating in many ways, one of which was being able to live comfortably without car ownership. I hope to be able to go without owning a car in Boston, but I did get a Zipcar membership recently which offers the benefit of being able to drive when necessary but not having to own.

As far as what I do, I am a lucky guy – I have basically never left school my whole life.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I currently have two bikes. I purchased a used Cannondale R900 road bike back in 1996 and I actually got a free bike from Specialized a few years ago. I run a blog, bikehacks.com (http://www.bikehacks.com/bikehacks/),and rather than running a bunch of ads promoting some new bikes, Specialized decided to give bikes to a bunch of bloggers and have them write about their experience for a few months.

I had an awesome time reviewing the bike. One main theme of bikehacks.com is to personalize your bike and a new bike was a blank canvas. I wrote close to 30 posts and documented the transformation. It was funny actually because many people said that I ruined the bike. You can judge for yourself from this recent photo.

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When I entered the contest to win the right to get the bike I said the first thing I would do was to give the bike a healthy scratch. Yes I want a bike that performs well, but I also don’t want to obsess over keeping a bike in pristine condition.

I kept my promise and used a key to put a healthy sized scratch on the seat post tube when I picked it up. The guy at the bike shop looked at me like I was crazy and I just smiled. Over time I did things like paint the fenders bright orange, cover the frame in stickers, and hang a discarded air freshener that I found on the street from my seat.

One bummer is that bikehacks.com got hacked and all of the posts documenting what I did to my bike are locked up in a WordPress archive file right now. Eventually I hope to post them all again but the transfer to Typepad did not go as smoothly as I had hoped.

Riding in New York City definitely changed my attitude toward the appearance of my bike. Part of the game in NYC is making your bike less appealing for people to steal. Thus much of the “hacking” was aesthetic (uglifying) but there are also lots of little security hacks I deployed as well. My Cannondale was “factory” when I moved to NYC, but now you can see the appearance is far from what it looked like when I got it. Once I started hacking I simply could not stop.

Cannondale

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

One funny thing happened a few years ago. I was riding on a bike path in NYC and came upon a pannier that someone had dropped. How it fell off without the rider knowing was a mystery to me but I picked it up and took it with me. When I got home I opened the bag and found a receipt with a guy’s full name on it – no email, phone, or physical address, but a full name. The pannier was filled with some pretty specialized tools and a bottle of top flight alcohol and I know that if I lost what was in the bag I would want it back.

Back then I had a personal blog so on a whim I posted an entry with the guy’s full name and noted that I found a pannier and thought that perhaps someone would stumble upon the post that knew the guy. Funny enough, about a month and a half later I open my email one morning and there is a message from the owner of the bag. He said his Mom had Googled his name and stumbled upon my post. As it turns out he lived in Connecticut but had been in the city riding. We ended up meeting for breakfast a few weeks later and I was able to return the bag, sans the bottle of alcohol that was in the bag – it was just too tempting to pass up and its consumption was the finder’s fee =)

Another thing I love about bike commuting is some of the cool stuff you run into and get to see. One example is the graffiti shot from earlier in the post (taken in Harlem). Riding on a bike gives you the opportunity to see things you might not see in a car, and if you did see it in a car, you might not be able to stop. For example, check this picture out –

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One morning while riding to work I saw something swoop out of the sky and land in a tree. I jammed on my brakes and looked up and got to see that Red Tailed Hawk consume a rat for breakfast. Who would have thought that a scene from Wild Kingdom would play out on a bike commute in New York City?

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

It’s safe to say that most people I work with in Boston and used to work with in New York City react to the fact that I commute year-round with bewilderment and incredulity. The first reason is pretty typical – most people can’t fathom riding in what they consider to be extreme weather conditions. The other reason is the simple danger of riding in an urban environment with so many vehicles to contend with.

I don’t mind riding in different weather conditions and although if I had a choice I would much rather not ride around motor vehicles, I have to be honest and say that I find it kind of exciting. I don’t skitch (http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Skitch-on-a-Bicycle-Grab-onto-a-moving-Car/) or anything crazy, but there is a certain adrenaline rush I get at times when riding with/in traffic.

