Monday, April 14, 2008

Commuter Profile - Laurel Lee Welch

Our second profile is Laurel Lee, the much better looking half of a bike commuting couple. A native of Portland, OR. she is no novice to the cycling lifestyle. She commutes daily from her Springfield home between Douglas Anderson School of the Arts where she is currently teaching Economics. And her second job with Emergency Services & Homeless Coalition of Jacksonville, Inc. If that isn't enough, Laurel Lee also can be found playing her original music at local venues with her band Laurel Lee and the Escapees.

What do you use your bike for?

I bicycle for transportation and relaxation.

How often do you ride?

Five days a week

How long have you been commuting by bicycle?

Since I was a kid, but when I moved to Jacksonville I lapsed into car driving for a year, I’m glad to get back into a healthier habit.

What would you say to convince someone who is considering commuting by bicycle to go for it?

I tell them that it feels good. By the time I get to work I’m in a better mood (I’m not a morning person), and by the time I get home, I’ve shaken the frustrations of the day out of me.

What could the City do to make biking better?

It would be best if the lanes were marked. Car drivers are under the impression that bicycles are not vehicles when there are no marking for bikes.

What reaction do you get from co-workers?

They give me a wide-eyed look like I was a pioneer or something.

What’s the best thing about commuting by bicycle?

My body looks and feels awesome.

Can you give a brief description of your route?

I take the river walk to Riverside for one job, and I take the Main Street Bridge and Kings Street, even a few blocks of Philip’s Highway (on the sidewalk) for the other job.

Where are your favorite places to bike in Jacksonville?

I do love the river walk on the North bank.

Least favorite?

The Westside has fewer paths and less to look at.

What do you like about biking in Jacksonville?

Nary a hill to be found.

And dislike

Car drivers can be quite dangerous when they swerve and swear as they pass.

Have you ever combined transit and biking or used a bus bike rack?

I have the pass that is now not necessary, but I’m afraid I’m not strong enough to lift my bike fast enough for the rack. Luckily, right now I don’t need to go anywhere that the combination is necessary.

Do you commute in cycling or street clothing?

Mostly street clothing, then I changeclothes I bring with me at work. And if cycling clothing, how to handle the change to street? When I’m wearing bike clothing for the weather, I bring my day clothes in a plastic bag with me.

Any bike gadget/gear cyclists should not go out without?

HELMET, and night light that’s good and bright.

Are you a member of any cycling organizations/clubs? If so, which ones?

No, but I support BPAC.

Favorite bike stories?

I love the reflector pants I bought recently. There’s a new bike collective in Springfield I’m hopeful about. Our neighbor is going to try to ride to work soon.
Scary bike stories?

Yes, my stupid U-lock got stuck on my bike frame because I was so short-sighted to let it swing from my handle bars. I was crossing Blanding and couldn’t turn my handle bars and crashed pretty hard. Fortunately, it was ten at night and I was wearing a helmet, so even though I hit my head I was able to get up and get out of the road and ride the 45 minutes home.

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