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

When I first moved to New York City a friend invited me a Critical Mass ride. For a few months Critical Mass was a total blast. The cops were non-confrontational and even assisted with the rides. It was not that the cops planned to help or were connected to the rides, but once the rides got going it was not unusual for a few cops on scooters or in cars to spontaneously ride/drive along and help with traffic and just hang out as the ride went along. It was freaking awesome and very chill.

Then the proverbial crap hit the fan when the Republican National Convention came to town and just happened to coincide with the last Friday of the month – the day Critical Mass happens. As the mass went by Madison Square Garden all hell broke loose and the cops arrested people in mass and tossed them in a warehouse overnight. I was out of town the week it happened and missed it, but several friends got caught up in it. From that point forward the city declared war on Critical Mass and as many might know, there have been many court battles fought over whether cyclists can ride in mass in NYC.

For me Critical Mass was fun at first, but after the crack downs started I did notice that a lot of people I knew that did not ride began to associate me with the image in the media of an “outlaw” cyclist hell bent on disrupting traffic and causing the police grief. I was far from an outlaw; I just liked riding my bike to work and did not want to get into trouble for doing so.

I supported some friends that engaged in a legal battle with the city about their arrests and seizure of their bikes for riding in Critical Mass, but I was dissuaded from further participation because of all of the negative attention the rides were getting. You could say that I do not oppose Critical Mass, but I also think there are possibly better ways to draw attention to cycling as an alternative form of transportation.

For now, you could call running bikehacks.com my own little piece of the bicycle advocacy pie.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Part of the fun of running bikehacks.com is definitely the people I get to meet and interact with. For example, when I first started the site I contacted the Bicycle Tutor and asked him if he was interested in an interview. He agreed (http://www.bikehacks.com/bikehacks/2011/10/interview-the-bicycle-tutor.html) and sometime down the line business took me to Vancouver, B.C. where he lives and we got together and had a beer. It was a cool to get to know someone in that somewhat random way.

We get reader submissions from all over the world and if readers of this post are interested in submitting ideas for mass consumption on the site, our email box is always open (http://www.bikehacks.com/bikehacks/submit-your-hack.html). And if you don’t take yourself too seriously, you might enjoy our Dictionary of Bike Commuter Slang (http://www.bikehacks.com/bikehacks/2010/03/dictionary-of-bike-commuter-slang.html). I started it a few years ago as a lighthearted look at those on two wheels and most people that have run into it have enjoyed it and in many cases contributed to it. Others seem to be a bit to serious and call me/the site out for ridiculing others. I currently or previously fit many of the descriptions and am willing to laugh at myself – others not so much.

Other than that, ride safe and hack that whip!

We’d like to thank Matt for sharing his words and photos. For the rest of you, there’s still time to submit yourself to the glory of minor Internet stardom. Drop us a line at ghostrider[at]bikecommuters[dot]com and we’ll send you the details about sending in your own profile!

Commuter Profile: Jed Reynolds

This week’s commuter profile comes from Jed Reynolds, longtime reader of our humble site. Jed’s got lots of stuff to share, so let’s get started!

Name: Jed Reynolds

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How long have you been a bike commuter?

I took bicycling casually about 15 years ago while in college–I got around using a mountain bike and transit. I eventually took being a software contractor pretty seriously, bought a car, and lost the bike. Eight years ago, I moved to Bellingham, and I bought a bike to get to my first job here, but I still occasionally drove to work. In the last three years I have “figured it out”…my knees don’t bug me, and I thoroughly got bit by the cycling bug. I’ve been a full time bike commuter for approaching two years and I’m busy cycling through my second winter in the pacific northwest!

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

Not wanting to own a car was while I was in college was a start. Now it’s about getting exercise and avoiding buying gas are why I started biking to work. Once my office relocated closer to home to about six miles–that seemed much less daunting to me. My health has changed and getting regular exercise has become a necessity. I’ve gotten get used to biking about thirteen miles a day, or more if I have time to expand the route.

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How does bicycle commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?

I can’t claim to be the most frugal cyclist, but this year I did downgrade from two cars to one. If it weren’t so fun to upgrade my bikes, I’d actually save money. Using my cargo bike, I can go for about five weeks without touching the van. (My van is still very useful for family trips.) All my typical shopping I can fit in plastic storage boxes on my cargo bike. I also deliver my kids to school by bike, using a trailer or on the cargo bike. I haven’t calculated my savings, but the money wasn’t as important to me as the fun riding and the righteous feeling of minimizing my car use.

I’m feeling healthy and am now in better shape than when I was in high school! I realized recently that I really did need an hour or more of exercise a day. I didn’t lose 40lbs from just from cycling, however. The truth really is too serious: type II diabetes. I control my health with medication, diet and exercise. I have no excuse to live a sedate lifestyle now. Rather, I feel a responsibility to model an active lifestyle. (There are a million new cases of type II diabetes every year. Please take diet and exercise seriously. [Footnote: 1.6 million people in the United States aged 20 years or older are diagnosed with diabetes every year – http://www.dagc.org/diastatsus.asp ])

People from my past will find a new Jed. Previously I was a sloth-like asocial computer geek–never a fan of exercise and derisive of organized sports and loathed “jocks.” I’ve dropped all that attitude. Now I’m eager take my kids on bike tips in any weather, and I’m planning a summer of bike picnics and eventually bike camping.

I no longer talk only about computers–I can strike up a conversation about bicycling with almost anyone, and it actually feels much better. (Other people don’t like to talk about computers? Wow.). I’ve made friends in my neighborhood by offering bike tune ups. Just drawing a bicycle on my name tag at gathering invites conversations.

My inner childhood mechanic loves geeky DIY bike culture. I’ve been cutting up scraps of this and that to fashion light brackets and fender extensions. For my cargo bike I made a bright yellow rain tarp using reclaimed inner-tube as tie-downs. I’ve gone on my second tweed ride with my sons! (Tweed rides are almost as geeky as attending a Renassance Fair or being a larper [http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=LARP].)

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My family relationships have been enriched in other ways. I have a brother in law who’s a professional bike mechanic and my sister has a 26 mile daily bike commute…so we always have something to talk about. As you can tell…I’m still waiting for this bicyclist thing to improve my relationships.

What do you do for a living and where do you live?

I’ve been a web application programmer and Linux system administrator for over a decade. Occasionally I hear that computer programmers tend to like bicycles, but it still seems uncommon. Conversely, Bellingham is very bike friendly and there’s a local software company that not only has its own bike shop, it keeps winning a pile of the bike to work month challenges. [http://blog.logos.com/archives/2009/05/bike_to_work_day.html] Editor’s note: we featured Logos and their bike commuter incentives back in 2009. Take a look at our original article by clicking here.

Bellingham has been recognized as a bike friendly town [http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/communities/bfc_bellingham.php] [http://www.bicyclepaper.com/articles/2010/8/league_of_american_bicyclists_2010_state_and_community_rankings]

What kind(s) of bike(s) do you have?

I have three bikes that I love to ride: a Trek 7200 that I installed fenders and trekking bars on, and a 58cm Novara Expresso XC I turned turned Xtracycle. I’ve also started learning to ride a recumbent and now I have a Rans Tailwind. I also pull a Burley Bee trailer for shopping and lugging kids in…sometimes I tow it behind my Xtracycle.

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I recently sold a Trek 3900 that I hybridized–taped the fenders up with yellow tape, and extended the fenders with milk jug panels, added toe clips and a rack. Good bike. I also sold a Trek 820 that I also made a rain commuter with yellow fenders. Now I just have one more Trek 820 to outfit with some yellow fenders on and sell.

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Any funny/interesting commuting story you’d like to share?

My route takes me up Northwest Avenue and under Interstate 5. That area until just recently has been a snarl with bad left turn traffic and then construction to redevelop the intersection with a roundabout. Going home months ago on my mountain bike, I was passing through this underpass and a contractors pickup rumbles by and I hear the tinkle of nails in his truck. Suddenly I cannot pedal and I’m skidding right into the middle off the offramp merge lane! Luckily, I land on my feet and still full of adrenaline I don’t skip a beat to drag my bike to the shoulder. The bike will not coast. I drug it to the sidewalk, unhooked the panniers, dug out my toolkit, and what did I discover but a five inch nickel-plated nail slammed through both sidewalls of the tire! The nail was wedged against the rear brake pads which explains my sudden skid. I had just taken the read wheel off when I look up to see on of my neighbors parked right next to me with his trunk open! “Need a ride?” I love living in a small city.

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What do people say when you’re a bike commuter?

While its common in Bellingham to compare bike commutes, I’ve met a variety of reactions. Generally-impressed is almost as common a reaction as nodding-approval. People in line at the grocery often ask how far I ride, and then they seem quite reflective and wish that I stay safe on the road. I enjoyed talking to a grocery bagger who was astounded that anyone could bike from Bellingham to Ferndale.

I get impressed looks from people when I clarify that I’m looking forward to another winter on the bike. Snow? Yes: studded tires! Rain can’t stop me, its part of the adventure (like camping). But I admit it–wind will stop me. Sustained winds over 25mph are not safe or enjoyable, and gusts beyond 35mph have pushed me to a standstill and into traffic. On those days, I’m fortunate that I can work from home.

People are often left with the impression that I’ve been biking and athletic my whole life. That’s not the case at all–overweight nerd programmer hated exercise, never played a sport and resents sports on TV even more.

How about bicycling advocacy? Groups?

I’ve recently met many of the local biking and transit advocates in Bellingham: Mary and Linda and Karen from Whatcom SmartTrips [https://www.whatcomsmarttrips.org/] and EverybodyBIKE [http://www.everybodybike.com/]. I’ve won some transit prizes from our SmartTrips program. This summer I attended a recognition ceremony at the farmers market with my younger son. We met the mayor Dan Pike and congressman Rick Larsen. Mayor Pike does his best to ride to work…and so have a many previous Bellingham mayors.

But its not really up to my congressman to model the behavior I expect. Like Ghandi said: you must be the change you wish to see in the world. When I bike, I feel like that change. When I talk about bicycling, I also feel like that change. After bragging how much I save on gas, I often ask people if they ever considered biking to work. I invite people to tell me why their commute wouldn’t work by bicycle.
People’s comfort zone is pretty obvious, but some people have provided other instructive answers:
• people live dozens of miles away
• people work early shift and have to leave the house at 3AM to be in my 4:30AM
• people work late shift and I don’t want to bike in the dark
• people run, don’t have time to bike
• people live X miles up a 50mph windy highway lacking bike lanes or any shoulder
• afraid of traffic
• that huge hill
• “that wife” put the bike behind the couch again

Bicycling is just bicycling, of course, it’s not superior for all people. I believe that advocacy has got to be fun. Bike parades, themed rides, and multi-economic angles need to play together. I believe in keeping the conversation going around parents with kids. I think that getting groceries while taking the kids with you – on a bicycle – is how we need to break our addiction to cars.

In Bellingham, there is an inspiring project providing disadvantaged youths bicycles and group rides called The Bike Shop [http://www.thebikeshop1.org/]. Families wanting bike come in and can buy a really cheap beat up bike…but they cannot leave with it until they’ve learned to fix it up. This helps build independence and removes the concept that bikes are a disposable appliance.

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Thank you, Jed, for sharing your words and stories with us. For the rest of you who would like to be featured in a future “commuter profile“, drop us a line at ghostrider[at]bikecommuters[dot]com.

Guest Article: My evolution as a cyclist:Thoughts of a bike commuter By Hermes Pagulayan


Beach Cruiser to Hipster to Weekend Warrior

I have been riding seriously and commuting now for about two years but before I took it seriously I was given a 15 year old Huffy beach cruiser that a friend was no longer using. It had: a dark blue frame, a wide seat, white-walled fat tires, fenders, chain-guard, and a huge handlebar that reminded me of Harley Davidson motorcycles instead of my childhood BMX bike. This Huffy, with its faded paint and rusting body would soon change my life. At first, I only used it for very quick errands like going to the grocery store to get soda. But it broke down which made me want to replace it. A year after that, I started commuting using a bicycle which led to riding with friends as a hobby. Because of this Huffy, I was introduced to experiences that only a fellow cyclist or few would ever know about.


How I got the Huffy

In the last year of college, a friend had asked me if I would like to tutor someone who lived on my street. I accepted it considering that I was still looking for a job. The tutoring sessions were about three times a week and since it was only a couple of miles away, I thought that I would just use the Huffy. A few months had passed by and I no longer was tutoring that same child when a similar opportunity came up. It was similar in distance so I thought I would use the Huffy again to commute. But a couple of weeks into it, the aging tires on the Huffy had given way to a sidewall tear puncturing the inner tube. The cost to install and replace the tire and tube was around 40 dollars so I thought, “Why not just put that towards a new bike?”. I didn’t care for bikes at the time and so I thought, “I’ll just get another one that has wheels–it’s that simple.”

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My Wal Mart Experience

I went online and saw plenty in my price range–which was under a hundred. I know, I know…foolish of me to think that it was going to turn out okay but I was a “noob”, all right? I bought this cool shiny chrome mountain bike. It was 79.99 plus tax and it was the last one they had. I even called several Wal-Marts to see if they had it in stock. Lucky for me, there was one close by and even had them set it aside. But as soon as I took it home, I found the sprocket slipping! So I returned it. I thought spending more would get me a better purchase so I spent a little more and got a road bike, the GMC Denali for 169.99 plus tax. It had 21 speeds with Grip Shifters installed on the drop bar (not the prettiest thing to see). That one also had a problem but I liked having a road bike so I returned it for another. Unfortunately, this one also had a problem. Frustrated, I spoke to the Wal-Mart bike mechanics (Can you call them that since they just put bikes together?) and one recommended this mountain bike called the Genesis V-something if he were to get anything. Well I got it and within a week the front hub had loose bearings! I don’t even know how that happened since I rode it on the street. At this point, I had completely lost faith in department store bikes.

Craigslist

While doing some research for a bike, I had read that Craigslist is how someone should buy a bike if they’re on a tight budget. I found a Raleigh Grand Prix with a Reynolds frame, 7-Speed 105 groupset on some beat up wheels for $200 from a reseller. I miss that bike and I wish I still owned it. It was light, fast and quite a looker. I loved that bike and didn’t want to replace it but as I rode more and more, I realized that the bike was too big for me (It was a 57 cm; I should have gotten a 55 cm or less). A couple of bikes later, I decided to try a fixed gear bike. It was great but I soon had knee problems from skid stopping and a high gear ratio. I had bought a total seven bikes purchased from Craigslist. All of them I wanted to keep but all of them had problems that were too small, large, or hurt my knees.

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Riding with friends

Because of my new found interest in commuting, a few of my friends took interest in road cycling. Having owned a few bikes, I became the “expert” amongst my friends and a year later, we had a little group that rode on the weekends with a team name and everything. It first started out as something fun to do–nothing serious. Some of my friends borrowed bikes from others while some found bikes on Craigslist for $100. The rides were about once a month but slowly it became something more serious. People bought new road bikes and along with it cycling clothing–this was something even I wasn’t prepared for. The biking I was doing at the time was more in line of a hipster not a weekend road warrior. But a friend bought me a jersey, padded shorts, shoes and pedals for Christmas and as much as I felt weird wearing the clothes, I was soon a weekend warrior myself.

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A lot has happened since I decided to accept my friend’s bike as charity. This past weekend, our group, dubbed “The Cyclers” finished a self-promoted charity ride with funds going to churches in South America. What started out as a temporary solution became a lifestyle that I can’t see myself giving up. If you had asked me that a rusty, faded, beach cruiser would do all of this, I would have laughed at the impossibility.

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Commuter Profile: Dwight McKay

This week’s commuter profile comes from Dwight McKay — we’ve had his profile in the hopper for several months…it’s fair to say that I am a little behind in publishing some of these. In any case, check out his words and photos below!

Name: Dwight McKay

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How long have you been a bike commuter?

I started commuting shortly after college in 1984, but stopped after moving out of town in 1988. I started again in 1995 when we moved closer my work, and have been working towards a nearly car-free commute. Right now I am pretty much bike-only for the work commute except for days when I have a few time critical errands or need to haul my kids around to after-school activities.

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

Back in 1984, I commuted by bike because my wife and I had only one car. When we moved out of town, my wife and I rode for recreation and did a century together on a tandem. We moved back into town when my first daughter was born. The growing family responsibility ate into the time for long recreational rides, and the closeness of campus made switching back to bike commuting a natural choice.

My commute is about 4 miles one-way. The route has bike lanes the entire distance and a single moderately steep hill that’s up hill going home. It is a pleasant ride in a small college town. I grew up riding in a suburb of New York City, so this is a very easy environment to ride in.

When the weather is nice and I’m looking for more time on the bike, I make my homeward bound trip longer by heading out into the county and then looping back to the house. The beauty of a small town is that it is easy to escape onto less traveled roads. County roads here in Indiana are mostly in a north-south, east-west grid, so it’s easy to add distance in increments. My commute goes right past the Junior-Senior High School my kids go to, so I’ve been able to ride to school with them as part of my commute when they let me.

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Typical Indiana county road viewed from my Leitra.

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

Cycling is about mental, physical and spiritual health for me. Commuting embeds most of my exercise time in my commute time, so it is as if I get my exercise for “free”. I find that I’m physically more aware and awake after the ride to work and the ride home.
But I judge that the mental and spiritual side of cycling may be a greater, and more easily overlooked benefit of bike commuting. Being outside has always deeply moved me. Seeing the sunrise or sunset, seeing wild geese fly overhead, or smelling freshly mowed grass fills me with awe. I feel like I am part of something much bigger than myself when I look down a long road to a far horizon as I ride. The ride home provides the physical sensation of putting miles between myself and whatever went on at work. That creates the mental space to set that aside and be present to my family. I commute for my head and my heart.

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

I live in West Lafayette, Indiana. I am the Director of Research Systems in the IT Systems and Operations group at Purdue University (Go Boilers!). I manage a team that deploys and operates supercomputers and grid services for researchers at Purdue. It’s a terrific combination of smart, technically savvy colleagues and a relaxed college town atmosphere.

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I’ve been a recumbent rider for about 20 years now. I got hooked when my wife and I were living out in the county and I was looking for something more comfortable on long rides. I’ve owned a couple of different recumbents over the years and have two in my stable at the moment.

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The above is my Rans V-Rex. It’s my fair weather ride. The short wheel base makes it maneuverable and easy to park in bike racks on campus. I started off using cheap panniers off the rear rack, but got fed up with the lack of rain protection they offered and the need to take them off the bike when I parked at work. I found a black storage box at Wal-Mart that is just about the same width as the seat back. Putting a few bolts through the bottom box into the rack converted the box into a weatherproof truck.

I typically carry a change of clothes for work and my laptop in the box. I leave a pair of shoes and pair of pants at work and trade those out every so often when I have an errand to run and am driving the car to work.

You can’t be shy and ride a recumbent in a small town. I get lots of questions, most often about how much the bike costs and how tough it is to balance. Recumbents are expensive due to their custom builds and limited production runs. My short answer is that they cost as much as a custom bike frame, which seems to satisfy most folks. Balancing on a recumbent is something an experienced cyclist can “get” with a few minutes of practice. Several of my riding buddies have ridden the V-Rex with just a few minutes of practice in a parking lot.

But if you really want to get noticed, you should try riding a velomobile to work! This is my Leitra, built by Carl Rassmussen in Denmark. It is a tadpole style, recumbent tricycle with an aerodynamic fairing. I imported it three years ago to see if I could replace my car during the winter months. You can read more about them at http://www.leitra.dk/.

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The Leitra has a large cargo bin behind the seat with plenty of room for my daily haul to work. It has turn signals and windshield wiper on the front windshield. The wiper is driven by hand with a small lever inside. A triangular scoop on the nose of the fairing feeds vents that help to keep the inside of the windshield clear.

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The Leitra doesn’t fit into older bike racks. You need to find a spot on the end or between two of the bike loop style racks. On the side of the fairing, ahead of the Leitra logo you can see the adjustable side vents. These can be opened and closed while you ride to control how much air blows into the cockpit.

The nose fairing tilts forward to allow the rider to sit down. The nose fairing has a quick release that makes it easy to remove. Here’s what it looks like with the nose fairing off. The carbon fiber seat is more comfortable than it looks. I use a small inflatable pad on the bottom. Steering is via the two side sticks on either side of the seat. There’s also a small amount of interior storage below and to either side of the seat. That’s a great place to put a hat or heavy gloves when you get hot and need to pull them off.

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The Leitra has succeeded in freeing me from my car in the winter, but not without some problems. The fancy wheel covers you see in one of the pictures turned out to be impractical in the snow and had to be replaced with simpler fenders. Even though the Leitra design includes a ducted vent from the nose to blow air over the wind shield, fogging and icing of the wind shield can still occur. And while the fairing gives you a lot of control over airflow and a good deal of warmth, it’s still a challenge to keep my hands and feet warm when the temperature gets down to 0F and below.

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

I am a believer in riding “like a car”, so I take the lane when I need to for turns or when the bike lane is blocked. One morning, I was riding the V-Rex into work and moved over to take the lane due some debris in the bike lane, getting in front of some traffic. A county sheriff car passing by in the other direction flipped on his lights briefly right after he passed me and turned around to come up behind me. I thought to myself, “I wonder if I’m going to get an ear full about taking the lane.”

But when he rolled up along side me and rolled down his window, he greeted me by saying he rode a recumbent also! We had a brief chat about who made my bike and wished each other a good day.


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

This time of year (winter), most folks are amazed I’m riding at all! “Are you crazy?”, they ask. People are concerned about the weather. How do I ride in this heat / cold / rain / dark / sun? Folks want to know about how I deal with clothing changes. They are concerned about my safety in traffic. My staff, who have seen me ride year-round for several years now (and are sure I’m crazy!), are generally more encouraging.

Most folks wonder if I do this for the cost savings, which really isn’t the motivator for me. I’m often amazed that folks have a hard time seeing the emotional and spiritual benefits as sufficient reason to ride. If you could do something that adds a little adventure, a little spark to your day, wouldn’t you do it?

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

While I appreciate the work of bike advocates, I am not involved in those efforts.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

I write a blog about my rides and other random things called “Up Hill Both Ways”. You can find it at http://www.net-kitchen.com/blog/

The local magazine did a brief article on my Leitra. It might appear on their website at some point, but at the moment it’s only available in print. The site is http://www.lafmag.com/

We’d like to thank Dwight for sharing his pictures and thoughts with us. It’s refreshing to hear a fellow commuter expound on the “spiritual benefits” of using a bike as transportation — something I’ve long thought about but wasn’t able to put into eloquent words like Dwight does. For the rest of you, if you’d like your fifteen minutes of Internet stardom, we are ALWAYS on the lookout for profilees. Drop a note to ghostrider[over there at]bikecommuters[dot]com and we’ll hook you up with our questionnaire and simple instructions. Don’t be shy — share your commute with the rest of the world!